Blue Earth Area senior Carter Hanson usually doesn't miss a play for the Bucs' football team on Friday nights.
The running back and linebacker also plays on special teams, often never leaving the field for the undefeated (3-0) and Class 3A No. 2-ranked Bucs.
Hanson saw his first varsity football action during his freshman year, and on a typical week played football three nights - suiting up for the Blue Earth Area C-squad, junior varsity and varsity teams.
POWERING FORWARD — Blue Earth Area running back Carter Hanson powers forward to pick up additional yardage against Windom Area last Friday night at Wilson Field in Blue Earth. Hanson has helped guide the Bucs to a 3-0 start and the No. 2 spot in the Class 3A state rankings. Photo by Leanna Becker
"I started out my freshman year playing C-squad, and then they wanted me to play JV. By the end of the season, I was playing varsity, too. It was probably a good thing I was playing in all three games, I was so busy I didn't really ever have time to be nervous," said Hanson.
Hanson has since secured his place among the top Blue Earth Area athletes. In the past two seasons, Hanson has been named to both the all-South Central Conference and Sentinel All-Area football teams, with his junior season producing an all-state honorable mention selection.
The running back/linebacker also helped the Bucs to their fourth state tournament appearence - first since 2006 - last fall with a 28-0 victory over Luverne in the Section 3AA championship game.
"Winning the game against Luverne in the section finals 28-0 was great. I had one of my best games, but as a team everything was clicking on all cylinders," said Hanson.
As one of the Bucs' senior captains, Hanson has even more weight on his shoulders this season.
"I try to stay pretty consistent when I play. I try to keep the younger players motivated and give it all I've got every game," said Hanson. "Fullback and linebacker are both really physical positions, but I really like that physical part of the game."
Even as a freshman on the football field, Hanson was no stranger to hard work and varsity competition. In fact, he has been a varsity athlete since he was a seventh grader on the Buc wrestling team.
Hanson has qualified for the state tournament in wrestling since his freshman year at the 152- and 160-pound weight classes and has accumulated more than 125 individual wins.
"I started wrestling in preschool and started baseball, football and basketball as soon as I was old enough," said Hanson. "I played both basketball and I wrestled until I had to make a choice. I'm glad I chose to wrestle. It's worked out well for me."
In the spring, Hanson will take his place behind the plate for the Bucs' baseball team. The perennial all-SCC and All-Area catcher has been a mainstay at the catcher's position since his freshman year.
But for now, Hanson can be seen wearing his No. 3 football jersey on Friday nights and hoping to give Blue Earth Area its fifth state tournament appearance.
"I think everyone who plays any sport sets their goals high to win the conference and section and get to state. If you don't have big goals, then I don't know why you'd play," said Hanson.