A fierce competitor.
Great team mate.
Quiet, but funny.
I asked a few of Nick Vargas’ teammates and coaches about him and those were the responses. He is a really great kid. He is an all-American type of guy. A fierce competitor. He is a great team mate, and he is quiet, but funny. I have known Nick for two years and these answers describe him well, and it is not a surprise to hear Nick described this way, considering his family background.
Nick’s dad is Chris Vargas, starting quarterback for the University of Nevada, 1991-1993, and played for the Wolf Pack in the 1990 NCAA Division I-AA Championship game. Chris Vargas authored one of the biggest come-from-behind wins in the history of the University of Nevada Wolf Pack football program. In 1991, the Division I-AA top-ranked Wolf Pack came from behind to defeat Weber State, 55-49, after trailing by 35 points in the second half. To some, Nick’s dad Chris, is still “the Comeback Kid”. But Nick’s athletic prowess isn’t only from his dad, his mom, Katie, played volleyball for the University of Nevada Wolf Pack and Nick’s younger brother, Drew, is one of Nick’s teammates. It is a very athletic family, and just for fun, I asked Nick to rank the family in terms of athleticism, here is what he said:
“I would have to give the top spot to my mom. She’s a harder worker and doesn’t let anything stop her. Next would be my dad, he played for Nevada and was a great quarterback; I hope I can live up to that. Third would be myself and lastly would be my brother. He is a great athlete and has all the skills to become better than I am, one day!”
Nick and the Mustangs are preparing to face the Spanish Springs Cougars, Saturday, for the Northern Title. I asked Nick about preparing for Tristan Szabo, one of the top quarterbacks in Northern Nevada. “Tristan is a great quarterback and we’ve faced him for multiple years now. We need to go into this game not overthinking anything, trusting everyone in our secondary to make plays on their receivers,” said Nick. Watching Szabo’s film might remind Damonte of someone, perhaps their own quarterback, Ethan Kulpin. Kulpin and Szabo are both dual threat guys, comfortable looking downfield for receivers but willing to tuck the ball and look for yards on the ground as well. Szabo has 206 yards rushing this year, part of a balanced Cougars rushing attack featuring three players, each with over 200 yards rushing. Szabo’s favorite target is Lucas Christie, senior wideout with 35 receptions and three touchdowns. But Szabo will need to be aware of where Nick is on the field, Nick has four interceptions on the season including three in the pivotal matchup with the Bishop Manogue Miners.
Like many of his DRFP teammates, Nick plays both ways. On offense he is a dangerous wideout, and on defense he plays cornerback. On playing both positions, Nick said,“I prefer playing receiver. I feel like I can go out, against anyone in this league, and beat them. I love the feeling, the satisfaction, of the footwork and catching [the ball] that goes into the position. It fits how I am as a player.” But no one should overlook Nick’s contributions on defense, “Cornerback is one of the hardest positions on the field,” Nick said, “The receiver knows where they are going while you don’t. You have to stay patient and have great technique to be able to play at a high level.”
Nick and his teammates are playing at a high level and excited for the opportunity to win the program’s first Northern Title since 2016. When asked about that, Nick said, “A win on Saturday would be the best feeling I’ve ever had, especially after losing my sophomore year and junior year. All of the seniors have been focusing on getting back here and not letting anything get in our way. I’ve been thinking about one thing my coach told me, after the game last year, he said that I need to work the hardest I can to become the best I can be. I’ve kept that mindset and with a win this Saturday, I don’t think anything will beat that feeling.”
After graduation, Nick plans on continuing to pursue his gridiron dreams and academic pursuits, business, at Sierra College. Nick will play wide receiver for the Wolverines, and he will have some familiar faces with him: Ethan Kulpin and Justin Harley, “Together we will be able to push each other and move forward to a four-year university,” Nick said.
Damonte Ranch (home) vs the Spanish Springs Cougars (away)
Saturday, April 10th, noon
Bishop Manogue High School
Catch the game on channel 21, tickets have been limited and will be handled by the teams