When Crockett High’s football team has needed somebody to step up and make a big play that seals the deal, senior Nicholas Tripp has done it enough times this season to earn himself a nickname.
“We call him ‘The Closer,’’’ Crockett coach Rod Oden said.
Tripp, a 5-8, 170-pound defensive back and wide receiver, can also be called the Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week after his drive-stopping interception last Friday enabled the Rockets to advance past Birmingham Country Day 13-12 in the opening round of the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 4 state playoffs.
“When he picked off the ball on their sidelines, it stopped them from driving and allowed us to run out the clock,’’ Oden said. “It’s not the first time Nick Tripp has made a big play at the right time this season. He seems to have a knack for that.”
Two weeks ago, in the PSL Division I championship game at Ford Field, it was Tripp whose interception abruptly ended a dramatic comeback effort by King in the last minute as Crockett escaped with a 21-19 victory. In Week 6, Tripp also nabbed an interception and ran it back for the game’s only TD in the Rockets’ 7-0 victory against Cass Tech.
“I’d have to say the interception against King was the most memorable because it was for the city championship,’’ Tripp said. “I got injured early in the fourth quarter. I twisted my ankle pretty bad, but I was able to come back out with two minutes to go and I got the interception. It was a great feeling.”
Tripp, who has a 3.3 grade point average, anticipates playing college football on a scholarship but is still in the process of being recruited. With a new nickname, his reputation now precedes him as his 9-1 Rockets prepare to host Harper Woods Chandler Park Friday at 7 p.m. at Renaissance High School in the MHSAA district finals.
“I’m glad to be the Proud Strong Learner of the Week and I’m ready to go out there and get this win,” he said. “The coaches always told me I had it in me. I’ve played three years and I’ve improved every year. Now that they’ve nicknamed me The Closer, I’ve just got to continue to do what I do.”
The Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week Award is representative of the league’s top boys’ and girls’ athletic performers and is sponsored by local Detroit area McDonald’s owner-operators.