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Reigning All-Blade football player of the year Nate Kmic of Delta High School has selected perennial small-college power Mount Union as the place he will continue his education and his football career.
"I liked their history and their coaching staff, and the fact that you know you're going to a prestigious football school," Kmic said of Mount Union. "They've been to the playoffs and they know how to win. I visited three times and they showed a lot of interest in me."
The 5-9, 180-pounder - who led the Panthers to the Division IV state semifinals as a junior and to the regional semis last fall - capped his outstanding prep career last fall with 39 touchdowns, a field goal and 57 PATs for a remarkable 294 points, the fifth highest single-season total in Ohio prep history.
Gaining over 1,000 yards in each of his final three seasons, Kmic rushed 165 times for 1,681 yards (10.2-yard average) as a senior despite playing offense in the second half of only five of Delta's 12 games. He also made 65 tackles and had five interceptions on defense for the 9-3 Panthers.
These numbers were not big enough, however, to draw Kmic any scholarship interest at the Division I or II college levels. He did consider walking on at Bowling Green, but waited for an invitation that never came.
"I'm disapointed that I didn't get any scholarship offers, but I can understand that," Kmic said. "I'm only 5-9 and I come from a Division IV school. I would have liked to have someone take a look at me, but they didn't and it's something you just have to live with."
In choosing Mount Union, a Division III school which cannot offer scholarships, Kmic is at least getting the best of what small-college football has to offer.
The Purple Raiders, holders of college football's two longest winning streaks - 55 games (2000-03) and 54 games (1996-99) - have won seven NCAA D-III national championships, all since 1993 under veteran head coach Larry Kehres, and each with perfect 14-0 records.
The Alliance, Ohio school has won 13 straight Ohio Athletic Conference championships, reached the NCAA playoffs 13 straight times and has posted an astounding 169-7 overall record during that span (1992-2004).
Kmic, the Ohio D-IV offensive co-player of the year, will be joined in Alliance by the player who shared that state honor with him, quarterback Greg Micheli of Upper Sandusky. Micheli recently played a key role in the 27-0 Rams' Division II state basketball championship.