Nave closes stellar Cyclone career


Derek Nave



  In 1980, music fans were treated to a song from Pat Benatar that told one to hit me with your best shot. For the past three seasons, Cyclone linebacker Derek Nave has done that and then some.
  A real tough cookie with a long history, Nave stamped his mark on Elizabethton football as being one of the top linebackers to ever grace the playing surface at Rider Field.
  "I never knew how special Cyclone football was until I played my first football game inside of Brown-Childress Stadium on a Friday night," stated Nave. "I had the opportunity to play with some of the greatest guys and coaches you could ever be around."
  One coach that left an impact on Nave was Cyclone head coach Eddie Pless.
  "I've known Coach Pless since the sixth grade, so I knew he would be someone special to play for," he said. "Several people were second guessing our coaches early in the season, but I think we might have put that on hold for a while. My coaches taught me the right way to play football and good sportsmanship. We learned never give up in any situation."
  The 6-3, 225-pound senior linebacker hopes that the football offers will roll in now that his Cyclone football career has ended.
  "I want to play at the next level somewhere," Nave said. "I've spoken to Vanderbilt and Mississippi State and some NAIA schools, including Union College. I hope someone gives me the opportunity to play college football. I want to use football to help me earn my degree."
  Nave stated that his two biggest wins as a Cyclone was the 14-13 win over Tennessee High last year at the Stone Castle, and the 2004 win over Greeneville.
  "Beating them at the Stone Castle was extra special," he said. "And the goal-line stand at Greeneville with the game on the line was awesome."
  Nave added the seniors were bound and determined to make this football season special.
  "We hadn't had many good years in the past, even at T.A. Dugger," he said. "But we wanted to show our fans that we had improved and that we could be a good football team."
  Nave spoke of his grandfather, Sandy Greenwell, as being his role model.
  "He also gave credit to his mom and dad, Sharon and Gary Nave, for their added support throughout his career.
  "He is definitely someone I look up to," Nave said of Greenwell. "Mom and dad were there for me in football and always made sure I did well in school."
  Nave had this to say for younger kids who are looking to continue their careers at Elizabethton High School: "If players will work hard, and set their goals high and not too low, you can become a good football player."
  Nave amassed a total of 164 solo tackles on the season while averaging nearly 15 yards per catch as a tight end. Although his preference is linebacker, Nave is approaching college football with an open mind.
  "You've got to be extremely fast and strong to play linebacker in college while at tight end you get to block and catch the football," he said. "Whatever would help the team is where I would want to play."
  Nave gave credit to his teammates, all the football coaching staff and especially the late Tommy Jenkins. "Last year I was in the library with Coach Jenkins during third period, and he really taught me a great deal about football and the college recruiting process," Nave said.
  The 2004 Cyclone storybook football season is officially over, and so is the illustrious football career of Nave. No doubt, some college will exploit the talents of the Cyclone senior next season. Why? Because Nave is a tough cookie that will hit you with his best shot.