Posted On: 01/15/20 2:18 AM
Anders Lee, Mike & Nick Rallis, Marley Allison, Diondre Green, Deon Dorvil, Evan Holm, Brock Boltmann, Matt Cavanaugh, Quinn Carroll, and now...Jonathan Bunce. The green and white of the Edina Hornets football team have long contained some of the best players the state has to offer, and many have gone on to find more accolades and awards at the collegiate level as well. Something that has stood out to me about the Hornet greats of the past is their versatility and toughness as players. Every former baller on that above list played multiple positions for the Hornet football team and helped the team in any way that was asked or needed of them. It's one of the reasons why Edina is consistently one of the best teams in the Metro, and often why their great players are so successful. Jonathan Bunce (6'3, 230 lbs.) is a perfect example of this selflessness, and is no doubt next in line as the latest Hornet stud. The 6'3, 230 lb. bruiser of a RB & LB is coming off his senior year football season that netted him Second Team All-Metro honors, Second Team MFCA All-State, Second Team AP All-State, and All-District honors. I was lucky enough to watch Bunce and
Anders Lee, Mike & Nick Rallis, Marley Allison, Diondre Green, Deon Dorvil, Evan Holm, Brock Boltmann, Matt Cavanaugh, Quinn Carroll, and now...Jonathan Bunce. The green and white of the Edina Hornets football team have long contained some of the best players the state has to offer, and many have gone on to find more accolades and awards at the collegiate level as well. Something that has stood out to me about the Hornet greats of the past is their versatility and toughness as players. Every former baller on that above list played multiple positions for the Hornet football team and helped the team in any way that was asked or needed of them. It's one of the reasons why Edina is consistently one of the best teams in the Metro, and often why their great players are so successful. Jonathan Bunce (6'3, 230 lbs.) is a perfect example of this selflessness, and is no doubt next in line as the latest Hornet stud. The 6'3, 230 lb. bruiser of a RB & LB is coming off his senior year football season that netted him Second Team All-Metro honors, Second Team MFCA All-State, Second Team AP All-State, and All-District honors. I was lucky enough to watch Bunce and the Hornets take on rival Eden Prairie this past October, and big #44 took over the game single-handily, stifling the Eagle running game and dominating in his own aggressive rushing attack that EP could find no answer for. Edina won 21-14, their first victory against EP since the 2012 season, and it was all basically because of a one-man Bunce job. He's an aggressive North & South type RB who has great feet and quickness for a man his size, and was no doubt my favorite RB I watched this past season. He's a Mack truck that posted 108 rushes for 521 yards (4.8 per rush), and 8 TDs on the season. Unfortunately, Edina didn't have any defensive stats available for 2019, but I can safely assume Bunce was nearing 100 tackles and 10 sacks on the year. Also an incredible student holding a 4.0 GPA and a near perfect 34 on the ACT, Bunce was one of the most well-spoken kids I've gotten to interview so far and I can guarantee he would make a perfect teammate on and off the field for a collegiate program. I hope you enjoy the interview and appreciate the insight the senior gave into his career as a Hornet, the 2019 season, and his hopes for the recruitment process!
NFN: Hello and thank you so much for your time, Jonathan! Let's start the interview with some information about yourself. Where were you born? When did you start playing football? And what are some fun facts about yourself?
Bunce: I was born in Boulder, Colorado, but I moved to Minnesota when I was seven years old. I grew up in Linden Hills near Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun, but now I live in Edina. - I started playing tackle football when I was in second grade in a Richfield youth league. I decided to play in Richfield because Edina didn’t have tackle football until 4th grade and I forced my dad to sign me up - Some fun facts are I love to play ping pong, pick up basketball, video games, golf, and basically anything that involves competition. I am also very involved in my youth group at River Valley church on Wednesdays and Sundays. - The thing I love about football the most is the culture and being around teammates. The games are always going to be a blast, but grinding in the offseason and in practices with your brothers is what makes the whole experience great. I also love the physical side of football, being able to go out and hit guys every play is a lot of fun. - 6’3” and 233lbs - 4.81 40 yard dash - Last year I had 100 tackles."
NFN: Awesome, Jonathan! Now let's discuss the 2018 season. How was the season overall for you and what were some highlights and lowlights?
Bunce: "The 2018 season was a blast for me. The previous year I had played a bit as a sophomore on defense and was on the special teams, but my junior year I started at Middle Linebacker which was extremely exciting. Playing with guys like Matt Cavanagh and Quinn Carroll was incredible and fueled my passion for football. The whole year leading up to the season everyone at school was saying how bad we were gonna be and a ton of negative stuff, but we came out and had a great season finishing 7-3, coming up short to STMA after they came back from a 28-0 deficit with 6 minutes left. That was definitely the lowlight of the season because we wanted a crack at Lakeville North and were starting to figure out things on offense, but before you could blink they recovered 3 onside kicks and beat us. It was heartbreaking. My high point of the season was probably our homecoming game against Eastview. I had a big game with a forced fumble and a lot of tackles, but the best part was how well the whole defense played. We let up maybe one first down the entire game and won 17-0."
NFN: That's a heckuva game. So what were expectations coming into 2019 for yourself as well as the team? What kind of work did you put in going into the season, and what was a cool moment from the season?
