By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
In the south, football is more than just a sport; it’s a way of life. Matt Dobson is the epitome of this idea. Dobson’s football career began when he started playing football at the YMCA in Thomasville, Ga. when he was five years old. Then, in sixth grade, he began attending Aucilla Christian Academy and played quarterback for the Junior Varsity team that year. During my seventh and eighth grade year he was the starting Varsity quarterback at ACA. In January of his eighth grade year he transferred to North Florida Christian in Tallahassee. He was the starting safety his freshman and sophomore years. Then in his junior and senior years he was NFC’s starting quarterback.
Dobson’s background in football is extensive, he explains, “My family has always been avid football fans. I began by watching football with my dad and just always wanted to play. I cannot remember ever not playing football.”
Since playing at NFC, Dobson and his team have won two state championships. His freshman year he was a starting safety on the state championship team and his senior year he was the starting quarterback on the state championship team.
Dobson began practicing for the 2011 season the Monday after the last game of his junior season. They began preparing for the following season by working out in the weight room, running and conditioning. Dobson explained, “During the summer we had our summer program which includes lifting, running and 7 on 7 passing drills as well as competitions. During the actual season we practiced everyday throughout the week, watched film, and continued to lift in the weight room.”
“Playing in the two state championship games was a great experience that I will never forget. My freshman year playing in the state championship was very nerve racking and it was a new experience and something that I had no idea what to expect. My senior year I knew more what to expect and it meant more winning the state championship the second time. My senior teammates and I had worked extremely hard for 4 years and went through a coaching change and some tough times to get where we were to win the 2nd state championship in 4 years, so it was great to see how excited everyone was when we won and see how all the hard work had paid off,” said Dobson.
Being a quarterback isn’t always easy. Dobson said that one of the biggest challenges of being the quarterback is, “the mental aspect of the game. As a quarterback you have to be a student of the game and know exactly what is going on at all times. Leading up to the game the quarterback must study film and understand the game plan and the assignments of all eleven players on the field. The quarterback also needs to know what the other team’s defense is going to do and what their strengths and weaknesses are. One of the hardest things during practices and games is staying completely focused on your assignment every play. When you let your mind wander at all then that is when you make mistakes so you must be focused at all times and keep others around you focused.”
He also spoke of the positives of being quarterback, “The best part about being a quarterback is being an influential person in the lives of others. Younger kids and teammates look to the quarterback as someone who should be a leader and being able to be a positive role model in others lives is great. Another one of the best things about being a quarterback is having a big impact in the outcome of all the games especially in an offense like we run at NFC. The quarterback touches the ball on every play and has to make decisions on almost every play and that is great about playing quarterback.”
On Dec. 21 in Sebring, Dobson got to play in the Florida Athletic Coaches Association North – South all- star game. The players who were selected to play in the game were voted on by coaches. Dobson was able to play quarterback in the game. “This all-star game was a lot of fun and it was fun to play with some great players from all over the state of Florida. We won the game 47-21 and I really enjoyed the whole experience. Meeting and getting to know many of the other guys playing in the game was enjoyable, especially some of the guys from around this area like Tevin Roundtree from Madison and some of the guys from Tallahassee,” said Dobson.
“Being selected to play in this all star game was a great honor considering the many NFL hall of famers and future hall of famers who have played in this game in the past. I am thankful for all my teammates and coaches at NFC who helped me have a great year, which helped me get selected to play in this game. I was also selected to play in the Florida-Georgia border wars all-star game but will not be able to play in this game because I will be taking an official visit to a college on that weekend,” he said.
Matt Dobson has been selected for multiple all big bend teams and all state teams throughout his football career. He also won the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Player of the Year his senior year. He does plan on playing football at the collegiate level and has received full scholarship offers from multiple Division I schools. He has not decided where he will attend college yet, but he plans to make his decision soon.
When asked what advice he would offer to players interested in being quarterback, he said, “My advice to anyone interested in playing quarterback would be to first make sure you have your priorities straight. Put God first in everything you do. If you serve God and work hard He will honor your hard work. Make sure you also take your academics serious because this is more important than football as well. Football is not eternal so you need to make sure you put God first, your family second, academics next, and football after that then this will help you be successful. Also if you are interested in playing quarterback you have to be a leader on the field but even more importantly off the field and in life.”
Dobson is the son of Terry and Ronda Dobson who are originally from Greenville and Madison respectively, but they now reside in Aucilla. His grandparents are Ron and Martha Smoak from Madison. Loa Lee Dobson from Aucilla and the late George Dobson from Greenville. He has two sisters: Stephanie, who is married to Josh Boan, lives in Madison, and Chelsea Dobson, who lives in Tallahassee.