Sports

10 Years ago - QB Nate Lundberg endures tough preseason setback

In a devastating twist of fate, promising M-P quarterback Nate Lundberg snapped his ACL in a scrimmage game just before 1997s season opener. The injury sidelined him for another year and while he went on to excel in collegiate soccer at Skagit Valley College and later in Missouri, he never played football again. His replacement, seen here, was Jeff Hirata. -
In a devastating twist of fate, promising M-P quarterback Nate Lundberg snapped his ACL in a scrimmage game just before 1997s season opener. The injury sidelined him for another year and while he went on to excel in collegiate soccer at Skagit Valley College and later in Missouri, he never played football again. His replacement, seen here, was Jeff Hirata.
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QB Nate Lundberg endures tough
preseason setback
Ten years ago Nate Lundberg had all the hope in the world. The starting quarterback and linebacker for the Marysville-Pilchuck High School Tomahawks varsity football team had just started his senior year and the school was ready for another strong Tomahawk season.
There were scholarship opportunities on the horizon, too.
Then during the home jamboree preseason game the opposing quarterback tossed up a bomb into the corner of the end zone. Lundberg locked onto it and when he was close he jumped up to pick it off. He bobbled the ball but was able to tip it back to himself in midair. But he wasnt ready to hit the ground yet. When he hit the ground, his knee bent the wrong way, his meniscus tore and his anterior cruciate ligament or ACL, snapped.
That was a moment of agony for sure, Lundberg recalled from his home in Everett.
Doctors later were able to reconstruct his knee, grafting a piece of his hamstring to repair the ACL. His meniscus was pinned down as a way to stimulate growth and holes were drilled in his femur. It was a long year of rehabilitation and he did get the use of his knee back. But it wasnt the same and the football scholarships had evaporated. It was a tough time for him physically and mentally.
Football and sports at that time were everything to me. I was going to the University of Idaho on a football scholarship. At the time I was in love with football and the possibility to go on.
Lundbergs parents were at the game, as was his brother, Ryan, then a cadet at West Point in New York.
It was terrible, his mother, Debra Lundberg, said. He struggled pretty badly. And the M-P head coach at the time, Scott Stokes said, He would have been the finest quarterback we had ever had and we didnt get to find out. He was a great player as a junior and so his senior year we were excited. He might have been the toughest kid I ever coached.
They crossed paths when Lundberg was a sophomore. Stokes had built a demanding pre-season fitness program designed to strengthen the team and reveal player character. The program was reserved for juniors and seniors. It included 400 meters, resting five minutes, running 800 meters, then benchpressing your body weight nine times. Lundberg was the only sophomore who endured the test.
I know I only had one sophomore and that was Nate, Stokes remembered. That was always one of my great regrets, to see how he could have been.
So three years later, with a reconstructed knee and football hopes hung up, Lundberg, ever the competitor, simply focused all his attention on soccer. Hed always played soccer, but now he would play it at a new level.
He played at Skagit Valley Community College and in his first year there helped the team win the state championship. From there he transferred to Avila University in Kansas City, Mo. Where he continued to play soccer.
Now, 10 years later, he is back home and is on board to be a manufacturing technician for the Boeing Co. to build 787s. While that day 10 years ago took a toll and really changed the trajectory of his career path, Lundberg is still very much upbeat, will still kick a soccer ball now and again, and continues to look to the future.
You roll with what youve got, he said, and make the best with it.

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