OPC: Team Halton-Peel Underclassmen REC Matthew determined to be the best

The countdown begins to CanadaFootballChat.com Ontario Prospect Challenge on the May 1st weekend.  In the days leading up to OPC, CFC will preview the teams, coaches and players participating in the big event.

Determination sets Reid Matthew apart from other gridiron players.

“When I set a goal for myself or want to improve on a specific thing, I push myself to the limit just to achieve that goal,” explained the 5’2, 110 pound receiver.

Matthew began his gridiron journey in a house league in the Burlington Minor Football Association (BMFA). He would move on to suit up for the Burlington Stampeders football organization.

“The best moment of my career would have to be winning my Peewee rep championship. It was the first championship that I had ever won in football and that made it very special,” recalled Matthew of the highlight of his gridiron career. “In the game, I managed to score a touchdown, block the other team’s winning field goal and force the game winning fumble in overtime.”

“I felt like nobody could stop me and that I was doing the best I possibly could. It made me feel like I had done something important.”

During his time with both teams, he has enjoyed being an offensive threat on the field.

“I play receiver because as a kid I would always throw the football around with my dad,” explained Matthew.  “I guess that developed my hands at a young age and I decided to stick with it throughout the rest of my years of playing.”

“It’s just a really fun position to play. There’s a lot of different things you can do at that position so it gives me an opportunity to experience a lot of different aspects of the game.”

Throughout his career, the Ontario receiver has tried to emulate New England Patriots star Wes Welker.

“I look up to him because he is one of the smaller players in the league as am I,” commented Matthew.  “Even with his size disadvantage he does really well which inspires me to be the same.”

On Saturday, Matthew will once again have an opportunity to showcase his playmaking abilities, but it will be in one of the biggest games of his career. He will take part in the Ontario Prospect Challenge as a member of Team Halton-Peel’s Underclassmen squad. This will mark his second consecutive year competing as he was on the Team West squad in 2014.

Competing in OPC is something that almost didn’t happen. However, he is glad he took a chance as it paid off for him.

“It took me a lot to finally decide to try out for OPC,” recalled Matthew.  “I thought that I had zero chance of making the team because they took the best players in Ontario and I thought I had no chance of making the team.”

“I had to force myself to look back at what I had done in the past. I saw what I accomplished at that gave me enough confidence to try out for the team. And to my surprise, I actually ended up making the team.”

So far, Matthew has found the entire OPC process satisfying yet rewarding as he’s developed into a better player thanks to the coaching staff as well as other players.

“It has been a new and really exciting experience,” reflected the Team Halton-Peel receiver. “I get to see some of the best players in Ontario playing and I get to play alongside them.”

“It also has really brought into perspective of what I can achieve when I really try to accomplish it.  It’s been really helpful working with the coaches. They are some very well experienced coaches and know a lot about the game. Some of the coaches this year I know and have already played for so it’s nice to see some familiar faces. All in all, it’s really cool having a few different coaches that know lots about how to play the sport.”

In dealing with the pressure that comes with playing in a major game such as OPC, Matthew is relying on familiarity to get him through the challenge.

“The way that I handled was that I just imagined that I was playing in the schoolyard with my friends and just having a good time,” said the Team Halton-Peel standout.  “With that picture in my head it just seemed like an everyday thing instead of a big game.”

Furthermore, he has taken steps to ensure he is ready for Saturday’s game.

“I have started to work harder and be more active to get in shape,” described Matthew.  “ I’ve signed up for flag football as well as summer tackle so that I would get a lot of experience before the game and also get into shape before the game comes around.”

“I participated in SST offseason strength and speed training too. I think that it’s really helped because I can tell that my stamina is already improving.”

Based on his last OPC stint, Matthew is ecstatic about a couple of key elements about being involved in event.

“I have been part of OPC before and I found that it was a really cool experience,” explained the Team Halton-Peel standout.  “It showed me that I could play with some of the best kids in Ontario and hold my own.”

“This year I’m looking forward to the game itself and trying my best to excel at it.   This year there are lots of kids on my team that I know and have played with but that is the same with the other team as well.  It will be really fun playing with some of my friends and make it all the more competitive playing against them.”

Set to graduate in 2020, Matthew already has some specific aspirations he would like to achieve in the future.

“My football and academic dream in one would be to earn a full scholarship to go play for the Wisconsin Badgers,” offered the Ontario receiver.  “They have a good football program and lots of athletes in the NFL came from there.”

“It is also a good school to study academics in so I will also get a good education.”

Currently, his attention is steered towards Saturday’s OPC game against Team East and the feats he’s like to accomplish on the field.

“Well, the main team goal that we have is to win the game,” stated Matthew.  “I think that is every team’s main goal but to be able to win this game would be like winning an all-star game.”

“A personal goal that I have is to play my best and try to be my best. To be able to score a touchdown is also a goal of mine.”

Moreover, he hopes that OPC will take him further in his quest in realizing his ultimate gridiron dream.

“As a player the main thing that I want to achieve is to be the best I could,” expressed Matthew.  “Hopefully, when this happens I will be able to make it into a good college/university for football.”

(twitter: http://twitter.com/vohra_ameeta)






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