Sam Brauer is accustomed to being in charge.
The Seward quarterback takes command in the huddle, but he knows when to relinquish control.
"I lead during football and know I have to be in control, but during calculus, I'm the follower," Brauer said. "A group of us gets together to study, like now with a final coming up. We get out a big marker board and take problems out of our textbook and talk through them.
"Sometimes there are arguments, but we're usually pretty civil. If I'm really sure of myself on something, I'll speak up, but usually, I'm the one taking instructions."
Brauer is obviously adept at both taking the lead and following. He carries a 4.0 grade-point average and is ranked fourth in his graduating class of 121 students. He earned Journal Star Academic All-State honors in football, basketball and track.
This year, Brauer rushed for 1,039 yards and passed for another 787. He will attend Nebraska-Kearney this fall and play football.
"I think it's important to be comfortable in both roles. I enjoy the responsibility of leadership, but next year, I'm not going to be the best athlete on the team," Brauer said. "I will be the low guy on the totem pole and I'll be the one needing instruction.
"I think it helps to be someone who is easily coachable and able to be a good teammate."
Brauer is taking calculus, advanced placement English and Spanish 4, all for college credit, this semester.
"There is so much to do, but I can't be thinking about writing an English paper when I'm playing football and I can't be thinking about football when I'm writing the paper," he said. "You have to focus on one thing at a time. I used to get kind of stressed out over all the stuff going on. And then I realized these are some of the best years of my life, so I just had to try to do my best. That's all you can ask."
Brauer plans to follow in his family's footsteps and study law. His father, Larry, is the city attorney in Seward and his brother, Ryan, is a corporate attorney in Minnesota.
"Being a lawyer look stressful but fulfilling. I think it's a great challenge," he said.
He said he has found athletics and academics very compatible.
"I think it's my study habits that have made me a better athlete," Brauer said. "As a quarterback, you have to know what everyone is doing. The fact that I can study and learn what everyone is doing helps."
Brauer said time management is particularly important while juggling three sports and maintaining good grades.
"Finding the time to get your work done is important. I used to come really early to school and get help from my calculus teacher," Brauer said. "I'd be at her doorstep at 7:20 some mornings to work on problems."