FRISCO, Texas -- Just under a month from winning its eighth state title, the city of Southlake might welcome another champion back into the Land of Dragons.
Sam Houston State guard Matt Boyles returned home this week for the FCS national championship game Saturday at sold-out Pizza Hut Park in Frisco.
Boyles, just a sophomore, has started on the line in 11 of the Bearkats’ 14 games this season, including every playoff game.
To say Boyles' success comes from the emotion he displays on the gridiron would be quite the understatement, Southlake Carroll High School coach Hal Wasson said.
“He has a real nasty mindset in the trenches, but back in the fieldhouse he was a typical good student and good kid, but he could go to that real schizophrenic nature between the lines,” Wasson said.
Boyles agrees that his hard work and attitude has been key in his success early in his collegiate career, but he's able to turn it off when he leaves the field.
“I tend to get a little aggravated at stuff. I just try to keep my effort going all out and then try to turn it off when I step off the field and try to be as good of a person I can be," Boyles said with a laugh.
Boyles got used to playing in front of big crowds at Dragon Stadium and during their annual playoff runs, which will help stave off any jitters before Saturday's game in Frisco.
“We’d have sellout crowds at home, and we played Trinity my sophomore year in front of 60,000 people and you get used to it. But then again you don’t,” Boyles said. “You’re always going to get butterflies and everyone is going crazy for you. You’re just excited and want to play your best and bring home that trophy.”
Boyles is a key cog in the Bearkats' exciting and unorthodox offense that combines options, play-action passes and wildcat formations. The line has helped produce 4,077 rushing yards this season, with the opportunity for two rushers to finish over the 1,000-yard mark.
The offense is a lineman’s dream, giving the big boys an opportunity to show off athletic abilities that are rarely noticed.
“It’s not just a traditional offense where we’re just blocking,” Boyles said. “You see us pulling out, and that’s everyone’s favorite play -- to get out in the open field and chop someone down and get a little recognition. People actually see you when you’re not down in the trenches and you’re out there just having fun.”
With a win Saturday, Boyles will have a chance to experience the same kind of fun his Silver Fox Swag Dragon kin celebrated at Cowboys Stadium in middle December.
“I got to come back and go to the state [title] game, and that’s really cool to see my high school do that," Boyles said. "I think it would be really cool to win a national championship in college and a state championship in high school and be a part of such great programs.”