GAME FOUR: Stafford Municipal School District Stadium
Eagle Football 28
Stafford 21

Quarterback Peyton Matocha ’19 took part in all four Eagle touchdowns including a stunning record-smashing 98-yard connection with receiver Hunter Cheek ‘19 while a suddenly revitalized defense delivered two essential fourth-quarter stops as Eagle Football registered its first victory of the 2018 season.

The Eagles broke a 14-14 deadlock midway third period with Matocha accounting for all 63 yards in the scoring series. Consecutive runs from the 11-yard line produced the go-ahead touchdown and a 21-14 advantage.

The Eagles defense then forced the latest in a slew of a empty Stafford possessions and took over at their two-yard line with 5:06 remaining in the quarter. On the first snap, Matocha orchestrated a four-receiver set with vertical routes slicing the Stafford secondary.

Cheek beat isolation coverage at the line of scrimmage, broke open up the right sideline, made the grab and outraced defenders to the end zone. His slight hesitation cut inside the 15-yard line plus dive across the goal line completed the longest touchdown strike in school history that proved to be the margin of victory.

Head Coach Rich McGuire
“We had to make plays to win, especially on defense. This is a great jolt of confidence for our entire group that held tight and together through adversity to start out the season. Great pride to see their effort and ethic result with a win.”

Matocha and Cheek were the crushing combo in a quicksilver series in the final two minutes of the first half.

The two tag-teamed for three completions around a Matocha mad scramble on fourth-and-two that secured the necessary first down. A 16-yard pitch-and-catch directly followed and led to Matocha’s payoff to Dylan Dixon ‘19 for a 14-7 edge nine seconds before halftime.

For the first time in the first month of the season, the Eagles discovered a defensive physicality that delivered drive-killing sacks and game-changing turnovers.

The addition and influence of Doug Smith to the coaching staff cannot be overvalued.   The son of the former two-time All-SEC defensive tackle at Auburn and eight-year force with the Houston Oilers brought a savvy and insight to the program that paid immediate dividends.

“It was a combination of message and messenger. Doug kept our group disciplined and patient while also getting them off the ball with urgency. Our tackling was much better from the linebacking unit throughout the game.”

In seven first-half series, the resurgent Eagles allowed only seven points, forced five punts (including four three-and-outs) and a missed field goal.

Stafford’s two third-quarter touchdowns were fueled by short-field opportunities created by Eagle giveaways.

All of which served simply as the prelude. In the early minutes of the fourth quarter, it was game on or game over

Stafford was a single yard away from a first down inside the Eagle 30. But a hard-charging front seven created havoc, a botched snap and fumble, and critical change of possession that kept the 28-21 count intact.

On the next defensive series, Stafford advanced to the red zone when Chidera Umeh ‘20 caved the passing pocket and pounced on a loose ball that silenced the final Stafford salvo. The Eagles then effectively killed the final 5:34 of the game, converting two third downs before a fourth-down laser from Matocha to Josh Crissmon ’20 sealed the outcome.

The Eagles scored first for the fourth straight game this season. Matocha’s keeper capped a five-play 79-yard drive that featured his 52-yard romp and three carries from Ian Wheeler ‘19 worth 27 yards.

Matocha continues to saturate the stat column. He’s now accounted for 18 touchdowns in a sizzling three-game stretch. He threw for five scores and 501 yards while running for 49 and a third TD at Needville in Week 3, then scorched Kinkaid for 533 yards and six touchdowns plus 59 rushing yards and two more in the home opener at Hotze Field inside Granger Stadium.

The St. Thomas win was the first-ever football encounter with UIL District 12-4A Div. I Stafford.

The Eagles are honoring Joe Little ‘18 throughout the 2018 season with a helmet decal after the Texas A&M freshmen tragically passed away in College Station days before the 2018-19 academic year was to begin. St. Thomas is also flashing a back-to-the-future helmet logo representing the timeless Tom Eagle design.

The Red & White are in the first season of a partnership with NIKE which was negotiated early in 2018. The fiercely innovative program-wide agreement, unparalleled in school history, is supplying 12 varsity sports, with Eagle Basketball featuring the Jumpman logo as the Jordan Brand continues to expand both on the court and on the field.

It’s dangerous to make too many sweeping generalizations off a small sample size but the uptick in defensive presence gives the Eagles hope to stabilize after a stumbling start.

There was no panic.

There was poise, resilience, determination and execution on the road when victory was determined. And there was a belief that the initial three games out of the gate were simply the beginning, refusing to treat it like the end.


Glory keeps me drivin’
Mountains I keep climbin’
Won’t fall down
Gotta rise up
Through the finish line
Cause I’m so close
I can almost taste it

You could be the bravest
You could be the greatest
Set the world on fire
Burn a little higher
Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh

Eagle Football next face a return match with Cedar Hill Trinity Christian, the reigning TAPPS Div. II state champions featuring Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders as offensive coordinator and several elite college prospects, including Sanders’ sons Shilo and Shedeur.

The Eagles then host UIL District 5-4A Div. I China Spring October 5 in the annual Homecoming game.

“Our offense will respond next week because I know they’re not satisfied with this performance. They have to execute better than tonight and they will.”

A champion is someone who gets up
Even when they can’t
They don’t come to get it all
They come to give it all
And legends are made
In moments like this

You could be the bravest
You could be the greatest
Set the world on fire
Burn a little higher
Oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh

Eagle Fight Never Dies!