SIOUX CITY – When Matt Strecker went with the Morningside University football team a few years ago, he was just a movie man.
His role will be much more important on Saturday.
Strecker stepped up his playoff efforts after running backs Anthony Sims and Ryan Cole got injured.
He will likely be asked to step up the national championship game once again, which kicks off at 5 p.m. on Saturday against Grand View in Durham, NC.
“I’ve been ready since I’ve been here,” Strecker said. “I had to make sure to take my time and be prepared for a moment like this. It’s really exciting. I was a filmer and then a utility for my first two national championships so it was a good time. This one has a different feel. I am blessed to be in this position.
Strecker said that in the first year he had nothing to do.
When Strecker filmed the 2018 Championship game, he wondered what it would be like to play in a Championship game. He saw Arnijae Ponder do this thing, and it motivated Strecker to work so hard so he could one day have his chance.
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In his sophomore year, Strecker found himself on the sidelines, but he did not step into the game when Morningside won the 2019 national championship.
From those two trips, Strecker learned that this week is not a vacation. The Mustangs are here to beat Grand View.
“There is a higher goal than tourism,” Strecker said. “It’s time to lock in when it does.”
Mustangs coach Steve Ryan has said Anthony Sims is expected to play on Saturday since he’s in good health, but that doesn’t mean Strecker won’t have a role in Saturday’s game.
“We plan to have Anthony play,” Ryan said on Wednesday. “We just stopped him in the Northwestern game, but at this point it didn’t feel like (Sims) was running like Matt. We went with Matt and gave him this chance to improve.
Even though Sims is back with the rotation, Ryan said on Wednesday that Strecker will receive litters. He trained with the team on Tuesday after arriving in North Carolina.
“We’re happy with Matt’s appearance in practice,” said Ryan. “They are both seniors. It’s all for both. They are going to put it all aside.
However, Strecker has won a few races in the last two playoff games in the Sims’ absence.
The Columbus, Nebraska eldest carried the ball 16 times in the Dec. 4 semifinal victory over Northwestern. Strecker had 65 yards and had two rushing touchdowns against the Red Raiders.
In the quarterfinal game against Kansas Wesleyan, Strecker had 67 yards on 20 touches and found the end zone once.
“You don’t always have the option of waiting,” Strecker said. “Everything can change in an instant. Then comes that point where your four-deep is thrown in there and it has to play. It is like that in all sports. It’s just like that, and you have to make sure you’re ready.