GOLDEN, Colo. — The season couldn’t have started much better for the Colorado School of Mines Football team with a 42-3 opening win over Western Oregon.
The Orediggers, who were ranked No. 10 heading into the season in the AFCA Coaches preseason poll, were led by junior quarterback John Matocha, who was 20-32, threw for 199 yards, four touchdowns and had just one interception.
In the past, Matocha has been described by head coach Gregg Brandon as a “gamer.”
“I’d say I think it’s because I want to win,” Matocha told 9NEWS. “I think I’d do anything there is to win. I’m not really afraid of much. I’m willing to put my body on the line.”
This gamer from Magnolia, Texas has also been described as a happy-to-be-here, enjoying life, kind of guy.
“Leaving my family back home and kind of taking this adventure to Colorado was a real jump but I wake up every day and feel blessed. You can look around and it’s beautiful. Every day is beautiful and every day is an opportunity to get better. I feel like every day is a blessing and I want to take advantage of that," Matocha said.
As a freshman in 2019, Matocha was sensational for the Orediggers. He was nominated for Division II’s version of the Heisman Trophy: The Harlon Hill Trophy. He was the only freshman in the country to be nominated.
“It was obviously an honor but I think it’s a representation of the entire program. Obviously I wouldn’t be close to that honor without five in front of me, four outside, running back, defense," he said.
Matocha, along with star running back Michael Zeman (a Wheat Ridge native), is a prime candidate to have a shot at winning Division II’s most decorated honor.
“I say I want to be the best no matter what. I’m always striving to be the best I can be, be the best in the country. I don’t want to say it’s an expectation but it is something I would like to achieve," Matocha said.
And if Matocha isn’t on the football field, he’s probably focusing on his computer science major. So one could wonder, is there any correlation between playing quarterback and computer science?
"I’d say problem solving. I mean as a quarterback, personally I like to scramble a lot. Sometimes I put myself in bad situations, but you always got to get out of them," he said.
Matocha is listed as a junior on the team’s roster but he technically has two more years of eligibility after the 2021 season due to last year’s campaign being canceled due to COVID-19.
This problem solving gamer made it very clear what he wants to do in his time left at Mines.
“National championship, that’s a pretty easy answer. That’s what we’re striving for. That’s what we practice for every single day and we’re coming for it," Matocha said.