The first thing you notice about Chelsea’s senior middle linebacker Owen Nikischer is how much he bulked up over the summer from last season. It is very apparent that he takes his role as a defensive leader very seriously and puts in a lot of hard work as he added much muscle to his already solid 6-foot 2-inch frame.
“I worked out a lot by myself over the summer,” Owen stated. “Sometimes I work out alone, sometimes I bring others along, but I like to always improve myself and help others improve themselves if I can.”
Owen or the “Big O” as many call him has one of the most important defensive jobs on his side of the ball in football. He has to back up the linemen and also use quick judgment on every snap to determine his role on that play. The middle linebacker is usually called the “quarterback of the defense” because they shout plays into other players and has much responsibility as a defensive “jack of all trades”. And they have to be a leader and be vocal. And that’s Owen to a tee.
“I’ve been playing tackle football since the 3rd grade,” Owen explains. “And I’ve been at middle linebacker since 5th grade. I feel like I am mentally there more than anything else and I need to know all the plays and everyone’s responsibilities. I love playing my position and I love football so much!”
His passion for football shows as it seems he is in on almost every play. He’s very vocal and quick to help another player and when mistakes are made he’s there to help correct his teammate in a very positive way.
“I honestly love being the leader of the defense,” Owen said. “It’s a good feeling helping other players and knowing they look up to you.”
Owen, who earned starting time as a Junior last season, is coming off perhaps his most memorable game ever as he was able to read the quarterbacks eyes and defenses against Tecumseh last Friday and had 3 interceptions in the game along with several tackles.
“That was amazing for me,” Owen proudly stated. “It was something the defense has struggled with, getting turnovers this season. But what matters most is that we were able to come back after a tough loss (to Lincoln) and get the win and the defense shut them (Tecumseh) down.”
Owen, one of the Bulldogs top leaders in tackles, will be playing basketball this year also. In the fall he works at the Dexter Cider Mill. He plans to go to college after he graduates whether it’s to play football or not. His passion is sports but he knows a higher education is good for him. And although his senior football season is 4 games in he knows there is a lot of football left to play and that’s where his focus is right now.
“We are a good team, “Owen stated. “I feel really good about this team and think we have a great shot at going far.”
Owen is the son of Craig and Sue Nikisher and has two brothers, Ryan and Zach.