Senior Magnolia West High quarterback John Matocha dazzled the maroon and gold-clad faithful with his arm and feet many a fall Friday night the past three years and will look to do the same for his new fans on Saturdays as a true freshman on the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers football team.
Magnolia Independent School District athletic director J.D. Berna witnessed Matocha’s feats when he was the head coach of the Mustangs football program. Having groomed the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Matocha prior to assuming his current position, Berna told Texas Scorecard that the dual-threat signal-caller was “the best thing that I could have on the field.”
“He’s got all the intangibles that you’re looking for in an athlete and just as a human being in general,” said Berna, who was promoted to AD earlier this year. “He’s a joy to be around. He’s very humble, but at the same time, he’s extremely competitive. Bottom line: he’s just a winner.”
Matocha’s competitive nature was evident since he was handed the keys to the Magnolia West offense as a sophomore. He led the Mustangs to a district title and three consecutive playoff appearances, earning his now-former coach an impressive 25-9 mark at the southwest Montgomery County school.
Berna recalled a moment during Matocha’s junior season when the three-sport athlete (he also lettered in basketball and baseball) took the Tomball Memorial High defense for a long ride.
“We’re in need of a first down against (Tomball) Memorial,” the AD explained. “It’s 4th and 6. We call a pass play. He rolls out. Memorial’s defense does a really good job of covering our receivers and he just takes off running. He makes two guys miss and then he dives in the air – gets hit mid-air – and as he’s being hit out of bounds, he reaches with the football across the first-down marker to get a first down.”
The Deshaun Watson-esque play helped the Mustangs beat the Wildcats, 45-40.
“That incredible effort and desire to make the play and (to) be in that situation, he thrives on that,” said Berna.
In his senior season, Matocha threw for 3,441 yards and 38 touchdowns against just seven interceptions. Additionally, he pounded the turf for 868 yards and 15 touchdowns.
His offensive wizardry did not go unnoticed as he earned a title here and an accolade there. A local newspaper bestowed its Player of the Year honor on him while the Mike Ogg Rotary Club named him its Male Athlete of the Year.
Matocha did not win a state championship in football, but he hopes to help the baseball team be the last one standing in the 2019 Baseball State Championships – 2019 Baseball 5A Region 1 & 3 tournament. As of this writing, Magnolia West is preparing to play its second game against Nederland.
Berna said that Matocha, who will graduate sixth in his class on May 25 and major in computer science at Mines, “has been tremendous” to all who have known him.
“Just everything he does is about hard work and trying to be the best,” he said.
The AD added that Mines is getting “a dynamic, passionate, committed young man that’s going to try to develop excellence not only in everything he does… but get the guys around him up to his expectations and leadership.”
As for parting advice for his protégé?
“My advice for John is to keep being him… his future is bright and I can’t wait to see the things that are in order for him,” said Berna.