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Fillmore Central’s Corson is ready to get the job done, no matter what it takes

Bryce Corson set the school record with 17 rushing touchdowns last year. But that doesn't matter now. He's focused on one thing: getting his Fillmore Central team back to the section final game.

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Fillmore Central’s Bryce Corson (12) set the program's record for rushing touchdowns in a season last fall, when he scored 17 times on the ground. Corson's top priority, though, is helping the Falcons reach the state tournament for the first time.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin file photo
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(Editor's note: This article is part of the 2022 Pigskin Preview, which will appear in the Saturday, Sept. 3, Post Bulletin print edition. A PDF version of the Pigskin will be available at PostBulletin.com on Thursday, Sept. 1.)

HARMONY — Bryce Corson didn’t set out to be a record setter.

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He didn't try to break the Fillmore Central single-season rushing touchdown record last fall.

In fact, he doesn’t think he was the best running back the team had in 2021 — in his mind, that was Alec Sikkink.

It’s the perfect visual of Corson: A selfless, team-first player who’s always ready and willing to play where the team needs him.

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But if there’s ever a player who would have a reason to be self-centered, it’s Corson, the Falcons running back who set the school record with 17 rushing touchdowns last season, after rushing for six in the Falcons’ 2021 opener against Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton.

Corson also recorded five receiving touchdowns and more than 400 receiving yards.

The coaching staff at Fillmore Central knew what Corson was capable of, but no one had that Day 1 performance on their radar — including Corson’s dad, Carlisle, who didn’t have high expectations for that first game.

His mom didn't see it coming, either.

"I think just seeing the stats for that first game, I was like, ‘What the heck?'" Corson’s mom, Traci, said. "This is our kid?"

Corson doesn’t feel pressure to outperform his record-setting numbers from last year. In some ways, he wasn't happy with last season.

"I know Bryce is not content with the season he had last year," said head coach Chris Mensink, who’s heading into his 16th season with the Falcons. "He's just going to push himself and push his teammates to make everybody better around him and make himself better."

Pushing himself means setting a new record.

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"I want to get to 18 touchdowns," he said. "That could be tough, though. But I mean, if I don't break it, it's always OK."

Breaking the record again would be a good way to end his final football season at Fillmore Central. But David Broadwater, an assistant who works with the running backs, doesn’t feel like Corson needs to exceed a bunch of expectations to have a good year. Having a good season would mean doing anything that gets the team back to the Section 1A championship game, where they fell last fall to rival Rushford-Peterson.

“He's just going to (do) whatever he's going to (do) to get the job done in the long run," Broadwater said. "He's not going to put some sort of milestone on, ‘I need this many touchdowns. I need this many yards,’ whatever. I think, for him, it's all about being great together and doing whatever the team needs (him) to do. He sets the tone for everybody that way.”

Corson has been a leader since he first joined the Falcons program. Teammates trust and respect him. Corson’s style of leading by example showed this offseason, when he found himself constantly in the weight room.

“He didn’t miss a workout all year. He’s always there,” Mensink said. “He’s always working hard. He leads by example, and those kids rally around him.”

Regardless of his play on the field, the way Corson carries himself shows his embodiment of being a good football player.

Ask anyone who Bryce Corson is and these answers are routinely repeated: Leader. Determined. Competitive. Committed. Motivated. Encouraging. Football savvy. Great teammate.

There are numerous leaders on the Fillmore Central team, starting with its five captains: Corson, Gunner Benson, Jake Fishbaugher, Dillon O’Connor and Will Parker. Corson is undoubtedly one of them, showing a great work ethic and motivation to improve.

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“Bryce is Bryce. He’s going to work hard,” offensive coordinator Andy Todd said. “He’s going to encourage his teammates. He’s a real pleasure to coach. He definitely leads by example. We expect him to just keep on doing his thing.”

Mensink and the coaching staff are trying to keep their players focused on their first game against Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton. But looming in Week 2 is the team that ended Fillmore Central’s hopes of a state championship run last season, Rushford-Peterson. It’s hard for Corson and his teammates to not think of the game that ended their 9-1 year.

“We definitely didn’t play the best we could, and I didn’t either. I think we could have won that game,” Corson said. “But we want to make it back to it and we want to have another chance of making it there (to the Section 1A championship game).”

Mensink knows that Corson has the talent and ability to take Fillmore Central as far as it wants to go. The sky's the limit for the running back.

“He's so versatile,” Mensink said, “and can hurt you in so many ways.”

More Pigskin Preview

Pigskin Preview '22 stories at PostBulletin.com this week:

Monday, August 29

• 6 a.m. — Rochester's Noah Borgeson, Caledonia's Brent Robley a dangerous connection at St. Thomas.

• 9:30 a.m. — RCTC's Johnathan Douglas, player profile.

• Noon — Southeastern Minnesota's "Dangerous Dozen": 12 high school players to watch this fall

• 2:30 p.m. — Mark your calendars: A game to circle on the schedule of every team in southeastern Minnesota.

Tuesday, August 30

6 a.m. — Section 1 9-Man season preview

8:30 a.m. — Section 1AAAAA season preview

10:45 a.m. — Section 1AAA season preview

12:30 p.m. — Section 1A season preview

2:45 p.m. — Section 1AAAA season preview

7 p.m. — Section 1AA/2AA season preview

Wednesday, August 31

6 a.m. — Player Profile: Fillmore Central running back Bryce Corson

8:30 a.m. — Player Profile: Rochester Mayo lineman Ethan Kramer

11 a.m. — Player Profile: Goodhue WR Adam Poncelet

1 p.m. — Player Profile: Stewartville lineman Peyton Byrne

3 p.m. — Player Profile: Kasson-Mantorville lineman Reese Tripp

Thursday, September 1

6 a.m. — Player Profile: Kingsland tight end Mason Kolling

9 a.m. — Player Profile: Chatfield defensive back Drew Schindler

Noon — Minnesota Vikings new-look offense hopes to be high-flying

1:30 p.m. — Minnesota Vikings defense getting a much-needed shakeup

Abby Sharpe joined the Post Bulletin in February 2022 after graduating from Arizona State University with a sports journalism degree. While at ASU, she created short- and long-form stories for audio and digital. Readers can reach Abby at 507-285-7723 or asharpe@postbulletin.com.
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