By Andy Villamarzo
Hernando Sun sports reporter
Back in Brooksville, FL just over a few years ago, Nature Coast Technical featured a running back that not many thought then would end up playing in the National Football League.
Come this past Monday night in San Francisco, California, the San Francisco 49ers had former Nature Coast running back Matt Breida sitting center stage on one of the NFL’s premier nights to watch football.
‘The Cheetah’ as they call him now all across the national air waves, had himself a big night in the 49ers’ 31-3 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football. Breida rushed for 114 yards on 11 carries and scored a touchdown in the victory for San Francisco.
Breida has helped propel San Francisco to a 4-0 start to the NFL season and has played very well up to now for the 49ers. The former Sharks’ star has rushed for 340 yards on 52 carries for an average of 6.5 a clip on the ground. He also has six catches for 46 yards.
It would be Breida’s 83-yard touchdown run to start off Monday Night Football that got everyone taking notice of the former Nature Coast product, as he went up the left sideline past Browns’ defenders to give San Francisco an early 7-0 lead. Breida also ended up catching a touchdown pass from 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garropolo.
This 2019 NFL season has been a turnaround year for San Francisco, as the 49ers are one of only two undefeated teams in the league. The only other undefeated team in the NFL is the New England Patriots at 5-0. With San Francisco currently at 4-0, they’re in first place in the NFC West ahead of the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams.
Breida ended up falling short of one of his main goals last season in the 2018 NFL campaign. He fell just short of getting to the sacred mark of 1,000 yards rushing for the season because of an ankle injury.
The second-year running back suffered an ankle injury in the 49ers’ 14-9 loss to the Chicago Bears last season and didn’t play in San Francisco’s 2018 season finale against the Los Angeles Rams. It was a tough break at the time for Breida, who was at 814 yards rushing on the season.
The former Georgia Southern product Breida was able to total between rushing and receiving 1,075 total yards from scrimmage for the 49ers. His best game of the 2018 season came back on September 16th against the Detroit Lions, when Breida rushed for 138 yards on just 11 carries and scored a touchdown.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.