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'He has this boldness': Fargo Shanley's Cooper Mattern named Concordia starting quarterback for Week 2

Concordia sophomore and Fargo Shanley graduate Cooper Mattern is set to start at quarterback for the Cobbers in Week 2.

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Concordia sophomore Cooper Mattern, center, has been named Cobbers starting quarterback for Week 2 after coming off the bench in a season-opening victory at Valley City State.
Jim Cella / Concordia Sports Information
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MOORHEAD — Cooper Mattern has been named starting quarterback for the Concordia Cobbers, head coach Terry Horan said Monday.

The Fargo Shanley graduate came off the bench last Thursday night to help the Cobbers rally for a 14-12 road victory against Valley City State in nonconference college football.

“Ultimately, it came down to the spark we got in the fourth quarter and that was Cooper," Horan said of the QB change.

Mattern completed 1 of 2 passes, including a 53-yard touchdown to receiver Dawson Schaffer early in the fourth quarter. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Mattern also rushed for 22 yards on four attempts.

“It’s definitely a really good feeling," Mattern said. "It’s feeling like all my hard work has paid off.”

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The Cobbers (1-0) next play at Presentation College (1-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, in Aberdeen, S.D., to complete their nonconference slate. The Cobbers open Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play at 1 p.m. Sept. 24 against Gustavus at Jake Christiansen Stadium.

“Cooper is a really intelligent QB," Horan said. "He can run and he has this boldness to him that you can see. It’s kind of that ‘It’ factor. It’s hard to explain.”

Cobbers senior Tanner DuBois — who started 10 games last season — started at QB in the season opener against Valley City State and completed 11 of 18 passes for 58 yards. Junior quarterback Ben Blancas also played against the Vikings and completed 1 of 3 passes for three yards.

“Going into the first game, it was a three-legged race," Horan said. "All three of them performed pretty well during fall camp. We decided to go with Tanner and his experience.”

Horan said Blancas has a unique skill set with his rushing ability. He added that DuBois didn't do anything wrong against Valley City State, it was more of what Mattern provided once he entered the game against the Vikings.

“It was the spark that we were able to get from him that we wanted to continue to ride," Horan said. “Right now, Cooper is the guy.”

Mattern spent last season with the St. John’s Johnnies before transferring to Concordia. He was a two-year starter at Shanley prior to his college career. Mattern transferred to Concordia for the second semester of the previous school year so he practiced with the Cobbers last spring. That preparation time in the spring helped Mattern become more comfortable with his teammates and the playbook heading into fall camp.

“When spring came, I felt really comfortable with everything," Mattern said. "It was a really good jump-start to get my feet wet by the time fall came around. It kind of felt second nature.”

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Mattern is thankful that Horan and offensive coordinator Travis Titues are giving him the chance to start.

“It’s great to know that coach Horan and coach Titus have that trust in me," Mattern said. "I feel like when it comes to Saturday this weekend, that I will be able to show what we’ve all been working for.”

Mattern said coming out of Shanley, it was a close decision between St. John's and Concordia before he ultimately chose to start his college career with the Johnnies.

“It wasn’t 1 and 2, it was like 1A and 1B coming out of this school between those two colleges, obviously two very respected programs," Mattern said. "I have the utmost respect for St. John’s, but it just wasn’t my fit.”

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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