Daring on — and off — the field, Coeur d’Alene High senior Colbey Nosworthy shines as a receiver, safety and punt returner for the Vikings

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  • LOREN BENOIT/Press Coeur d’Alene High senior Colbey Nosworthy runs upfield after catching a pass against Borah in a state 5A football quarterfinal game last year at Viking Field.

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    Nosworthy

  • LOREN BENOIT/Press Coeur d’Alene High senior Colbey Nosworthy runs upfield after catching a pass against Borah in a state 5A football quarterfinal game last year at Viking Field.

  • 1

    Nosworthy

Picking up a bouncing football inside his own 5-yard line is a bit of a daring move.

But Coeur d’Alene High senior Colbey Nosworthy is equally daring off the football field.

Or at least was.

“I’m kinda out there like that ... I do crazy stuff sometimes,” said Nosworthy, a wide receiver, safety and punt returner for the Vikings (7-2), who return to action this Friday with a state 5A quarterfinal game at home vs. Mountain View (8-2) of Meridian. “I’ve rolled a few 4-wheelers and side-by-sides ... crashed dirt bikes quite a bit.

“He’s had his fair share of that, but not like his older brother (Cameren),” said his did, Chris. “Seemed like every time he got on something, something would break, or he’d wreck it. I think Colbey learned from example.”

For the most part, Colbey emerged unscathed from those episodes.

“I definitely got some scars and stitches ... no broken bones,” he said.

Ditto on the football field. Perhaps a bobble here and there, but nothing like a devastating turnover that has cost his team.

Exhibit A in daringness was his 96-yard punt return for a touchdown two weeks ago in the de facto 5A Inland Empire League championship game against the Post Falls Trojans. It started as a line drive punt that kept bouncing and bouncing, nearly to the goal line. Most figured the ball would roll dead — until Nosworthy decided to pick it up and try to make something happen.

Moments later, he was racing down the sideline, his score pulling the Vikings within two points in a game they would go on to win 55-14.

“He has good awareness to know when to let the ball go, make a fair catch, or take a shot at a return,” Coeur d’Alene special teams coach Vinny Lupinacci said. “The exciting thing about him back there is he has great vision and explosiveness, so when he does get his opportunities to catch it and run there is always the possibility that he can make an impact play for our football team.”

Viking coach Shawn Amos called Nosworthy’s return vs. the Trojans a “No, no, no ... yes!” moment.

And there have been other “yes” moments for a the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Nosworthy, in his second year as a two-way starter.

He had a punt return for a touchdown last year against Mead, in a game at Roos Field in Cheney.

After three interceptions last year, Nosworthy has eight interceptions this year, including three pick-6s.

“Colbey is extremely competitive, but also disciplined physically and mentally,” said Coeur d’Alene defensive coordinator Jeff Vesser, who also coaches the safeties. “He is one of those special players that see things develop and has the ability to react a step quicker than most.”

And in a balanced offense which features numerous weapons at running back and receiver, Nosworthy has a team-high 54 receptions for 729 yards and eight touchdowns this season.

As a junior, Nosworthy was also Coeur d’Alene’s leading receiver with 52 catches for 516 yards and three TDs.

Nosworthy says he has since cut back on his four-wheeling and dirt-biking adventures, so as not to risk injury for football — likely another “yes” moment in the eyes of his coaches.

Nosworthy played running back in junior tackle (he wears No. 21 because he was a big fan of former Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson growing up).

Viking coaches moved him to receiver as a freshman (he had also played there in arena football while in middle school), and he played receiver on the frosh and junior varsity teams at Coeur d’Alene.

On defense, he has played linebacker, cornerback and safety growing up.

A strong safety, Nosworthy made the all-Idaho first team last year on defense.

“In our system he is more of a hybrid safety/linebacker,” Vesser said. “As soon as he entered the Viking football program, we noticed his ability to work downhill in the run game, but also cover inside receivers. What really makes him special for our defense is his ‘burst.’ He just adds another gear. I think it really opens up his special playmaking ability.”

The Nosworthy name is known for football, as much as it is for burgers and omelets.

Colbey’s dad, Chris, played linebacker and defensive end at Coeur d’Alene High and outside linebacker at Wenatchee Valley College.

His uncle, Kelly, played defensive end at Coeur d’Alene High and linebacker at Boise State.

His cousin, Logan, was a senior tight end on last year’s squad.

His grandfather, Dale Nosworthy, was a star tight end at Utah.

“It’s cool. I like listening to all the stories, what they did,” Colbey said.

“I was basically surrounded by football my whole life,” he added. “It definitely gives me motivation, knowing most of my family members have played, but I’ve always wanted to play football. It’s always been my sport.”

For punt return motivation, Colbey said he enjoys watching Jerry Louie-McGee, the former Lake City High star who this year became the all-time leading receiver at Montana, and also returns punts for the Griz.

“He’s pretty daring too,” Nosworthy said. “And he’s a walk-on. And he’s from around here, and he’s not the biggest guy ever. So it’s pretty cool watching him.”

Like Lake City senior Logan Jeanselme, a wide receiver, cornerback and punt returner, Nosworthy was at the 2014 Coeur d’Alene-Lake City game where Louie-McGee returned two kickoffs and a punt for touchdowns, and also caught a TD pass, leading Lake City to an overtime victory over Coeur d’Alene.

“I thought it was crazy,” Nosworthy said of Louie-McGee’s performance. “I wanted to do that when I was his age.”

Both Colbey and older brother Cameren played baseball growing up. Colbey was a member of the Hayden Little League 13U team that advanced to the Western Regionals in Nogales, Ariz.

“I’ve coached a lot of kids, and been around a lot of kids,” Chris said, “and not because it’s my son, but his drive is something you don’t see all the time. All the credit, at the end of the day, goes back to him, and all that he’s put into it.”

Nosworthy is attracting recruiting interest mostly from FCS (Big Sky) and NAIA (Frontier Conference) schools.

“Different schools see him at different positions,” Amos said. “Most are just looking at him as an athlete that would be able to help them in several areas.”

Nosworthy said he doesn’t care where he plays on the field.

“I just want to keep playing ball,” he said.

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