Triad running back Trevor Nott was just the third option as a junior last season when the Knights finished 7-4 and reached the second round of the 5A playoffs.
Sharing a backfield with Tom Kraudel and Tommy Bauer, who each gained more than 1,000 yards and combined for 30 touchdowns, Nott quietly rumbled for 740 yards and two scores of his own.
The 5-foot-8, 181-pound Nott put in the extra time in the weight room anticipating his role as the featured back his senior season. But after averaging more than 100 yards through the Knights’ first three games, Nott was taken down by a Civic Memorial defender and suffered a dislocated left elbow.
“It was a running play, and I was going to my right. I got dragged down by a defender, and when I landed, it felt kind of weird,” Nott recalled Tuesday. “There really wasn’t any pain right away. It wasn’t until I realized that I was injured that the pain started to kick in.”
Nott missed the next four games, returning to action this past Friday in Triad’s regular season finale against Mount Zion. He averaged more than 11 yards per carry and finished with 141 yards in Triad’s 21-7 win.
“It was tough not being able to play. Being a senior and knowing this is your last season of playing high school football, you want to make it a great one,” Nott said. “Plus, these (seniors) are all friends that I’ve known my whole life. I’ve been playing football with them from the time I started playing when I was five.
“It was great being back on Friday. I was a little nervous, but once the game started and I was able to play, I was fine. I was a little surprised after the game when I found out that I had rushed for 141 yards. I guess I wasn’t that rusty after all.”
Nott’s return to form couldn’t have come at a better time. Triad (8-1) will play host to two-time state champion Peoria Richwoods in a first-round playoff game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Last season, Triad defeated Geneseo, which was state runner-up twice in the past eight years, before losing to Morris in the second round.
With Nott back in the lineup, Triad coach Paul Bassler is hoping the Knights’ matchup with Richwoods will be the first of many postseason battles in the next few weeks for Triad.
Nott has been nearly unstoppable in his limited playing time during the regular season. He has rushed for 451 yards and eight touchdowns on just 34 carries, an average of 13.3 yards per carry.
“Trevor was a big part of our offense last year, and he started out great for us this season. To see him go down with the injury, especially being a senior, that was rough,” Bassler said. “To see him be able to back and have the kind of game he did last week was great. He looked very sharp.
“Trevor’s a kid who when he came in as a freshman looked good, but he lacked that great burst of speed you need. I remember telling him that we might have to move him to fullback. But he has a tremendous work ethic, and he worked very hard in the weight room to improve his strength and speed. He’s made himself into a very good running back.”
Nott said he hopes to play college football and would like to stay close to home. He mentioned maybe considering McKendree University or Lindenwood University-Belleville.
As for now, Nott is focused on making up for lost time and leading the Knights on a long postseason run.
“It’s great to be back and contributing again. I really missed not being able to be on the field and doing my part to help this football team,” Nott said, “I think we have the ability to make a long playoff run. But right now we’re focused on playing Richwoods.
“Watching them on film, they have some speed, and they have good size. But it’s nothing we haven’t seen before.”