Unsung heroes: Casa Grande’s Mat Floerke

Editor’s note: The Press Democrat will spotlight a player from each Empire football team selected for the North Coast Section playoffs. Not every player is a star, but the contributions of each of these players are crucial to their teams’ success. Each was nominated by his coach.

Mat Floerke

CASA GRANDE
Mat Floerke
Senior, lineman
Notable: Floerke wasn’t on top of the depth chart before the season, but through conditioning and working hard at practice, he cracked the starting lineup. Earlier this week, he was selected to the all-Sonoma County League team. Coach Trent Herzog calls the 180-pound Foerke a determined player who pushes his teammates to give their best every day. He led the SCL champs with eight sacks.

A CONVERSATION WITH MAT FLOERKE

PD: What can you tell us about your defense last weekend, how did you post a shutout?
Floerke: Everyone just did their jobs. That is how our defense works. If someone doesn’t do their job right, it all falls apart. We rely on everyone to do their part. If someone doesn’t do the right thing, then it screws up everything that we are trying to do.
PD: How are you guys going to beat Northgate on Saturday?
Floerke: By doing the same thing that we have been doing all season, just come out and play smashmouth football, with everyone doing their job on offense and defense.
PD: Your coach said that during spring ball you were the third defensive end. Did you think you were better than that?
Floerke: I knew that it was only going to get harder from there, and that I was going to have to work as hard as I could. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy season and it wasn’t going to be an easy start. I knew that I needed to buckle up and I knew that I was in for a great season. I set goals for myself, and here I am.
PD: What motivated you to keep working hard at practice to become one of the best in Sonoma County?
Floerke: It was my last season and I knew that it was probably the last time that I would ever play football again, so why not give it my all?
PD: When you started to get some more playing time, how ready were you?
Floerke: The first game was definitely different. Even though I had played in many games before, it was different, but I knew that there was no one else bigger than me that I could rely on. If I messed up it was all on me and everyone else was looking up to me and counting on me, so I just tried to set an example for the underclassmen.
PD: What has made you a first-team all-league defensive end?
Floerke: I have really good players backing me up, I have really good coaching, everything about Casa Grande ... there are people that I can really trust and I have no doubt that anything they say is going to be wrong, because I have become family with them. I believe in everything that they say, and I feel that everyone on the team has my back.
PD: Your coach said that you were one of the big motivators for this team. How have you been able to push your teammates to be better?
Floerke: Just at practice — if you go easy in practice, stuff isn’t going to get done. You have to give it your all during practice, and then you will get good looks. You can’t take any plays off and you have to get motivated before games.
PD: How long have you been playing football, and what made you start?
Floerke: I started freshman year. I quit baseball because I decided that I needed a new sport to pick up, and my dad and my grandpa both played football. My grandfather actually could have played for the Browns, but he had to take care of my grandma. My dad was a pretty good football player, and I just decided that I needed to carry on the legacy.
PD: What will be the biggest memory you will take from the 2010 season?
Floerke: All the fun that we have been having. Every game is different, but every game just has something about it that you have to love, even if it’s not even me that makes the play. There is just something that makes it amazing and something that I will always remember.
— Jonathan Pierce