AURORA – Nick Edlund detoured from discussing his seamless transfer from St. Charles North to Aurora Christian to a topic with far more potential for turmoil.
The bygone backyard game “Crush the Carrier” featured Edlund, his older brother, George, and his younger brother, Christopher, and unquestionably molded each sibling into a football player.
“We would all take turns running the ball, and whoever tackled one of us would be the next ballcarrier, and we would just play that for hours,” Nick Edlund said. “And since we’re all running backs, I think that somehow transitioned onto the field a little bit, just that relentless, never-die-easy attitude, I guess.”
As Edlund concludes his prep career – an erstwhile North Star turned Eagle – he finds himself channeling his childhood passion as a high school senior.
Mimicking an uninhibited kid, he led prayer during his second summer practice with the team. Edlund felt compelled to just jump right in to a group he hardly knew at the time.
He greets his backfield duties with the same fervor.
In Week 6, Edlund’s 162 yards and a touchdown nearly helped stir an ACS upset of perennial large-school power St. Rita. The Mustangs rallied for a a 35-21 victory in a game the Eagles led, 21-20, after three quarters.
“Going into the game, we just really wanted to play as hard as we possibly could, and just give it our all,” said Edlund, who also has seen time at safety. “The thing that we preached the most was never surrender. So going into that game, I just wanted to continue to fall forward, continue to get positive yards.”
That’s been Edlund’s mantra whether he carried a football in his backyard or for any of his school teams – Haines Middle School, North and now Aurora Christian. He blends strength and speed in his 5-foot-8, 180-pound frame, and seldom is in short supply of resolve.
“Oh, man, he’s a great, great guy and one of my good friends now,” Eagles senior quarterback Austin Bray said. “He brings an attitude to this football team that, I think, he was a big attribute to our attitude coming in.”
Edlund calls that an extension of his instant fervor for Aurora Christian. Last spring, his parents met with his siblings to tell them the family had decided to make the short move south on the Randall Road corridor, relocating from St. Charles to North Aurora.
Edlund’s father, Dave, works for a metal products distributor in Hammond, Indiana, and this would shorten his daily commute while keeping the family rooted in suburban Chicago.
As Edlund evaluated Aurora high schools, he found a fondness for Aurora Christian, crediting its faith-based community and football program.
“I did a shadow day and I prayed on it, and this happened to be where I ended up,” Edlund said.
Working into a backfield rotation behind leading rusher Evan Kurtz at North in 2013, Edlund was active with the North Stars’ offseason strength and conditioning program, including as part of the inaugural Pennies 4 Pounds Lift-A-Thon fundraiser in February.
He remains close with North quarterback Nathan Didier, a friend since junior high, exchanging “good-luck texts” before games.
The goodwill usually ends there. Eagles coach Dave Beebe thought Edlund ran “with a vengeance” against St. Rita, an extension, apparently, of his “Crush the Carrier” days.
George Edlund, a Lake Forest College sophomore, and Christopher Edlund, a Marmion freshman who is playing with the sophomore team, also graduated from that game to the running back business.
Nick Edlund only was stuck in the middle by birth order. He’s always had the will to break free.
“I love the kid to death,” Beebe said. “He’s been a tremendous addition to our team.”