On Friday nights in the fall at Marshfield’s Pete Susick Stadium, there is one name to get familiar with: Niblett.
“(Last year) the guy up as announcer would be like, ‘There’s Niblett on the tackle, oh and there’s Niblett on the tackle.’ And my mom would be like, ‘Sometimes when they keep saying that I get embarrassed. Is someone else going to get a tackle?’ We’re just doing our job,” said senior Josiah Niblett.
Both Josiah and his brother Noah, a junior, played important roles on last year’s team that made a run to the state semifinals. At the center of an especially talented group of seniors, the 5-foot-10 200 pound Josiah made his presence felt with force at both running back and linebacker. Noah, at 5-11 and 170 pounds, did his damage to teams at slot receiver and defensive back.
Because they are the only returning all-league players on offense or defense for the Pirates (Arturo Ledesma also returns after being named first-team kicker and punter), all eyes are on the Nibletts heading into the new season.
“They’re definitely our impact players. They play all over the field. There’s not many times when they come off the field and we have high expectations for them and expect a lot from them,” said head coach John Lemmons. “We expect them to be leaders by example in how they practice, how they play and how they carry themselves around.”
Josiah and Noah are the latest football stars in a family full of them. On both sides of their family, stories are swapped about their dad who briefly played in college or of uncles who were stars of their teams. There is a long tradition of football success for a family with deep roots in the area.
“I guess you would say football is in our family,” said Anne Niblett, mother of Josiah and Noah. “My father was a Marshfield grad and he and my mom had their first date at a Marshfield football game. Our family and this land goes back thousands of years because my boys are tribal members and of course the Coquille Indians are from this place.”
Before these Niblett brothers were running the show in Coos Bay, their football journey started with being linemen in Wyoming. Very in shape linemen at that.
“The conditioning was way more serious. They had you doing like high school level conditioning at that level. They used to make us do up-downs for like 20 minutes,” said Josiah who was in fifth grade at the time while Noah was in fourth.
Playing for their first time on a team together, they had varied success that came from their ability to work hard and general athleticism. Their football careers picked up steam once they moved to the Coos Bay area about seven years ago.
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Once in the area, Josiah was moved to his dream position of running back where he started to excel. Noah was spread throughout the offense but kept away, for the most part, from his most desired position of quarterback. Instead, he became essential to the offense in the slot and all over the field. Each on their own teams, they were back together on JV during Josiah’s sophomore year where the duo wreaked havoc on their opponents.
“They put me as running back and Josiah led block for me and I scored a touchdown,” said Noah. “That’s what my mom always likes seeing, him blocking me and me running it in.”
“I always told them, you don’t let anybody hurt your brother. You take that as an insult, nobody gets past you and hurts your brother,” said Anne Niblett. “And so, I remember him blocking for Noah and Noah running in for a touchdown ... That’s my favorite, when they are supporting each other on the field.”
To get to that level on the field, it started with work off the field. Since Josiah’s freshman year, nearly every morning the boys can be found before school in the weight room working out. The goal of those sessions was always preparing for when the fateful day came when they were both on varsity.
It came a year earlier than expected when Noah received playing time last season as a sophomore. With a year under their belt and paired with belief in their abilities from their coaches and teammates, this is the season the Nibletts have been working for.
“My mom always talks about how she cannot wait until Josiah is a senior and I’m a junior and we play high school together,” said Noah. “It’s all been training for this year. Me and Josiah on the team.”
And from their mom’s perspective, she is most certainly proud. Proud of their hard work, proud of their leadership and proud of their success.
And proud that they are doing it together.
“So it’s kind of like what happens out there is reflected in our life, too, or maybe our life is reflected on the field,” said Anne Niblett. “You can’t count on everyone else but you can count on your brother.”