Nate Warren is accustomed to fast starts.
He’s the reigning Class C state champion in the 100-meter dash, winning the event last spring in 11.29 seconds. He also helped Bucksport win the state 400-meter relay in 45.56.
And when he made his varsity football debut three years ago in the final game of the 2005 regular season, he was named LTC player of the week after rushing for 189 yards in a victory over Rockland that earned the Golden Bucks a Class C playoff berth.
Now a senior, Warren is quick out of the starting gate again after a season-opening 322-yard, three-touchdown blitz in Bucksport’s 40-39 overtime win over John Bapst of Bangor.
And that doesn’t count his 89-yard TD run late in the game that was called back due to penalties behind the play.
“He was unbelievable,” said John Bapst coach Dan O’Connell. “He runs well, he’s physical, relentless, and a really unassuming kid. He never gets frustrated. When he gets stuffed at the line of scrimmage he hands the ball to the ref and does it again. He has a relentless motor, I’m sure he’s a joy to coach.”
At 5-10, 170 pounds, Warren isn’t the most physically imposing presence on the football field — until he gets the ball.
He rarely goes down at first contact, and if he doesn’t go down by second contact his sprinter’s speed takes over and he’s long gone.
Both power and speed were in evidence against John Bapst, as he had a 71-yard TD run in the first quarter and lost yard-age on just one of his 38 carries.
“I don’t think people realize how strong he is,” said Buck-sport coach Joel Sankey. “The kid squats over 400 pounds, and he’s a state champion 100-meter runner. He’s a heck of a running back. He’s really balanced. You can hit the kid high, hit him low and he just bounces off people. He just doesn’t go down.”
There’s also a free-spirited quality within Warren that perhaps is best reflected in the ponytail that sticks out from beneath his helmet, but is also apparent in how he explains his ability to keep running when fatigue might require others to seek a brief rest.
Like right after his negated 89-yard run with 2:31 left in the fourth quarter last weekend — he returned to the huddle, then proceeded to run the ball on four of the next five plays.
“I just have an emotional backup drive that keeps me going,” said Warren, who gained 1,502 yards for the Golden Bucks as a junior. “If I think I’m getting tired, there it is right there and I can keep going for a while longer.”
Comparisons are being made between Warren and Buck-sport’s last great running back, Nick Tymoczko, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards as a sen-ior while winning the Fitz-patrick Trophy and leading the Golden Bucks to an undefeated season and the Class C state championship.
Like Warren, Tymoczko combined football with track to forge stellar careers in both sports through their combina-tion of strength and speed.
But the ultimate comparison, if truly necessary, won’t come until Warren and his team-mates stand the endurance test that is the quest for a champi-onship.
One thing is certain. He’s off to a fast start.
“Nate’s definitely the best thing to come around since Nick Tymoczko,” said Robbie Winters, a two-way lineman for the Golden Bucks. “We’re look-ing forward to great things, and hopefully we can win it all this year.”