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Triple threat: Stecker has transformed into a monster fullback for Cougars

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Heart River senior Jordan Strecker has been a force on both sides of the ball this season, particularly at fullback.

Heart River's rushing attack is no mystery.

While Jordan Strecker might not score every point, he has hand in every play.

The No. 5-ranked Cougars' transformation has brought them to the quarterfinals of the Class 1A football playoffs against No. 3-ranked Stanley-Powers Lake at 1 p.m. today.

However, personal gain isn't something team and 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior fullback is looking for when he takes the field.

"We're definitely like a family," Strecker said. "We're really close together. We'll bicker, but we resolve it right away. All of us know what to do and we don't need to hold glory for ourselves."

Though the Cougars have turned into contender this season, it wouldn't have happened without Strecker opening up holes for running backs Seth Ewoniuk and Cole Hecker.

"If I can see, I can block it, so they can get to the outside and get more yards, I'll tell them what to do," Strecker said. "They can do because they're fast enough. The better I do creates it better for them."

Hecker is eight inches shorter than Strecker and feels relaxed following his lead blocker.

"He does a great job getting in front of us and blocking for us," Hecker said. "He's a great lead blocker and you feel comfortable (behind) him, knowing you're not going to get hit."

Strecker is playing his third offensive position in three years. He started out as a tackle, was a tight end last year and now starts fullback. Playing those three positions has created a triple threat on offense.

"We usually go to the Dickinson camp and that's where I find out what I'm doing that year," Strecker said. "Wherever they put me, that's where I'm needed most.

"You just have to adapt."

And adapt he did.

Running the ball was a new concept for Strecker and he started the season rushing straight up and down. He's learned to lower his shoulder, which has allowed him to racked up 683 yards on 80 carries and five touchdowns.

"Every game, he gets better running the football," Hendrickson said. "He's not a natural running back, he's a tight end."

Those tight end abilities come in handy too. He's the usually the biggest target for the Cougars, especially when 6-foot-4 wide receiver Isaiah Marschner isn't on the field. Strecker has 228 yards and two touchdowns on 13 catches.

"There are a lot of good assets that he has," Hendrickson said. "He's an excellent target coming out of the backfield. He's got good speed for a guy that's 6-2, 215 pounds."

With a fullback of Strecker's size, his speed might catch teams off guard.

There's a reason why he's on the Heart River's state-placing relay teams last spring. He showed off football speed with a 55-yard touchdown run against in the first round playoff Lewis & Clark-Our Redeemer's.

"When I'm running, it doesn't just seem like you are just running," Strecker said. "It seems like I know what to do and I can take situations better."

That speed also shows up on the defensive side. Strecker leads the Cougars with three sacks. Hendrickson doesn't know which side of ball is a better showcase for Strecker.

"If you asked me if he's better at defensive end or fullback," Hendrickson said, "boy that's a toss up, because he does both really well."

Oh and he's also tough. During the final game of the regular season against New Salem-Almont-Glen Ullin, Strecker needed 26 stitches to seal a pair two-inch cuts that were shaped like a 'V' on his forearm.

"I tried to put a pad on it and tried get him to wrap it, but he's not really concerned about it," Hendrickson said. "He's a very tough kid."

Finally, Strecker brings a natural leadership role to the Cougars.

"Just size-wise demands people to look up to him," Hendrickson said. "He's a very strong kid. He lifts during the season. Most kids don't lift during the football season. He sets an example both on and off the field."