Is there a game plan to stop Churubusco fullback Kyle Mathewson?
If there is, no one has figured it out yet.
Not even his own coach wants to know how an opponent goes about stopping the Eagles career leading rusher.
“I have no idea,” Churubusco head coach Lee Etzler said of how to stop Mathewson. “I would not want to have to figure that out.”
For two full seasons, the senior back has struck fear into the hearts of North East Corner Conference foes as the latest version of Turtletown’s ‘Beast of ’Busco.’
Each of those two seasons have seen 1,800 plus rushing yards from Mathewson and now put him among the best at his position in the state and the Churubusco record books.
After Friday night’s 226-yard rushing performance, Mathewson ranked fifth among total yards in the state.
Along with that, Mathewson has been rewriting history in the ’Busco football program breaking records set as far back as 1983.
His game against the Flying Jets in the first round of sectional play became historic. Mathewson moved to the top of the career rushing list passing Virgil Fulk with 3,934 yards and 49 career touchdowns.
Single season records fell as well for Mathewson. With a final three-yard TD plunge in the game, the rushing total for one season had Mathewson’s name beside it edging Drew Bianksi by one yard at 1,876.
“When I was in middle school I remember watching Drew Bianski set those records,” Mathewson said after his record setting game Friday night. “I always wanted to prove everybody wrong. I wanted to break those records and I did it tonight.”
Mathewson continues to defy the odds of what a class A small school running back can do.
“You have a level of confidence when you face a good team because you know what you can do with him at the fullback position,” Etzler said. “He’s big and stronger than your average small school running back.”
It’s been 20 consecutive games since Mathewson has not seen a 100-yard rushing performance. Yards add up quickly for Mathewson for one reason. It’s speed that fuels No. 24. A sprinter on the track and field team at Churubusco, Mathewson breaks out big games constantly like his record 93-yard TD run last season or his 79-yard scamper against Adams Central. It makes the task for tacklers tougher having a limited time to bring him down before he’s off to the end zone.
“His first couple steps are as fast as anyone around,” Etzler noted. “We noticed his junior year he was one of our fastest kids. On one of our favorite plays, our QBs were having trouble getting him the ball because he hits the hole a whole lot quicker.”
Don’t be fooled, however.
The power is there too according to Etzler.
“He’s taken other steps forward,” Etzler said. “He started running harder and lowered his shoulder more. He uses a stiff arm now that he’s thrown kids down with. There’s not to many people that want to step in front of him.”
Mathewson individual success has come with team achievements as well. As a freshman, Mathewson was a small part of the 2007 semistate team at Churubusco.
However, Mathewson’s impact has been felt in the regular season with the Eagles starting each of his four seasons off with a 7-0 record.
When Mathewson has the work load, Churubusco has been atop the NECC conference as well winning a share of the championship back-to-back seasons.
The postseason upon them, the Eagles and Kyle Mathewson are wanting more as Churubusco’s all-time leading rusher sees his career coming to a close.
“All year we’ve been thinking about revenge and sectional,” Mathewson said Friday night. “They were saying ACAC teams can’t be beat by NECC teams. Obviously, we proved that we can.”