BANGOR — Carter Horstman’s first reaction when asked to assess teammate Mathieu Oesterle’s debut as a bonafide piece of the Bangor High School football machine was to smile.
Horstman, a senior, is a grizzled veteran with the Cardinals after beginning his contribution as a freshman.
Oesterle, a sophomore, carried the ball a few times last season, but Thursday night’s breakout performance during a 56-0 victory over Melrose-Mindoro was something.
“He did a really, really good job,” Horstman said. “He had a better first game as a sophomore than I did, so I think he’s on the right track.”
Keep in mind that Horstman now has more than 2,700 rushing yards and more than 40 touchdowns as a Cardinal after gaining 161 yards and scoring four times against the Mustangs.
Oesterle’s 140-yard performance that included two touchdowns was an eye-opener for most in attendance.
It was something Bangor coach Rick Muellenberg talked about as a possibility during the first week of practice.
“See?” Muellenberg said with a grin after the game. “I told you.”
Oesterle found most of his success getting to the outside, and a big hole on the left side led to a 40-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. His speed was showcased on that play as he ran away from Melrose-Mindoro defenders.
He added a 10-yard touchdown run — also to the left side — in the second quarter as the Cardinals took a 42-0 halftime lead.
“I was nervous coming in, but once the game started flowing, it got better,” Oesterle said. “Once you take that first hit, your mind is into it, and you keep going.”
There were a few plays that may not have developed quickly enough, but Oesterle drove through a couple of tackles to show some power, as well.
“I thought Mathieu’s performance was pretty good,” Muellenberg said. “There were a couple of technique things that we have to work on with him.
“I think he did a good job of following his blocks when he was with them, and we saw some speed, which was good.”
Repeat performances would be welcomed by a team that has now won 30 straight games on its home field. The Cardinals are trying to win their sixth straight Scenic Bluffs Conference championship this fall.
“As long as we can keep a balanced attack like this,” Horstman said, “we’ll be pretty good.”