When the season started, Park of Cottage Grove’s Matt Boche was playing special teams and was playing on the junior varsity. By the end of the year, he was starting in the playoffs and is getting college football interest.
With a new coaching staff, the 2019 season could have been considered a rebuilding year for the Wolfpack. Their record did not reflect a rebuild.
“We started with a win and were expecting big things,” Boche said. “We ended up 4-4, but it was a good season. Overall, it was a good season. We started to build with the new coaching staff.”
The coaching staff brought new schemes, but Park won with good old-fashioned toughness.
“We played physical and ran the ball,” Boche explained. “We won our games in the trenches. Our secondary was great, but the way our defense is set up is for our front seven to play a prominent role.”
Late in 2019, Boche’s season took an unexpected turn.
“The season went well for me. I definitely got better. I went from not playing much as a sophomore to being a starter in the last two games of the year this year. It was pretty crazy for me – to go from someone who was so-so to being someone who can be a varsity starter was great.”
The new coaching staff moved Boche’s position.
“In our old scheme I played outside linebacker, but this year I switched to inside linebacker. The transition was good for me. I think inside linebacker fits my skills better. My pass coverage isn’t bad, but it is something I need to work on continually, so being in the middle and being more of a run type player, I think, is a better fit for my game.”
“I need to work on my pass coverage,” Boche continued, “but my speed is something I am grateful for. I am able to keep up with running backs.”
Moving inside was a good move for the junior, but with any change, there were bumps in the road.
“The hardest part of the switch was the change in my reads and getting used to that.”
The inside linebacker in Park’s new scheme does not play in the traditional position.
“The inside linebacker lines up deep so we don’t get caught up,” Boche explained. “We play a lot of man coverage, so it makes our reads easier, and we don’t get caught up with everyone up front.”
Knowing pass coverage is his weakness has focused his off-season training.
“I am working on my footwork,” the 6’0″ 165-pound junior said. “I am also working on my aggressiveness and the little things like not taking false steps.”
Boche would have been competing this spring.
“I was in the weight room in the winter, getting ready for track season and football season. I run the 110 and 300 hurdles. We do a lot of deadlift, squats, and bench press. We focus on explosive lifts.”
Like everyone, Boche has been doing his workouts primarily at home.
“Our coaches sent us some workouts to do at home – I have been doing that. It is all bodyweight-only workouts because not everyone has weights at home. I have also been doing some agility stuff we were doing in the winter.”
Boche is not just an athlete – he is a musician.
“I play the guitar, drums, and bass guitar,” the Wolfpack junior said. “My dad plays guitar, and I wanted to be like my dad, so I started playing guitar when I was eight. I picked up drums when I got into the school band, and then I picked up the bass because I play in our church, and they needed a bass player, so I learned the bass to help them. I like to play a lot of ’90s and early 2000’s rock – some of the grunge stuff.”
Back on the football field, despite his small varsity sample size, Boche has caught the attention of recruiters.
“Recruiting has been going good. It has mostly been Division III schools,” Boche said. “I have had some Zoom calls with coaches and have done a few virtual junior days. St. Olaf and Eu Claire have been contacting me.”
“I think they like my speed,” Boche continued. “That is something I take pride in – being a track athlete. I think they like that I play smart and I don’t get out of position.”
With his late-season opportunity, Boche has put himself in a position to make a season-long impact as a senior and continue his career playing college football.