The Beach Bucs made a run to the quarterfinals of the playoffs last season, but this year they want more.
Leading them is senior running back Tyson Mattern, and he is hungry to go out on a high note.
Mattern has always wanted to be a Buc since he began playing in fourth grade, and this is his time to shine.
The senior looks for contact as he often lowers his shoulder and takes on a beating at times.
“I love the contact. I love hitting people. It is fun to get in the pads and knock around heads….,” he said. “When I am carrying the ball, I like to fight for extra yards.”
Through three games, Mattern has run for 659 yards including 294 yards on 35 carries and three touchdowns in a 30-26 win vs Grand County/Flasher.
Beach head coach Mike Zier credits Mattern’s growth and the offensive line’s jump as one reason that the Buccaneers and Mattern are having a big 2020 season.
“Well two things, one, the offensive line got bigger, stronger and faster in the offseason. The second thing is so did Tyson,” Zier said. “That is a match made in heaven. The offensive line includes the tight ends in Trin Schumacher and Trey Swanson. Kyle Sarsland, Blake Van Horn and Ethan Helsper all have done a good job of blocking, and then Tyson just finishes runs.”
Mattern has scored eight touchdowns through three games, and he has run for at least 176 yards in each game. He did that on only 12 carries vs South Border last week.
He did say that Beach focuses on one game at a time, and this Friday’s game has a chance to be the biggest contest of the year.
The Bucs travel to defending state champion and undefeated Kidder County, and the hope is that they can pull out a victory to improve them to 4-0.
“It is a huge game,” Mattern said. “We need to practice hard this week and focus. If we win, then it will mean a lot, because we are looking for that region championship this fall.”
Zier added, “for us, we want to play good against good competition and they are undefeated and the defending state champions. They are ranked No. 1 in the state and that is a tough task on the road. I think they will be one of the four playoff teams from our region, and we’d like to think that they are one of those four too even though nothing is for sure yet. For us, we have to get after and play with a little more intensity. We need to play disciplined on defense too.”
With the season being so unusual, Mattern knows that he needs to not take any game for granted this season.
He just hopes that his team is given the chance to prove themselves every week.
“I am more focused on making it through the season with COVID-19,” he said. “We take it day-by-day, because I guess if a case shows up in our school then we will have to shut down. It is scary, but I hope we make it through the season.”
As for Zier, he acknowledges the same thing, just hoping that the Bucs continue to play the way they have and that they get to suit up every week.
If all goes well, the one goal is to send Mattern and fellow seniors out with a very deep run into the playoffs.
“We have to stay healthy and get better. We are in a tough region. Iron sharpens iron,” Zier said. “There are no easy outs in our region and we are in the meat of our schedule now. I don’t have a snappy answer for that, but every week we have to come to work, keep working and avoid the COVID bullet.”