With a host of returning players, Chaparral will start the season as one of the favorites to make a run for a 4A division I state title. Teams like Chaparral, which win consistently, rely on athletes who contribute in multiple ways. One such player on the Firebirds roster is linebacker/kicker Matt Boatman. Last season, Boatman led his team in tackles from the linebacker position while tallying 34 points as a kicker.
24-7: What is your favorite thing about playing high school football?
Matt Boatman: Friday nights!
24-7: What is your official height and weight?
Matt Boatman: I'm 6'1 and 200 pounds.
24-7: What is your greatest football memory?
Matt Boatman: Kicking the game winning field goal against Sunnyside in the semi-finals and winning state the next week.
24-7: What are your personal goals for the upcoming season?
Matt Boatman: To be a standout linebacker and kicker.
24-7: How are you preparing for the upcoming season? Will you attend any camps this summer? Have you gone to any combines? How did you do.
Matt Boatman: I train hard with my football team everyday. I went to the Chris Sailor kicking combine and was fortunate enough to make it to the championships.
24-7: What aspect of your game have you really worked hard to improve? What area would you like to keep improving on?
Matt Boatman: I have worked really hard on improving my speed and my kicking, and hope to keep improving my strength.
24-7: Who are some of your teammates that people need to watch out for?
24-7: Name one teammate you really respect and why?
Matt Boatman: There are two teammates I really respect; Nick Neuenfeldt and Travis Blanchard. I respect them for all their hard work. Both have improved tremendously.
24-7: What are your goals regarding playing football in college?
Matt Boatman: I hope to play Division I football and believe I have a better chance as a kicker.
24-7: Who is currently recruiting you? Do you have any offers yet? Who are your top 5?
Matt Boatman: There has been interest from Northwestern, Columbia, the Naval Academy and Baylor. I don't really have a top 5.
24-7: Would you consider staying in state to play in college?
Matt Boatman: Yes, I would stay in Arizona.
24-7: Who is the best player you ever played against? Why?
Matt Boatman: Tim House. He is so evasive and fast it's almost impossible to tackle him, especially when he is behind 285 pound linemen. I remember playing him in Pop Warner when I was on the Scottsdale Marlins and he was awesome even then.
24-7: Name one team who you really respect and tell us why?
Matt Boatman: I respect Tucson Sunnyside. They have a great program and are always a classy team.
24-7: What other sports do you play?
Matt Boatman: I took up lacrosse last year. I have also wrestled and played baseball.
24-7: What are your best max lifts in the bench, squat, power clean and 40 yard dash?
Matt Boatman: I bench 240, squat 435, clean 235 and have a 4.68 40-yard dash.
24-7: How do you think your coach would describe you as a player?
Matt Boatman: Smart, very coachable, good attitude, good work ethic, clutch.
24-7: Who is your favorite pro athlete and tell us why?
Matt Boatman: Brett Favre, because he's the man.
24-7: Tell me about Chaparral this year. What will the team need to do to make a run at a state title? What do you see as the strength of the team? What areas are you working on?
Matt Boatman: To win state we need to beat a lot of good teams, but we will know early in the season where we stand. We have one of the toughest schedules in Arizona, playing Cactus, Moon Valley, Sabino and Saguaro. Our strength is our senior leadership and experience. We really don't have any weaknesses we are pretty solid all around. We need to work on our toughness a little bit and our younger linemen will need to step up.
24-7 would like to thank Matt and his family for helping with this interview.