Article by PressBox850
Class of 2023
Position – QB
Humbleness. It is the first thing that you think of while talking to Freeport’s Ashton Nunes. A true humbleness. While talking with Nunes the humbleness is so prominent that it is hard to get him to answer questions about himself. Nunes is completely content to allow the unsung heroes to shine. Nunes is quick to talk about his offensive linemen, he is proud to talk about some of the weapons he will be throwing to next year. Nunes however tends to shy from the limelight when it comes to talking about himself. The humbleness is refreshing in a world where so many athletes are promoting self before their team.
It has been a few years since Freeport Highschool and Head Coach Shaun Arntz have returned a starting QB. Now the Bulldog’s are returning Nunes, and he still has two seasons left with the Bulldogs. In his Sophomore effort for the Bulldogs Nunes passed for 1,930 yards and 18 touchdowns, but what he showed his team was more than just what he can do with his arm. Nunes proved as a sophomore that he was going to be a leader, and he leads by a mental and physical toughness to keep getting back up. Nunes played with a toughness that is rare in a sophomore, a toughness that brings optimism for what to expect in his upcoming junior season.
Nunes is the type of QB that the Bulldogs have been looking for. A player that has the talent and the ability to carry the game on his shoulders if needed. Not only does Nunes posses the ability to move the ball through the air at will, be also harnesses the mental fortitude to make the quick decisions and read the defenses correctly.
The humbleness during our interview with Nunes led to one of the most surprising answers we received from Freeports QB1. When asked what play from last season sticks with him, his answer once again came from a team first mentality. In all honesty we expected an answer to point at a particular play, maybe a read that was wrong, maybe a play that should have been audibled, maybe a judgement that Nunes wishes he could redo. However, without hesitation Nunes responded with “The game versus Rocky Bayou.”
Nunes went on to elaborate on that answer. He described an overall team mindset. He described the feeling of writing a game off before the first snap. Nunes described the feeling of going into a game expecting it to be a blow out and in reality, having to fight to get the win. This is a perfect picture of the character that Nunes has, even though the Bulldogs went on to win the game against the Knights, Nunes remembers how it felt to go into a game and being surprised. That is the one thing that sticks with Nunes from the previous season, not taking a game seriously before the kickoff.
One thing is for certain in this upcoming year, Nunes along with the Coaching Staff at Freeport will be prepared for every game. While Nunes is under center for the Bulldogs you can expect his leadership to be a driving force in the mental prep for the Bulldogs.
Nunes spoke of Peyton Manning being one of the QBs that he looked up to, but he also went on to say that he tries to study all quarterbacks and he tries to apply something from each of the great ones to his personal game. This mindset is evident in the way Nunes plays, he has great vision down the field, touch over the middle, and the ability to stretch the field with the sideline bombs. His work ethic is part of the reason that Nunes is making the progression that he is. He is up early every morning to get in a workout before even heading to school, and then working on his passing game late in the evenings while everyone else has called it a day. Nunes is one of those players that takes his personal ability seriously and strives each day to get better.
Following Nunes on Social Media you see that he genuinely cares about the success of his teammates. The Bulldogs are not only putting in the work during practices, but they are also getting together outside of practices, without the coaching staff, working on their game as a unit. Nunes not only cares about the growth of his team on the field, but also in the classroom. It is not rare to see Nunes hosting study groups with teammates after hours, at his house.
The Bulldogs are going to be a team to take seriously next year. The bond that the team is forming is one of those magical bonds that defies what the stats say on paper. The common thread for the growth of the team is in the love that each player has for their Coach, Shaun Arntz. It is impossible to talk to one of the Freeport Athletes without hearing how much their love their coach. Nunes describes playing for Coach Arntz as playing for someone that runs a Highschool program the same way a college coach does. Arntz demands discipline, and he coaches hard, but he cares about each one of his athletes even more. That love that the coach has for the players, is what drives the players, it is what motivates them, it is what is making this team so special.