Check out the top five Franklin-Fulton matchups for the week of Sept. 12-17. Video by Lindsey Smith
Trying to replace the reigning Public Opinion Player of the Year is no easy trick. Especially when that player of the year was Jake Boehme.
But the McConnellsburg boys soccer team is in good hands with Nic Culler at the helm.
Early in the season, Culler has made his value known on the field both offensively and defensively. He's the team's top defender, helping the Spartans to two double-overtime victories already this season, and also leads the team in scoring. He has three goals on the season, including a pair of tallies against Southern Fulton in a Fulton County rivalry game last week.
He is the P.O. Male Athlete of the Week.
"He's pretty much the backbone of our team this year," McConnellsburg coach Cory Houck said. "The great thing about Nic is we can play him anywhere. For the last two years I think he's been the best defender in District 5, and he's so skilled with his feet, we can position him on corner kicks any chance we get."
"I watch the main threats and step up and take shots and be a leader when I can," Culler said. "(Without Boehme) it's a really big shoe to fill, but I just try to play like him and encourage our midfielders to step up."
Culler organized summer practices and continues to put together weekend workouts for the team with help from fellow captains Hunter Souders, Ethan Barclay and Cody Parson.
"I expect to win every game we play no matter what," Culler said. "I expect to control the defense and have the midfield play smart and consistent. I'm proud of all the boys and the hard work we've put in."
Culler, who stands at 5-foot-7, doesn't let his size keep him from being a competitive defender. Houck said he's hardly ever beaten when going up to head a ball.
"It's funny because he's half the size of the guys he goes up against," Houck said. "He's always been one of the top five most skilled guys, and it's so great to have someone who can play anywhere on the field."
Nic Culler, McConnellsburg
Sport: Boys soccer
Parents: Brian and Tracy Culler
Other interest: Culler plays basketball for McConnellsburg and is a member of the Golf Club.
Athlete most admired: Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Favorite sports team: Real Madrid
Interesting fact: His middle name is Storme.
Statistics: Culler scored a pair of goals in the Spartans' 2-0 shutout over Southern Fulton, and scored the opening goal against Chestnut Ridge ... He leads the team in scoring with 3 goals.