One of Shenandoah High School’s top football players from the past decade died last week.
2017 graduate Nick Swanson was killed in a Kansas automobile accident, Monday, Dec. 23 just a few years removed from the end of a stellar football career for the Mustangs.
Swanson anchored Shenandoah’s defense during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, his junior and senior year, and finished his career with probably his best game in a Page County Super Bowl victory.
The Mustangs beat Clarinda 50-34 to end the 2016 season. Swanson opened the scoring that night with a 39-yard rushing touchdown, his first of five scores on the day. He carried the ball 18 times for 249 yards. He added a 54-yard touchdown reception and had 13 tackles on defense.
Swanson nearly reached 1,000 yards of total offense his senior year. He finished with 852 yards rushing, 120 receiving and nine total touchdowns as Shenandoah won its final two games to finish 4-5.
While he blossomed as a ball carrier late in his senior season, the defensive side of the ball is where Swanson will be remembered. He is the only Mustang in the last decade to finish a season with more than 100 tackles, and he did it twice, helping him earn first-team all-district honors both seasons.
Swanson finished his senior season with 100.5 total tackles and 15.5 tackles for loss. He recorded double-digit tackles in seven games, led by a 15.5 tackle effort in a loss to East Sac County.
He was also Shenandoah’s leading kickoff returner as a senior. He ended the year with just seven returns, but had three different games which featured a return of at least 30 yards.
Swanson led the Mustangs with 101 tackles and 15.5 tackles for loss as a junior in leading Shenandoah to an appearance in the Class 2A state playoffs.
Swanson had 28.5 tackles in the first two games of the season and ended the year with an 11-tackle game in the playoff loss to East Sac County. His 15.5-tackle performance in a win over Mount Ayr in the season’s second game also featured 4.5 tackles for loss.
Swanson also returned two interceptions for touchdowns as a junior, and it came in consecutive games. He took an interception 86 yards for a touchdown in the regular season loss to East Sac County, and then went 39 yards for a score the following week in a win over Atlantic.
Swanson finished his Mustang football career with 205 total tackles, 31 tackles for loss, three sacks and two interceptions.
He also ran in the state track and field meet for the Mustangs as a junior.
Swanson was 20 years old.