Get used to the name Mack Matthews (5-10 180 LB/SS 17′) as he is one of the top defensive players in the state. The Junior from Tualatin has gone off this season, leading the state of Oregon in tackles per game (16.5 Max Preps), in his 2nd year as a starter.
His 132 total tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles through 8 games put him in an elite category statistically. The T Wolves have managed to put together one of the most remarkable turnarounds in recent memory, going (8-2) in the brutally tough TRL, after a winless 2014 campaign. Mack has led the D and projects as a player of the year candidate covering the next two seasons.
Referencing this past year and some of the changes that were made he says, “Coach Z has done a great job of bringing everyone together and helping us believe”. He added, ” I spend a lot of time watching film and give a lot of credit to my LB coach Ryan Mustang.”
Matthews comes from a prominent football family with his father Mike playing ball at Oregon St. His other two uncles were also D1 athletes. Add to this his famous grandfather, Don Matthews, who is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. In his time as a head coach he led his teams to five Grey Cups.
Tualatin has a legit shot to make a run in the playoffs, potentially meeting #1 ranked Jesuit in the Quarterfinals. Chances are Mack could grow late, with his father and brother standing a legit 6-2/6-3. That said as Matthews could project as a strong safety in college, depending on continued growth.
Last year was a rarity as the Timberwolves are a traditional football power. Senior’s Dante’ Reid, Grant Nielsen, and Ben Ferguson have been clutch. They feature some of the top underclassmen in the conference with 6-6 210 pound Junior Jarred Ellisen terrorizing opponents from his D end spot. Ellisen is a talented basketball player and also ranked one of the state’s top WR’s for 2017.
Speaking on some of his guys Mack says, “Dominic Rocha has stepped up big for us and Cody Brown has done a great job running the ball as well. Adding, “Jarred is big and incredibly athletic coming off the edge… He will be tough for anyone to stop.”
This years Three Rivers Conference is historically one of the most talented league’s ever assembled within Oregon. Coach Bill Zernickow and his staff should be commended for getting things back on track in such a short period of time.
Mack has been around the game from a very young age. The genes which he possesses can’t be taught. Coming from a football family has proven invaluable, learning from the likes of his father.
The T Wolves will play a second round game at Beaverton next week. The Beavers sit at (8-2), but lost 70-0 to Jesuit for the Metro League title. We will keep you updated on Matthews as he is one of the top players in the region.