All-Area Football: Hofstedt runs roughshod
For a few hours every day, Mason and Josh Hofstedt grind through football practice. Once a week, the two would try to lead Cannon Falls to victory. Six times this season the Bombers won, five times they lost. But no matter the outcome, the Hofstedts would wind up together again. But instead of figuring out how to attack Stewartville or defend Rochester Lourdes, Josh would give the order and Mason would have to follow through. Dishes don’t wash themselves.
Having a parent as a coach can be difficult, both on the athlete and the boss. Sometimes there is preferential treatment, or the perception of it, and that can undermine an entire season. That’s not the case for Josh and Mason. In fact, Josh admits to being harder on Mason than he was on other players, though not on purpose.
“You’re probably harder on you own son, and not intentionally. But for a lot of reasons,” Josh said. “But it’s rewarding, having that extra time with him that other parents don’t get. But there’s negatives like your kid being up for extra critique from outside people. But, all in all, it’s definitely a positive thing and a unique experience.
“You maybe expect more from your own kid. At least in our house, I expect you to do the dishes when I ask you to do the dishes. If he’s not doing what he’s supposed to be doing, or doing what normal kids are doing at practice, that’s not, I know I jump down his throat more than other kids. You just have more expectations. Other kids you write off that they’re just being kids. But it’s hard to do that with your own kid.”
Mason does indeed do the dishes, even though he admittedly does not want to. He doesn’t mind mowing the lawn, however, and there are no chores on the field. Just a coach.
“Nothing’s bad about it. You just hear the message he says at practice twice,” Mason said. “We do a little football stuff (at home), but it’s mostly dad at home and coach on the field.”
The last time Mason played a football game in Cannon Falls, he broke a school record with 357 rushing yards and sent the Bombers to the Section 1AAA championship game. The last time the Cannon Falls senior played in a game in general, Lourdes sent the Bombers home for good.
“As a team we were hoping to get to the state tournament, and we fell just shy, so that’s was pretty good. Personally I had a great season, but I didn’t expect that,” Mason said. “But it happened because everyone did their job.”
It was no surprise that Mason was going to get the ball, and get it a lot. And though they lost three of their first four games, seeing the Bombers in the section title game was no surprise, either.
“I knew I was going to be the featured back and if they were going to give me the ball, I would have to make plays,” Mason said. “We all hope to do good in the regular season. We play in a tough conference. It’s always a battle. We hope to win them all, but we want to play our best at the end of the year and make a run in the playoffs.”
Though that run came to an end one game shy of the goal, it wasn’t the end of Mason wearing a helmet and shoulder pads. After a season that ended with 2,109 yards on 235 carries with 17 touchdowns (and 78 tackles and 5.5 sacks on defense), there will certainly be a roster spot open somewhere.
“I’m going to play in college somewhere. It’s not decided yet on where,” Mason said. “If everything goes the way I hope it does, I’d end up at (North Dakota State). But (St. Cloud State) is up there, Mankato and Duluth as well.”
Once in college, Mason may have to answer to a roommate instead of a parent about the pile of dirty dishes. But he also won’t have to listen to his dad complain about the hair he lets keep growing.
“He told me constantly to cut it. He told me I look like a girl, and it looks stupid. Me and my buddies decided to grow our hair out. Andrew Egge has long hair, then Carlton Lindow. The whole team kind of had longer hair. Now they’ve kind of cut it, but Andrew and I decided to keep it...Also, my mom likes it. Every time my dad says to cut it, she doesn’t like hearing it so he’s kind of given up on it.”