Bunce: "My expectations were extremely high coming into the season. That's partly who I am. I expect the best effort of myself and everyone around me at all times because that is the only way to become a champion at the end of the season. We had only two returners on the defense this year, myself and Will Davis, which opened up a lot of offseason competition for the 9 remaining spots. Will and I took it upon ourselves to lead a defense of a lot of younger kids which no doubt had its challenges, but at the same time was incredibly fun and a great leadership opportunity for the both of us. Offensively I was preparing to take on a bigger role carrying the ball and playing both ways. During the offseason I was lifting 4-5 times a week and doing power and speed drills to prepare myself for the next season. The winter of my junior year was the first season I hadn’t played basketball in my life which I decided to do in order to focus on working out for football and baseball.
Bunce (44) after a tackle.
Edina has a great football culture. The parents and families in the program are unbelievably supportive and caring for all of the players which helps us perform on and off the field. My favorite thing about playing football at Edina, specifically, is the great coaching staff. Along with Coach Lamker, all of the assistant coaches are very knowledgeable and have made me better in every area of my game. The coaches don’t just stick to football either. They care about our lives and what we do away from the game which is really special. The game that meant the most to me was far and away the Eden Prairie game. At the time, we were 1-4 and had lost two straight games to top ranked team in the final seconds when were leading. We knew what kind of team we were and the ability we had but it wasn’t showing up in our record, yet. Myself and the other captains were working all week to keep energy high and motivate everybody. Once the game came, everybody was raring to go and I think we showed it on the field. We had over 400 yards of total offense, shut them out in the second half, and beat them for only the second time in the past 30 years. The environment and locker room after the game was electric and that night is definitely one I will never forget."
NFN: That's great to hear. So in terms of the success you found in 2019 with the All-Metro and All-State awards, what contributed significantly to you having such an impressive season on both sides of the ball? What do you think you did well this year?
Bunce: "In terms of my All-Metro selection and nomination for the All-Star game, I want to give all glory to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The gifts and talents he has given me is what allowed me to play at a high level and this past season. I am incredibly honored to be selected for those awards and I could write a 5 paragraph essay on all the people that made it possible. To be completely honest, I expected this from myself. I wouldn’t be an athlete if I didn’t have real confidence in my abilities. I hadn’t run the ball since 9th grade, but I always had a good sense for finding holes and running people over. It took a couple games early in the season to back into the run of things, but once the STMA game hit and our O-line their groove, we never looked back. All the credit goes to the big guys up front as well. Some of them are my closest friends and I couldn’t have done anything this year running the ball without them grinding in the trenches. On defense, I’ve always had a knack for taking down the ball carrier. I love playing in the middle and being able to flow with the ball and run through people. Overall, I think the key to my success on the field is playing smart. At the end of the day, football is all about finding the right angles, being in the right spots, and anticipation. I believe I do these things really well which helps me have success on both sides of the ball."
NFN: Well said. Walk us through the '19 season in your own words and give some detail into the regular season games!
Bunce: "Our schedule this year consisted of playing Centennial, Wayzata, Maple Grove, Prior Lake, STMA, EP, Minnetonka, Shakopee, Eastview in the first round of playoffs and Centennial again in the second round. We started off the season strong with a win against Centennial, but after that we struggled to find our stride. We lost by two points to both Wayzata and Maple Grove which wounded team morale. Even with the losses, we stuck together as a team and played two great games against Prior Lake and STMA, but came up short as I mentioned earlier. Once we won the EP game, we took off from there winning our next three and giving ourselves a great shot to make it to state. The playoff game against Centennial was bringing back old memories from sophomore year. We played on the same field, were the same seeds respectively, and played in the same round. The game started off a little rough going down 14-0 early in the first quarter, but their best receiver got injured on the touchdown play which hurt their offense a lot. We controlled the game from there on out. We tied up the game 14-14 after the opening kickoff of the second half, but struggled to get a clean drive together after that, despite moving the ball really well. Penalties, fumbled snaps, and various mistakes were stopping us from putting the ball in the endzone. We had the ball with 2 minutes to go and drove down to the 20 yard line with about 15 seconds left. We had one timeout, I believe, and we were gonna run one play and then kick a field goal. Our quarterback underthrew a fade pattern to the endzone and it got picked off which sent the game into overtime. They started with the ball and scored on one of their veer option read plays. We got the ball back and I scored on a 4th down play. We decided to go for 2 and decide the game on that play. We ran our favorite play, 26 power, but they stacked the box and we didn’t get enough push to slam the ball in there and I came up one yard short. I layed on the one yardline and realized my high school career was over which was really emotional and heartbreaking. That game is definitely one we should have won, but silly mistakes cost us that game which is a part of football."
NFN: You guys have a lot to be proud of for this year. Last but not least, what's new with recruiting and what are you looking for in a potential college program?
Bunce: "The first thing that is important to me when looking at a school is my education. I want to go to a school that challenges me academically as much as on the football field, if not more so. This narrows the list of schools I am interested in which can make it more difficult to find the right fit. I am definitely considering D3 schools, especially St. Thomas and St. Johns because I know they are good schools with tremendous football programs. In general, the recruiting scene hasn’t been easy to this point, but I’m hopeful that opportunities will continue to open up. I’ve been talking to St. Thomas and will probably take an official visit soon. I also have been in contact with Columbia. I went to a Harvard camp this past summer and that was the only camp I did. I have a 34 ACT and 4.19 weighted GPA. Overall, I just want to find the program and school that fits me best. I don’t know if that means walking on to a Big 10 school, playing in the Ivy league, or playing locally in the MIAC. I have a lot of experience playing multiple positions and am ready to be extremely flexible in college. I will play any position to fill a role and help the team. I can block well, catch the ball, and even long snap a little bit. I am extremely excited to play college football and just want to find the right place for me!"
Stay tuned for any news from the Hornet halfback as he nears decision time for a college! All the best, Jonathan.