Weddington’s Bernhard making up for lost time

Weddington offensive lineman Nick Bernhard is back on the field after suffering a knee injury last summer. (Photo by Ashleigh Mock).

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Player Profile

Nick Bernhard

School: Weddington High

Class: Senior

Position: Offensive lineman

Height: 6-3

Weight: 260

Notable: Bernhard started at center on a Weddington team that won the 2016 Class 3AA State Championship. … Bernhard suffered a knee injury in August and missed nine of 10 games before returning to the lineup last week against Cuthbertson.

As one of just two experienced returning offensive linemen, Weddington High senior Nick Bernhard was expected to fill a key role on a Warriors team that lacked depth and experience entering the 2017 football season.

But that changed quickly last August when Bernhard (6-foot-3, 260 pounds) injured his left knee at a team camp at Wingate University. Bernhard tried to return back in September but he again hurt his knee.

But Bernhard is back on the field and that is good news for an offensive line that has played well this season. Bernhard not only brings size and talent to the offensive line but also much-needed depth for a Weddington team that dresses out just over 30 players.

“It was hard watching games from the sidelines,” Bernhard said. “But I’m happy that I am back.

Bernhard returned to the field last week as the Warriors played rival Cuthbertson. Bernhard thought it could be the last time he played at home but the Warriors’ 45-0 win over the Cavaliers gave Weddington a No. 5 seed in the Class 3A playoffs and at least one home game.

Weddington (8-3) will host Hickory Friday, Nov. 10 in a first-round game and Bernhard is looking forward to what he hopes will be another deep run in the playoffs. Weddington is the defending Class 3AA state champion.

“It’s going to be a tough road in the playoffs this year, but I think we will be fine,” Bernhard said. “Winning the state championship last year, I will never forget that. We had a great group last year, but I think this group has what it takes to make that long run in the playoffs.”

Weddington head coach Tim Carson said Bernhard’s return comes at a good time for the Warriors.

“Nick did a good job at center last year and he had some good seniors around him,” Carson said. “Having Nick back, it adds more size and adds more experience. It gives us some depth and that will help us with some other kids.”

Chris Sorensen, Grant Lamb, Bradley Moorehead, Ian Dunn and Dawson Rhodes have all played well in the trenches as the Warriors have won four of their last five games. Weddington has scored 79 points in its last two games.

“The last two weeks, the offensive line has done a really good job,” Carson said.

Weddington will have its hands full Friday night as Hickory is averaging 33 points a game. Hickory quarterback Derrien Phillips is a dual-threat and the senior has rushed for almost 20 touchdowns this fall. Hickory has 26 seniors on its roster, which almost matches Weddington’s entire varsity roster.

“Hickory is very talented and very athletic,” Carson said. “They beat an undefeated team in Alexander Central (Oct. 27), so they are capable of playing very good football. Their quarterback does a good job. He is quick, he is elusive and he can throw the ball. They will be hard to stop.”

“They have some good-sized kids up front, especially defensively. They are a senior-led team.”

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at