Matty Braun found opportunities in football at Mountain Pointe | Sports
For two years, Matty Braun commuted from his Ahwatukee home to Higley High School, where he was determined to become the Knights’ next best kicker.
Growing up, he had played in other positions. He was a good goalkeeper and receiver in youth football. But he always thought being a kicker was his true calling.
When the 30-minute ride got too much of a hassle, he was transferred to Mountain Pointe. He missed the first five games of his junior season for Pride, and when he was eligible, he immediately stepped in and filled a void the team had at the kicker.
But it was around the same time that he started to want to try another position: wide receiver.
“The first football team I played with, I started kicking and fell in love with it, so that was the only thing I wanted to do,” Braun said. “But as I got older and stronger, I realized I wanted to play catcher. I worked hard and made the reps improve day by day.
Braun started getting reps at wide receiver the summer before his junior year. He started showing off his speed and strong hands, snatching passes from quarterback Chris Arviso out of the air with ease.
He also became a deep threat and was constantly the target of long passes against other schools across the state. In addition to his athleticism, Braun had the chance to show how dedicated he was to the team and the new position.
This summer, he continued this progression. In the University of Arizona 7s tournament against Chandler, Braun went all out for a ball, diving to the floor to catch. His teammates recognized him for his efforts.
“Matty is just one of those, like a toolbox,” Arviso said. “It can be used for anything. He’s a good kicker, he’s a good punter, he’s a good receiver, I don’t think people realize how good Matty really is. He was just waiting for his chance. »
Braun began to open the eyes of coaches. They started giving him more opportunities in practices and other showcase events.
But one problem remained: He was Mountain Pointe’s lone kicker and head coach Eric Lauer was reluctant to risk his health on offense. But the first week of official training began to ease those concerns.
On Thursday, Aug. 11, Lauer brought up junior college kicker Ben Briggs. He matched Braun’s kicks every distance. It fell just short of a 45-yarder, but it was enough for Lauer.
Immediately, Lauer recognized Braun’s chance to have an extended role in the attack, which he wanted to do.
“As he acclimated to the band and the program, I think he realized there were a few more things he could do,” Lauer said. “He did some of that last year but he didn’t start until Week 6 so we just needed him to kick things off. He’s now evolved into something bigger where he’s probably going to return kicks to us and the receiver.
“We added a player without the numbers changing.”
With another viable option, Braun should now have a chance. On top of the gap, he could end up as a return specialist for Mountain Pointe.
Braun wanted an opportunity at Mountain Pointe. He wanted to become a viable slot option for Pride, much like Isaiah Ice-Robinson was last year with Mason Hill, a good friend of Braun’s who played his first season of football as a senior and has obtained university opportunities.
Now he has it. And he intends to take advantage of it.
“I want to be the guy,” Braun said. “Obviously the ball is going to spread, we have all these weapons. I want to contribute to the maximum capacity that I can, that I know I can. I want to be a great playmaker for this team.
As of now, Braun is still considering pursuing a college scholarship in kicking. But
he opened the door to a future as a catcher.
He put on 25 pounds of muscle this offseason to prepare for a much more physical outing as a senior. He’s bought into the culture of this year’s Pride team of bringing the program back to where it was when Lauer was an assistant under Norris Vaughan and they were one of the best teams in the country.
They have a knack for catching several teams off guard this year, and Braun is now adding another element to that arsenal.
“Seeing all the hard work and seeing it all come together, like Gary (Tucker) said, the sky’s the limit,” Braun said. “That pretty much sums it all up. We can topple every team’s top.
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