When Husson University football coach Gabby Price talks about his starting left tackle, Matt Archer, he says things you normally don’t hear a coach say about a player.

“He needs to relax and enjoy himself,” Price said of Archer. “He’s a very serious kid.”

When told what Price said, the 6-foot, 310-pound Archer laughed.

“I do get pretty wound up during games,” Archer, a Chesterville native and graduate of Mt. Blue High School, said.

However intense Archer gets on game day, it’s working. With Archer protecting quarterback Joe Seccareccia’s blindside and a strong defense, the Eagles are 4-0 in Eastern Collegiate Football Conference play, 5-1 overall, and on pace for their best season since football returned to Husson in 2003. The Eagles continue their quest for the conference title and the automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs that comes with it when they host Anna Maria (0-7, 0-4) at 12:30 p.m., Saturday.

“Obviously, we knew we had a lot of returning players on the offensive line,” Archer said. “We set the bar pretty high.”

With Archer leading the offensive line, the Eagles lead the ECFC in offense, 356.7 yards per game, and rushing, 204.8 yards per game. In Saturday’s 47-26 win at Castleton, Husson put up 521 yards of total offense, 348 on the ground.

“I love run blocking,” Archer said. “If anyone is going to try to get through me, they have to go around me… All I try to do is focus on doing the little things.”

So far this season, that’s been easier said than done. The key to Archer’s play, Price said, is his leg strength.

“Matt’s just been terrific. He’s as steady as any player we have here,” Price said. “I don’t know if anybody’s beat him this year. He’s just played so confidently.”

To Archer, his most memorable play of the season thus far didn’t even count. It was a block against Norwich, and Archer drove the defender off the ball before sending him to the ground. Archer thought it was a textbook pancake block. The officials thought it was holding.

“They called me for holding, and it wasn’t holding at all,” Archer said. “I drove him 4 yards off the line.”

Archer has played every position on the offensive line for Husson except tight end. At left tackle under Price, who returned to Husson last season after his first stint as head coach ended after the 2008 season.

“The coaches are like my coaches back in Farmington (at Mt. Blue). Those guys were old school football guys,” Archer said. “Coach Price is like that. He makes you want to play hard.”

Archer sat out his sophomore season recovering from shoulder surgery. While Archer is a senior academically, the criminal justice major has one more season of eligibility, and he plans to return to the Eagles next season. He hopes to work with juveniles in the criminal justice system, and he also thinks he’d like to coach football.

“I can’t leave football behind,” Archer said. “It’s been in my life for 15 years.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


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