As a third-year starter, Minnesota/Lincoln HI quarterback Austin Buysse is a leader of the pack, both on the field and in the polls.
In six games this season, Buysse has completed 62 passes on 82 attempts for 1,003 yards, earning a spot as one of the top quarterbacks in the state.
Buysse credits his teammates' contributions to his success.
Photo submitted by The Minneota Mascot
Minnesota/Lincoln HI quarterback Austin Busseye
"Everyone catches the ball and runs great routes," Buysse said. "It makes my job really easy."
The Vikings are well-equipped with offensive leaders that have combined for 336 points this season, among the top three highest-scoring teams in the state.
"We usually have guys wide open and our line gives me plenty of time to get my correct reads," said Buysse. "I know if I put it somewhere in their vicinity they are going to catch it."
Entering his fourth season with the Vikings, Austin has come into a leadership role. He is a team captain for the 2013 season.
"He is not the I am going to get in your face type of guy," said head coach Chad Johnston, "Leading by example is just as much as anything and he does that well."
Austin spent his summer training for the upcoming season and pushed his teammates to do the same.
"It's a very big commitment," Johnston said, "but he has put in his time."
With success, comes pressure and Austin has taken it in stride.
"There is extra pressure on Austin because we expect a lot of big things out of him," said Johnston, "with leadership comes pressure and he has handled it so far."
Buysse disregards the burden and focuses on the team's ultimate goal of a section championship.
"I just want to win," Buysse said. "It comes down to what is in the left-hand column and what's on the right-hand column in the standings."
Minneota/Lincoln HI fell short of a state appearance in 2012, when they lost to Dawson-Boyd in the Section 5A finals.
The Vikings and Blackjacks have had a four-year section rivalry, with each team claiming two victories and a trip to the state tournament. Unfortunately, the teams will not be able to settle the score because of Minneota/Lincoln HI's bump into Section 5AA.
But the Vikings defeated the Blackjacks in Little Sioux conference play this season with a 27-6 victory Sept. 27.
"I just wish we would have beat them when it counted," said Buysse. "But, it still felt great."
The Vikings have faced many distractions at the beginning of this season, struggling to decide the fate of its co-op between Minneota and Lincoln HI. The team co-op resulted in a shift from Section 5A to Section 5AA due to the combined enrollment reaching 205, one student over the Class A standard.
But the Vikings have refused to let these obstacles hinder their season.
"Once we settled in the kids focused and got their priorities straight," Johnston said. "We are where we want to be."
Buysse just loves football.
"When you have great coaches and friends, it's just fun," said Buysse. "We have a great program here and we are successful. So, it was an easy decision to play football."
Minneota (6-0 overall) is currently undefeated this season and is tied with Adrian (6-0) for first place in the Little Sioux conference. The Vikings will not face a Section 5AA opponent until the section tournament.
As for Austin's future in football, he is unsure of what the future may hold.
"If the opportunity is right I'll play in college," said Buysse. "But, I want to wait until the season is done to see what that will bring me."
AUSTIN BUYSSE, MINNEOTA
- Sport: Football
- Year/Position: Senior/Quarterback
- Prep Career: Four years
- Most thrilling sports moment: Beating Dawson-Boyd
- Other sports I play/like: Baseball, basketball, golf and hockey
- Favorite athlete: Peyton Manning
- Favorite team: Minnesota Vikings
- Favorite hobby: Sports
- Favorite food: Tator tot hotdish
- Favorite TV show: SportsCenter
- Favorite movie: Miracle
- Favorite subject: American History
- Person that has had a huge impact on my life: Grandpa Ulrich
- The best piece of advice I have received: Don't think just play
- Something most people don't know about me: I love piano music
- Three words that describe me: Nice, athletic, passionate
- One possession I can't live without: PS3
- Something I am afraid of: Snakes
- If I could visit any place it would be: Florida
- Plans after high school: College
- In 10 years I see myself: Doing something in sports