When it comes to passing the eyeball test at 5-foot-9, 170 pounds Nick Bliss might get a high C.
However, when it comes to getting into the end zone the Richmond Hill all-purpose player is at the head of the class. Bliss is a touchdown machine.
After scoring all four of the Wildcats’ touchdowns in last Friday’s 28-26 win over New Hampstead the senior running back/ receiver/kick returner is second in the state in all classes with 14 TDs.
Richmond Hill (4-1) will play its final non-region game of the season at 7:30 p.m. Friday when Coffee County (4-0), ranked No. 3 in Class 5A, visits Wildcats Stadium.
Bliss is one of four players who trail Brookwood running back TJ Thomas who has 15 touchdowns.
Brookwood is also a Class 7A school. Bliss has four ways: rushing, receiving, on a kickoff return and off a blocked punt.
It’s been quiet a turnaround for Bliss who played last year in the shadow of a trio of playmakers who are all now playing college football: quarterback Ty Goldrick, running back Zion Gillard and receiver Ravon Grant.
Stats from a year ago show Bliss with 49 yards rushing and 18 receptions for 223 yards and a touchdown to go with four kickoff returns for 119 yards.
This year as a senior on a junior dominated team Bliss has been a one-man show. He has 700 all-purpose yards: 192 rushing, 20 catches for 293 receiving, 160 on kickoff returns and one punt return for 55.
Bliss, whose strength belies his size, credits his teammates and a lot of support and assistance from older brother Tommy, now a redshirt freshman defensive back at Mercer, for his success to date.
“This is all my offensive line and my running backs, behind me and in front of me,” Bliss said. “They’re driving themselves every single day in practice and the weight room and it shows on the field.
“They pile it down the field and I punch it in for them.”
Tommy Bliss was an outstanding two-way performer for the Wildcats as a defensive back and receiver. Up until this season his shadow had loomed over Nick. That’s no longer the case.
“I talk to Tommy all the time,” Nick said. “He was here tonight (Homecoming) in the stands. He’s really proud of me.
“He’s helped me every step of the way,” Bliss said. “During the summer and spring, I was always sending him messages about how I could get better.
“He plays defensive back so he knows every move I can put on someone to help me get open. We’re really close and I can’t say enough about how much he’s helped me become a better player.”
Jalen Rouse (2019) and Nick Fitzgerald (2013) hold the school single season mark for touchdowns with 25. Fitzgerald holds the regular season mark with 23, adding two in two state playoff games. Rouse had 17 in the regular season plus eight in four playoff contests.
The Wildcats have now exceeded last year’s win total and take another step toward respectability against the Trojans.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” Bliss said of the season, “but an amazing one. I mean all summer we’ve been working in the weight room giving it our all every single day.
“It’s been blood, sweat and tears. That’s not a joke. It’s not even a cliché. It’s just the truth so we’re extremely proud that we can finally call ourselves the Wildcats again.”