Profiles: Matherly embraces team captain role, leads Bulldogs

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Ed Dudrick

Kole Matherly (35) collects a tackle against Heritage in the Bulldogs’ 54-28 win on Friday.

Every good football team has a leader. A bad leader can drag a team down; a good one can help take them far beyond their normal capabilities.

Luckily, the Bearden football team has one of the best around in middle linebacker Kole Matherly, a three-year starter who brings a combination of talent and leadership skills to the Bulldogs, who host Morristown East on Friday night at 7:30 (TV: BBN Sports Online).

Matherly, who has seen many offenses in his three-year reign, is definitely looked up to by many of the younger players and provides a top notch example of what a truly hardworking player looks like.

“His experience is very important with the amount of younger guys we have playing,” Bearden defensive coordinator Brian Tanner said. “He has seen a lot and been through most situations, and that experience is so valuable as a leader on our defense.”

This year, Matherly is not only a leader on defense; lately, he has carried his talents over to the offensive side of the ball. Because of an injury to junior linebacker and running back Griffin DeLong, Matherly has had to take the majority of the snaps at fullback.

And he is continuing Bearden’s recent tradition (see Peyton Landers and Trent Waters) of having fullbacks who can do more than just block. He averaged 18 yards per carry on offense in Bearden’s 54-28 win over Heritage on Friday to compliment his six tackles on the other side of the ball.

“I have been playing offense for a while – in practice, anyways – but this is the first time I’ve got to apply it in a game,” Matherly said. “I’ve known the plays since sophomore year, but I just haven’t had the opportunity to play a lot until this year.”

He also has taken the role of captain of the team and takes that position seriously, working hard to present a perfect representation of an above average leader and teach his younger teammates while he is at it.

“Being the captain of the team this year means the world to me because I love representing my great team as well as the entire Bearden community,” Matherly said. “I do my best to work hard every day to make that representation a good one.”

He shows that work ethic by attending every practice, workouts, and meetings as well as putting up above average grades in the classroom. In addition, Matherly pushes his teammates to do their best and constantly works at improving the team.

He’s hoping that improvement and hard work mean another win for Bearden (1-2) on Friday against Morristown East (2-1).

“We are preparing for it just like any other game,” Matherly said. “We know that they’re a good team and they want to beat us badly, so we have to play hard and hit them in the mouth repeatedly until they give up.”