In this week’s program profile, I went close to home to talk with Head Coach, Jason Telecky of the Monticello Magic to see what his squad has on their plate to start the 2019 season. I think you will enjoy what you here coming out of Monticello this season as they come off a 5-5 record last year and will be a strong threat in 5A again this year.
The Monticello Offense
The Magic’s strength is on their offense line. They return Alex Tack, who at 6’5, 295 has great size as a 2.5 year starter for the Magic at left tackle. Coming off a broken knee last year, he has shown this off-season great development in recovering from that knee injury and has got looks from various D2 and FCS programs. From what I saw on film, Tack has a great knack for pancaking defenders on the ground quickly. At center, the Magic return 2 year starter, Avery Fluekiger who has moved around in between guard and center, but according to Coach Telecky will see most of his time at center this year. Very quick feet from what I have seen on film, and if he can stay healthy that could be a “big impact” on the season according to Coach Telecky. Fluekiger is one that plays both sides, and is a strong defensive tackle as well. The Magic receiving core is led by Thomas Van Culin, who last year broke the Magic school record for receiving yards and caught for 824 yards and 22.9 yard per catch. His 4.6 40 yard dash, shows well on film based on the highlights I’ve seen from last season. Van Culin’s ability to accelerate is what impressed me especially in the game against Elk River last year. Van Culin has interest from various D2 and D3 programs, with the goal in mind to “play sooner” and a program that has his college major in mind. At running back, Sam Valor will be the guy carrying the ball for the Magic. This off-season, Valor has really worked on his speed, strength and hands which should allow him to be a play maker this Fall. His 4.5 40 yard dash, shows that he one of the fastest guys on the team and FCS programs like South Dakota State have taken notice, as Valor attended their team camp and played exceptional well in front of the Jackrabbits coaching staff. My last player to take note of on this offense is Calvin Schmitz, who Coach Telecky considers the “tough yards” back for the Magic. Standing at 5’5 but a stout 195 pounds, Schmitz is the guy you give the ball to inside your 5 yard line to get a guaranteed score. As a sophomore, Schmitz was the 2nd leading tackler on defense as well, so expect him to be another strong two way player for the Magic this season. Schmitz is getting most of his college interest on the baseball field, where he plays catcher for Monticello Baseball.
The Monticello Defense
Starting up the Magic defense is Jacob Suter, who Coach Telecky told me is the “best DE he’s ever coached”. A 2 year starter, Suter can control 2 gaps defensively with ease and will still rush the passer. Suter is a defensive end who you can place anywhere on front line and he will make you pay regardless where he lines up. Suter is being touted by mostly D2 and D3 programs. He excelled at the team camp at Minnesota-Duluth and was asked to come back to the individual camp, that’s a sign that there is definitely interest coming from the Bulldogs. Moving over to the secondary, we have Riley Banyai at corner. Banyai, had some slight struggles last year in getting locked up to one man and leaving his zone, but he has figured it out over this summer and is learning from last year. Banyai also runs a 4.8 40 yard dash, which has helped gather interest from D3 programs around the area. Staying in the secondary, we have combo safety/cornerback, Jared Pearson who is extremely dependable when it comes to calling defenses and understanding the game as a whole. Pearson also excels as an open field tackler. Jared is also a very good Lacrosse player, and will be playing at William Penn (Iowa) for Lacrosse. We already had the opportunity to touch on Sam Valor offensively, but Valor is also an excellent free safety/cornerback for the Magic. He is very good at closing on the ball and high pointing when the ball is under thrown. If Coach Telecky had a guess he said that Sam would be an excellent CB when he gets a chance at the college level.
Telecky’s Coaching Mentors
This is one of my favorite questions to ask as everyone has a coach or coaches that really spoke to them. Those coaches for Coach Telecky were Dave Dose his high school coach at Glencoe-Silver Lake who instilled him the work ethic and hard-nosed attitude to build a competitive team. One of his two Monticello mentors, was Dick Bakke who was a long time head coach for Monticello dating back to when they were the Redmen. Bakke’s words to Coach Telecky were about pride and tradition and how the community of Monticello will rally around a strong football program. His last Monticello coaching mentor is now a rival offensive coordinator at Rogers, Mick Goudy who used was the Head Coach at Monticello from 1982-1989 and an assistant since 1995. Goudy taught Telecky techniques (as they were assistants together), in how to prep for Friday night and utilizing your team’s strength to your opponents weaknesses and playing that card in real-time during games. The biggest thing Telecky appreciates about Goudy, was his ability to take a young coach like himself, at a high school he used to be the head coach at, and although he runs in the same conference as an offensive coordinator to this day at Rogers, still had the great class to put conference competition aside and help out the Magic program and help out Telecky as a newer head coach.
The Goal Oriented Magic
Telecky used two words to describe goals for the Magic “attainable and measurable” which is a simple way to put it in prospective. “We want to learn from our mistakes” Telecky said. Coaches and players will make mistakes but it’s up to them to learn from them. Monticello plays in one of the toughest districts in the state, and 75% of their games this season will be against schools that are 300-600 students larger in enrollment compared to Monticello which has roughly 1100 students. Looking at the numbers, the Magic’s schedule also includes about 38% of the teams played in the state tournament last season, and half of them played in a section championship last year. “Continuously being able to improve puts us in position to compete for a section championship” Telecky said. If Magic Football can get past the section championship, they will put themselves to get to state for the first time in 31 years dating back to 1988.
Playing Both Ways. Seeing Strengths/Weaknesses
Telecky stated they will have at least 6 players/about 55% that will play on both sides of the ball. The biggest strength of Monticello is they have very talented group of players on both sides of the ball to get it done. The weakness is, the depth the Magic will have. In practice the Magic will focus on “tempo and conditioning and lessening the amount of contact” This technique should increase strength from each player and prevent injuries going forward.
The State of the Monticello Magic
Kyle Downs (North Dakota), Alex Otto (St. Johns) and DJ Ward (Northwestern-St. Paul) are all Magic alumni that come back to the program to help teach the young guys for the Magic. “An Open Door Policy” is given to former players of the Magic to come back and help out at practices, workouts in the summer. Telecky also stated many alumni come back to Magic games on their Bye Weeks or if they are no longer playing football. “The true sign of the health of your program is the number of guys who want to come back and continue to be a part of it” said Telecky, which he couldn’t be more correct with that statement.
Best of luck to the Monticello Magic this season! You can follow the season of Monticello Magic Football on Twitter at @Monti_Football or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Monticello-Football-275504765822439/