Eureka

The heartbeat of a dominating defense

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Photos by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – Eureka’s Tyce Mullins (3) and Miles Meynell (75) listen to head coach Jason White during a timeout in Saturdays game with St. Bernard’s.

By Ray Hamill — Tyce Mullins is more than just a good football player. He’s a student of the game.

Which is part of what makes him a good football player.

For about as long as he can remember, by his own admission, he’s been obsessed with the game, and when other kids were watching cartoons and television, he says he was watching football.

“I’ve loved football ever since I was young,” he said.

It shows too, just about every time he takes the field for the Eureka High Loggers, and if senior quarterback Cruz Montana is the orchestrator of a dynamic offense, then Mullins is the heartbeat of a dominating defense.

“What stands out about the Eureka defense to me is Tyce Mullins,” St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin said before last weekend’s game at Albee Stadium. “He’s something special. He’s one of the best true middle linebackers I’ve ever seen.”

Huge impact

Mullins certainly has had a huge impact on this year’s unbeaten Loggers team, which improved to 8-0 with a 54-21 victory over St. Bernard’s.

He leads the team in tackles with 81, including 19 for a loss, and has developed into a big-time leader on a big-time defense.

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Tyce Mullins (3) and fellow linebacker Ryan Sylvia (22).

But for Mullins, it all begins with the preparation, and he estimates he watches about 90 minutes of game film every day.

“I watch a lot of game film on my own, and I watch a lot of game film with my linebackers coach (Ray Watson),” he said. 

His preparation, and that of his teammates, is a big part of the Loggers’ success.

“We’re just a very hard-working defense,” he said. 

Peaking together

It’s also a group of players that have been side-by-side for a long time, and a group that is peaking together as seniors in 2018, on one final journey before they all go their separate ways.

This current roster includes 24 seniors, many of whom have been playing together since they were 8-years-old in their first seasons of youth football.

“We’re like a family,” he said.

And they’ve enjoyed plenty of success together too, from a couple of youth football championships in their younger years, to last season as juniors when they went 10-0 in the regular season, giving Eureka High a first league title in four years.

Since the start of last season, in fact, the Loggers have gone 19-1, and are now ranked No. 2 in the North Coast Section among Division-III schools and ninth overall.

Preparing for Del Norte

Just how far this team can go remains to be seen, but like his teammates, Mullins is enjoying the moment and taking it week by week.

“We’re just taking it one game at a time, and preparing ourselves every week,” he said.

This weekend, the Loggers will host Del Norte in their final home game of the regular season.

And Mullins is expecting the Warriors to come out battling.

“They’ve got a great team, and they’ve got some great talent,” he said.

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