LISBON HIGH SCHOOL senior Tanton Mattson (62), here calling out signals during the 2015 Class D South regional final against Oak Hill at Wales, leads the Greyhounds against Winthrop/Monmouth on Saturday at Winthrop in the 2016 regional final.

LISBON HIGH SCHOOL senior Tanton Mattson (62), here calling out signals during the 2015 Class D South regional final against Oak Hill at Wales, leads the Greyhounds against Winthrop/Monmouth on Saturday at Winthrop in the 2016 regional final.

LISBON

Tanton Mattson dreamt often about this season.

The Lisbon High School senior linebacker and offensive lineman envisioned an undefeated, dominating season for his Greyhounds, ending with a State Class D championship.

LISBON LINEBACKER Tanton Mattson brings down an Old Orchard Beach running back.

LISBON LINEBACKER Tanton Mattson brings down an Old Orchard Beach running back.

But, as happens so often with dreams, a nightmare soon follows.

Lisbon lost its Campbell Conference opener back on Sept. 3 to Winthrop/Monmouth, 31-12, and the very next game, Mattson was injured, putting his senior year dreams in serious jeopardy.

But, these are the 2016 Lisbon

Greyhounds, a team that never quits, doesn’t stop working or improving.

On Saturday, Lisbon, the No. 2 seed in Class D South, gets the rematch it had hoped for, at top-seeded and undefeated Winthrop/Monmouth at 12:30 p.m.

“We need to go up there and have the mentality of knowing that we are going to win the game,” said Mattson, who missed three games but has since returned and dominated. “We have improved over the season, and we feel that we can beat any team that we want. We will need to focus on our game plan and limit our mistakes.”

How dominating has Mattson been?

Take Saturday’s Class C South semifinal against Oak Hill. Yes, those Oak Hill Raiders, the team that eliminated Lisbon each of the past three years in the postseason and later went on to claim three straight State Class D titles. Mattson had 11 tackles along with a key interception that allowed the Greyhounds to score a second first-half touchdown for a 16-3 halftime lead en route to a 42-9 victory.

“He is a four-year starter at Lisbon, on offense a terrific blocker, and on defense he is a great signal-caller who does a lot of work,” said Lisbon coach Dick Mynahan. “He called our defense last Saturday. Oak Hill offered so many formations that it was impossible to send a play in, especially when they went no huddle. He pays attention during practice and gets it done.”

Mattson reminisced about those middle school days, playing football at Sugg.

“When us seniors were in eighth grade, we blew out everybody,” remembered Mattson. “When you start playing football, you talk about your senior year and how great it is going to be. You will be at the best. Then I got injured and we got blown out our first game. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy and we had to put in the work. We thought this year was going to be just like that, just like our middle school years. Football is never like that and you have to work hard. We found that out the first week and knew that we had to buckle down.”

Mynahan said Mattson is not the prototypical linebacker.

“Tanton is not made up like a typical linebacker, not as fast as the typical guy you have there. But he reads instantly and his reads are usually right. It just takes him to the ball. He is the type of kid that studies films, and he does a nice job at being at the point of attack,” said Mynahan, coaching Lisbon for the 30th season.

“I watch film and just try to take whatever (Coach Mynahan) is thinking and do what he would do,” said Mattson. “When they come out in a certain set, I think of where he would want me to be. He sets us up really well to get us right.”

Moving around

Offense is not as cut and dry for the senior.

“He moves around a lot on the offensive line,” said Mynahan. “He is right now taking the place of an injured athlete. He plays so many positions, I can move him around to many different spots. We have a nice offensive line that has worked all year.”

“I like guard because you can pull each direction and I like hitting the defensive end,” added Mattson. “On the edge at tackle, you don’t have anybody to your outside and you have to be quicker and get out there to catch people on the edge. Plus, you have no support. Run blocking is a lot easier.”

Of his interception against Oak Hill on Saturday, Mattson remembered the ones that got away.

“I have dropped a few of those,” said the son of Eric and Amy and the older brother to Teagan, 13, and Timber, 14. “That was my first interception of my high school career. It was a big moment for us. It really seemed to turn the momentum our way.”

“That interception got the bench involved, got the fans involved,” said Mynahan of the big play. “We really thought it was going to go right through his hands. It was a perfect pass, but he squeezed it in for the first time ever. It was a big play.”

Mattson says nearly every day he learns something from Mynahan.

“You can tell every practice that Coach Mynahan has been doing this for a long while,” Mattson said. “He expects perfection out of us and that drives us. His knowledge in just one practice is amazing. He is someone that I look up to.”

During games, Mattson says his mother worries, especially when her son becomes the player being tackled.

“My mom gets worried. I think it is pretty funny. When I got my interception the other day, she didn’t like how those ‘people were on me.’ She said that she prefers seeing me making the tackles rather than getting tackled,” said Mattson.

As for plans after high school … “I recently applied to Worcester Poly Tech in Worcester, Mass., and I am looking at Western New England University and its football program,” said Mattson, who plans on moving into mechanical engineering. “I am good at math.”

But, first things first —

Saturday’s Class D South regional final.

“Against Oak Hill, I wanted to leave it all on our home field, and on Saturday, I am going to leave it all on that Winthrop field as well,” Mattson said confidently before returning to practice.


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