By Fran Hunt
Special to Greene Publishing, Inc.
For the past few years, county resident Matt Dobson has been a quarterback powerhouse on the football field.
He began playing football at a young age and began playing at the age of five years both at the Jefferson County Recreation park and at the YMCA in Thomasville, where he played Pee Wee flag football until the age of seven years. At the age of eight years, he began playing tackle football at the YMCA.
During those early years, his dad (Terry Dobson), who coached the local Pee Wee league, served as a great inspiration for him. His dad also helped him at home as well, getting him out in the yard and tossing the football around. They also enjoyed watching a lot of football on television.
His dad does not help coach anymore, but does enjoy going to as many practices as possible. In addition they spend many hours together watching films of previous games as well as films of upcoming opponents.
Dobson said that he discovered that he had a natural God-given knack for playing the position of quarterback, at about eight years of age.
In 2005, he was old enough to play football at school and he began playing on the junior varsity team at Aucilla Christian Academy. His performance on the field, during practices, in the weight room and in the classroom, were quite impressive.
When he was in the seventh grade, he was promoted to the varsity team, where he began to serve as an inspiration for all youth who wished to excel athletically.
It is most unusual for a freshman to be on a varsity team in any sport and even more so to playing in a position as critical as team quarterback. He was continually named to the list of Big Bend Leaders in football, where he held the number one position of quarterback for most of the season. Also, throughout his high school football career, he was continually named on the List of Big Bend Leaders on the gridiron.
At the end of his first year on the varsity team for the Warriors, he had a total of 146 pass completions out of 263 attempts for 16 touchdowns and 1,780 yards.
He played at Aucilla again in his eighth grade year and then transferred to North Florida Christian (NFC), where he has been playing for the Eagles for the past three years.
NFC Head Football Coach Robert Craft said of Dobson, “Matt is in his third season here at NFC. The first two years he started at freesafety and was the back-up quarterback. This year, as a junior, he was the starting quarterback.”
NFC finished the past season with six wins and four losses. At the end of the season, Dobson had 130 completions on 223 pass attempts for 1,888 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also had 94 carries for 587 yards and five touchdowns.
“Matt is a leader for our football team both on and off the field,” said Craft. “He leads by example in his determination in the weight room and his commitment to film study.”
Through his dedication and determination, Dobson religiously trains throughout the year to better himself on the football field and stay in the best possible shape.
NFC is involved in a 7-on-7 passing league all summer and they have weightlifting four days per week as well as conditioning throughout the year and Dobson is always in attendance during these sessions.
Dobson was chosen as the Tallahassee Quarterbacks Club Offensive Player of the Week two weeks this past season and he received the Offensive Player of the Year award in December.
So far this year, Dobson has been contacted by FSU, Florida, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisville, University of South Florida, Texas A & M, Notre Dame and Nebraska among others for college scholarships.
“Matt is also a leader in our school,” added Craft.
“As a junior, his GPA (grade point average) is 4.2, due to his being in honors classes, which carries a higher weight than regular classes do.”
He plans to major in Education; he wants to teach and be a high school football coach.
Dobson said he would certainly love to play in the NFL one day but he realizes it is very difficult to do as only a small percentage of college players make it into the NFL.
He added that if it happened, that would be great but for now he just wants to concentrate on leading his team to a state championship next year and deciding which college is the best fit for him.
Dobson was asked what he would tell a youngster who aspired to be like him athletically. “Get your priorities in order. God should be first because football is not eternal. Your family should come second followed by academics and then football. No matter what you are doing, always do the best you can and give it 110 percent. Be a leader in the classroom and on the field. For on-the-field success, you’ll need to have fun and love what you are doing,” said Dobson. “Never take one play or one repetition off, whether you are at practice, in a game or in the weight room.”
In his spare time, Dobson enjoys hunting, fishing and attending church functions. He says he tries to keep everything well balanced by devoting the right amount of time to practicing, studying and spending time doing extracurricular activities.
He is the son of Jefferson County residents Terry and Rhonda Dobson and the grandson of Ron and Martha Smoak, of Madison.
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By Fran Hunt