Mason Wunderlich can't take all the credit for his success on the gridiron.
The Evansville Mater Dei senior quarterback has always been one to spread the wealth around.
"I have been able to achieve my goals because of the people around me," Wunderlich said. "My parents and grandparents have sacrificed so much time taking me places to get better. Not only with their time, but also spending a lot of money, and I can't thank them enough. All the coaches I have worked with and all my teammates. They all have shaped me into the player I am."
After earning all-state accolades last year for helping guide the Wildcats to a Class 2A state runner-up finish, the 6-foot-5. 220-pound standout showed why he was deserving of being a member of the Indiana Football Digest's Prime Time 25 last week against No. 7 (Class 5A) Castle.
Faced with a fourth-quarter deficit, Wunderlich proved to be one cool customer by connecting with Luke McDurmon for the game-winning three-yard touchdown pass with 1:49 remaining to lead top-ranked Mater Dei to a 17-14 win.
"Mason has worked diligently not only by attending camps but also in studying film to become an even better quarterback," said Mater Dei coach Mike Goebel. "He possesses the physical characteristics and leadership qualities needed to become one of our best ever players"
Over his first three seasons, Wunderlich has thrown for 4,824 yards, which is sixth all-time, with 49 touchdowns, including 2,671 yards and 28 scores last fall.
"Getting better every year is always a goal for many players," said Wunderlich, who has 459 yards passing and four touchdowns so far in 2022. "I never would have thought I would be sixth all-time in passing yards in Mater Dei history, especially having a whole year still left. Many great quarterbacks have gone through Mater Dei and no word can describe how lucky I am to be up on the list with them.
"Going into my fourth season is something I am grateful for. I have been able to watch Mater Dei football ever since I have been little, and now being able to play for the kids like I used to be is a privilege."
Wunderlich's talents are not relegated just to the football field. He has also displayed his talents on the hardwood, averaging nine points and four rebounds during the 2021-22 campaign.
"Playing two sports is a huge boost for me," explained Wunderlich. "My whole life I played three sports. (Football, basketball, and baseball), but being able to play two varsity sports it's great. It just helps me out in many ways. Not only does it allow me to work on speed and stamina. but also allows me to get a break from football."
He not only spends his time on the playing fields but donates his talent to the Evansville area as well.
"Giving back to the community is a big part for me out of sports," Wunderlich said. "Being able to give back and help the people who are there supporting me every Friday night. I get to meet new people and learn new things. One important helping thing I've done is help out with Honor Flight Evansville. I was amazed how many veterans I was able to connect to."
Getting a chance to learn from a legendary leader like Coach Goebel is also something he has benefited from.
"Playing under Coach Goebel isn't just him. He will be the first one to tell you that," said Wunderlich, who had a 3.3 grade-point average last spring. "Not only is it him but the great coaches around him and any measure of success by Mater Dei shared between the players and coaches. We all have trust in each other, and this is a reason why we succeed. To be able to be a great coach, you must allow your other coaches to coach and Coach Goebel is a great example of it."
A member of the Indiana Wrestling Hall of Fame, Goebel believes Wunderlich has a bright future ahead of him.
"Mason is devoted to becoming a stronger and more complete quarterback," Goebel said. "There is no doubt that he will succeed. He has matured so much over the past two seasons. He understands defensive looks and his reads have improved. He and his team are excited and expect that maturation and leadership improvement to continue. So goes Mason, so goes Mater Dei."
Before heading off to compete at the next level, though, Wunderlich and company have some unfinished business to attend to.
"Although the (state title) game didn't go as we wanted it (21-9 loss to Andrean), the team was able to enjoy the ride," Wunderlich said. "Being able to play in Lucas Oil Stadium is a dream come true. Running out on the field and looking up and seeing how many fans traveled was amazing and shows how important Mater Dei football is to our community.
"We can't take it for granted because not everybody gets to play in a stadium like that. Some people don't even get to play the sport, which makes me realize how lucky we are."
The journey back to Indianapolis continues this Friday when Mater Dei (2-0) travels to Vincennes Lincoln (1-1) for another Southern Indiana Conference showdown.