Football Wilson

Nick Timko Coming Up Clutch For Wilson Football

The “clutch” moments in a football game aren’t always at the end. A third down near midfield that will flip field position, or an early extra point in a close contest are imperative moments for a successful football team.

When Wilson needs someone to step up in a big moment, they call on Nick Timko. That’s why we call him Primetime.

Timko is a 5’10” 145-pound junior who also runs the extra point “swinging gate” as the holder and backup quarterback. The speedy slot receiver has been able to pick apart defensive secondaries with his smarts and has 26 receptions for 654 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first season as a starter.

Last week in the first round playoff win over Fullerton, Timko caught three touchdowns in the first half and converted a pair of 2-point conversions out of the extra point formation. He’s also one of the most humble football stars in the city.

“I think it’s great coaching, great quarterback play and great line play,” Timko said of his own success. “It’s the time Pettway has in the pocket and his vision to see me anywhere on the field… and the coaches have dialed up the right play against the right coverage.”

Wilson (10-1) will need to rely on Timko and the other receivers to make more big plays tonight against West Ranch in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 7 playoffs.

“He’s a happy-go-lucky kid who does everything he’s asked to do,” Wilson coach Mark Ziegenhagen said of Timko. “He doesn’t talk back and he isn’t a vocal leader. He’s a leader by example.”

Timko was born and raised in Long Beach where he played a lot of sports, but first fell in love with flag football when he was in kindergarten. He was actually on a team with current Wilson quarterback Ryan Pettway.

“It was just the comradery with the guys and going out every week to play football and have a great time,” Timko said. “At that point in our lives it was the highlight of everybody’s week. We didn’t have much to do, so we were just looking forward to Friday night.”

After playing receiver for his entire life, Timko was willing to change for the good of the team when he tried out of the Wilson freshman football team.

“When I got out there first day they needed a quarterback so I just went out and played what they needed me to play,” Timko said. “I had played baseball so it just felt like I needed to get a different grip on the (football) and not squeeze it so tight. And the arm motion was a little different. It was odd but it was fun, and I enjoyed learning with coach Janzen and some of the other coaches.”

The Wilson freshman team went 8-2 with Timko as its signal caller, and he was also the quarterback on the junior varsity team last year. However, he looked forward to being back at receiver.

“When I first started playing receiver it just appealed to me more because I’m not stuck behind the line of scrimmage,” Timko said “I can run out there and make cuts and use the whole field… I really thought I could win a starting spot during the summer and passing leagues. But it was an open book headed into the first week.”

Timko secured his starting spot in the first game of the year at Mayfair when he cut up the seam for a 95-yard touchdown catch and run that ended up being the game-winning score.

“I honestly think that’s what separated me for the starting position,” Timko said. “We have a really solid core group of receivers and I think you could plug any of us in and play great.”

“He knows the game, he knows what his body can do, and he knows how to get out of situations to protect himself,” Ziegenhagen said. “He uses his speed to his advantage. He knows how to run routs and what to look for to get to the open area, to split the safeties.”

Timko and Ziegenhagen agree that having Timko as the backup quarterback has helped him become a better receiver.

“When we have our sit-downs with the quarterbacks and we talk about the coverage and what we’re looking for this week, it lets me know where the soft spots are where to be at the right time to get the ball,” Timko said. “I was never a big kid. I kind of liked it because it makes me special compared to every body else.”

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.