By Grant Traylor
HUNTINGTON — Spring Valley offensive lineman Doug Nester is not a guy who is big on words.
However, Nester’s actions in 2018 were every bit as big as his 6-foot-7, 315-pound frame.
On both sides of the football, Nester was the sizable force in the trenches that helped propel the Timberwolves to the Class AAA championship game for the third-consecutive year.
As an offensive lineman, Nester dominated the opposition and provided Spring Valley’s offense with a consistent blocking presence to run behind. Defensively, Nester fought off double-teams and lived in the opposition’s backfield.
Most importantly, according to Spring Valley coach Brad Dingess, Nester elevated his game to a different level in the postseason, playing his best games against top competition to certify himself as the state’s elite in the trenches.
Nester’s late postseason push and consistency throughout the season landed him the Stydahar Award, given to the state’s top interior lineman.
“He really took pride in his craft,” Dingess said. “Being good and being an all-state player and getting scholarships has never been satisfying to him. Every day, he came to work to get better. That’s what made him stand apart from the other ones. He was such a great practice player.
It’s hard to get him to talk, but he’s a great leader, and he brought that every single day.”
Nester wrapped up his Spring Valley career having never missed a game due to injury. He finished his time with the Timberwolves with 53 career starts while leading the Timberwolves to the final game in the Class AAA season in his final three seasons.
While he was a key part in each season, Nester felt that his 2018 season was different because he grew more comfortable in a leadership role while playing for offensive line coach Brent Terry.
“It was a really big improvement from last year to this year,” Nester said. “Last year, I was one of the most experienced guys on the O-line, but not being the senior, it was hard to step into that role. Being a senior this year, everyone really listened and honed in. Coach Terry is a really good coach, but at some points this year, me and Zach (Williamson) took over the O-line. If they messed something up that we saw, we would help and try to make it better.”
According to Dingess, Nester graded out to a 96 percent as an offensive lineman this season, playing 647 plays without giving up a sack while registering 89 knockdowns and having just three penalties called on him. He led an offense that accounted for 6,674 yards and 78 touchdowns, which included 4,192 yards and 53 touchdowns on the ground.
The career numbers are just as staggering as he took part in 2,496 plays with only five sacks allowed and 10 penalties in four years.
“We’ve had some great, great offensive linemen over the years, but he took our program to another level,” Dingess said. “At some places, kids don’t want to play O-line because it’s a downgrade. At Spring Valley, you come in and want to play O-line. It’s a pride thing. They expect to be great and Doug has done a great job of carrying a lot of that weight on his back and leading those guys.”
Currently, Nester is an Ohio State commit, but after the exit of head coach Urban Meyer and the affirmation of successor Ryan Day, Nester has backed off of signing on Wednesday when the early signing period starts and enrolling early with the Buckeyes.
Nester, who will play in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 5, is scheduling visits with several schools and headed to Penn State for an unofficial visit this week.
Nester is one of two All-Americans to headline the voting for the Stydahar Award this year. Nester finished ahead of Huntington High’s Darnell Wright — an Under-Armour All-American — in voting for the award. Fairmont Senior junior Zach Frazier was third and Capital senior Kalai Clark finished fourth.