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Nicholas Streubel looks over to the sidelines during Central Washington University’s football practice on Thursday, Oct. 10. at Tomlinson Stadium.

Being around for six years with the same team, Nicholas Streubel has earned more than the title of a father figure to his Central Washington University teammates.

“I would say grandfather figure,” said junior offensive lineman Will Ortner while laughing.

Streubel, indeed, has fulfilled that role. Spending six seasons with CWU, leadership is inevitable.

“It’s pretty funny, just knowing that I’ve been around for a while,” Streubel said on his thoughts of Ortner calling him the grandfather of the team. “It’s kind of amazing that some of the freshmen that are coming in now, they were in eighth grade when I was first coming here, so I can definitely see why they call me that.”

While he may not be the most vocal on the field, according to Ortner and head coach Chris Fisk, he’s been a cog to that offensive line, especially for the last three seasons.

And coming back for the 2019 season when he could have easily graduated with his bachelors in safety and health management and transitioned into his field of work, it speaks volumes about Streubel’s character.

“I talk about this with the team often,” Fisk said. “Nick Streubel along with Grady Graff decided to come back for a sixth year to play football. And I think it would have been easy for those guys to say, ‘Hey, I don’t know, a new head coach and I don’t want to go through that and be part of that growing process that the team’s going to go through with a new guy at the helm.’

“Really have a lot of respect for those two making that choice to come back and support me and help me establish myself here in my first year.”

Streubel’s reason? The brotherhood.

“Definitely the brotherhood and just having that bond with the guys,” the 6-foot-3, 305 pound Streubel said. ‘I mean, you can’t really beat it. And then also, I always feel like I have something else to prove. I feel like I could improve personally. It’s another quarter of college, so that’s always nice, too.

“But honestly, just going forward in my life, knowing that I could have had one more opportunity to play another year of football, and if I didn’t take that, I probably would regret it the rest of my life.”

Streubel, an Oak Harbor native and a graduate of Coupeville High School, received only two offers out of high school which were CWU and the University of Oregon, but as a preferred walk-on.

Oregon’s out-of-state tuition was expensive and he fell in love with the CWU program. And it also was close to home.

His parents, David and Nanette, have not missed a single game, home or away.

“They’ve been great supporters of me in my career, so it’s been really nice to have them so close,” Streubel said.

Streubel took a redshirt in 2014, and then in 2015, he saw action in six games. As a redshirt sophomore in 2016, he endured a broken thumb in the first game of the season at Portland State University which had him miss the entire season and use a medical redshirt.

But he returned to full strength in 2017, starting in 10 games at left guard in CWU’s 11–1, GNAC championship-winning season.

Streubel earned honors for D2CCA All-region first-team and GNAC first-team.

In 2018, Streubel again was a GNAC first-team selection and helped the Wildcats become one of Division II’s most prolific offenses that ranked second in both scoring (47.7 points per game) and total offense (540.9 yards per game), and sixth in rushing offense (272.6 yards per game).

And he did it while making the transition from left guard to center at the beginning of the season, a position he still holds in 2019.

“When we had some issues at the center position early in the season. Our center got hurt the week of Eastern Washington. Streubel hadn’t even taken a snap at center and came in and played the whole game against Eastern Washington,” Fisk said. “And Eastern had a big All-American nose guard and Streubel went toe to toe against that kid and did extremely well.”

Playing the center position came with more responsibilities such as being more vocal, as Streubel says the center “is the second quarterback on the field.”

“He’s a great leader,” Ortner said. “He’s a quieter guy and leads by example. I think that’s been good for me and all the younger guys, because it’s like ‘Hey, that’s how you’re supposed to do it. Look at that guy.’

“... The more we fall in line with him, it seems like the better we get.”

The production out of the Central offensive line has been salient over generations. It’s been a tradition that the men upfront have been bulwarks year after year.

Streubel knows after he’s gone, the younger guys will step in and live up to that expectation.

“No hate to the other guys, the older guys from last year, but I think Streubel is a perfect fit for like older guys who stay,” said redshirt sophomore lineman Raymond Schalk. “He’s been a really cool guy and like a mentor, and he’s really just kind of taking on that older brother role over all of us. We all really appreciate him.”

Streubel will graduate this fall and already has signed with a company that he’ll begin with in January.

Streubel will entertain the thought of football beyond college, but right now, his focus in on the 1-4 Wildcats as they try to make a turnaround to the season.

“If I get a chance, that’s awesome, but I’m trying to finish out the season strong,” he said. “Once it’s all said and done, then I’ll see how my body is holding up and if I actually want to play football after the season.”


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