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Westside's Cole Payton Named Gatorade Player of the Year



Westside’s Cole Payton makes history as Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year

Westside High School Senior Cole Payton has been awarded the Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year Award, the school’s first football player to receive the prestigious honor.


Cole Payton

The Gatorade Player of the Year Award recognizes the nation’s most elite high school athletes for athletic excellence as well as high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character. Payton, the starting quarterback who led Westside to the Class A 2020 State Football Championship title, is also a respected teammate and student who has led volunteer efforts in the community, participated in mentor activities for younger students, and has earned a place on the Honor Roll.

“I’m so honored!” said Payton. “I appreciate everyone around me, because without them this wouldn’t be possible.”

“Cole's elite preparation, work ethic, and mindset have been the catalyst to his successful high school career,” said Head Football Coach Brett Froendt. “Perhaps the best of all his attributes are his humility, selflessness, and leadership. He not only elevates the performance of those around him, he has elevated our program the last three years. Cole's a fierce competitor who is certainly worthy of this great award and I couldn't be more proud of him.”  

Payton plans to study and play football at North Dakota State University in the fall. He will graduate from Westside High School this Sunday, May 16.

Westside student journalist Zev Gordman profiled Payton as the school’s Athlete of the Week in December; click here to read more.