Football

Petersen poised to enjoy his final campaign with the Zips 

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Photos by University of Akron Athletics – Bryce Petersen

By Ray Hamill — With his college football career winding down, Bryce Petersen seems determined to enjoy every moment as much as possible while he still can.

The former McKinleyville Panther, who is the starting center for the Akron Zips, will be a senior this fall and he knows this could very well be his final go-round as a football player.

“I think the big thing for me is to just enjoy the process and realize my time as a player (could be) coming to an end,” he said. “And just really focusing on having fun.”

Petersen appears ready to close out with a bang after recently being named to the Lindy’s All-Mid American Conference preseason team for the second year in a row.

The standout center, who is in his third year with the Zips, will graduate with a degree in Sports Management this fall after just three and a half years in college and admits he’s not certain where life will take him after that.

If he gets the opportunity to continue his playing career in the pro ranks somewhere, he says that’s something he would consider.

“If there’s an opportunity to play after college, I’d definitely love to pursue that,” he said. 

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Photos by University of Akron Athletics

If not, he wants to continue his education while learning the coaching ropes as a graduate assistant somewhere.

“It would be a good way to see if coaching is something I would like to get into,” Petersen said, adding that college life “has flown by.”

As one of the few seniors on a young Zips team that struggled last season under first-year head coach Tom Arth, Petersen is also determined to do as much as he can to help set up the program for future success.

The all-MAC center is one of just two seniors in a group of offensive linemen that features seven players who red-shirted last season, and he believes the program is headed in the right direction under Arth.

“I think they have really good potential,” the former Panther said of the young linemen. “And I think it’s really important for me, as a guy who’s been around, to show them the right way to do things.”

Preparation for the fall season has not been anywhere close to normal this year because of COVID-19, but Petersen has been making the most of things back in McKinleyville, while working closely with his father Drew, the legendary strength and conditioning coach at Humboldt State.

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Photos by University of Akron Athletics

“It’s actually been pretty good for me,” Bryce said. “Obviously it helps having my dad here. We have a set-up in the garage, and it’s been really nice. I’ve been able to get in some good training, and I love Humboldt County. I like being here.”

The timeline for the fall remains uncertain at this stage, although Petersen says he is preparing as if there will be a season, and is expecting to return to Akron sometime next month.

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