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The Jefferson quarterback, who some think is too short to play big-time college football, has won 20 of 23 starts.
By SCOTT PURKS
© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 23, 2001
TAMPA -- Jefferson quarterback Matt Glavich runs around the field before practice, but he's not throwing footballs. He's catching them.
"He's like a puppy out there," Jefferson offensive coordinator Mike Fenton said. "He's all over the place. Loves to run."
Glavich -- who has completed a county-best 133 of 206 passes for 2,121 yards, 23 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions -- being compared to a ... puppy?
"Yeah," Fenton said, "the guy has a lot of energy."
But there's so much more: strong arm (can throw it 50 to 60 yards), strong mind (has started since he was a sophomore) and strong will (watch him lower his head and crash into a defender for an extra yard).
"It's not that I like to get hit," Glavich said. "It's just that I want to get every yard that I can possibly get. I mean, you never know, that one extra yard might be the difference between winning and losing.
"And all I want to do is win."
Which is what he does just about every time.
The past two seasons, Glavich has quarterbacked 23 Jefferson games and won 20 of them, including three playoff victories.
None of his games, however, could be more important than the ones in these playoffs. For a couple of reasons.
"First, I think this team has a great chance to win a state title, and because this is my senior year, it makes it that much more special," he said. "But along with that, getting farther along in the playoffs would also give me a chance to show more college scouts what I can do."
For now, the word on the street is that recruiters from the big-name programs aren't beating down Glavich's door because they think he's too short. He's listed at 5 feet 11 in the program, but that might be stretching it a bit.
"But I'm here to tell you that Matt's height is not an issue," Fenton said. "You can say what you want about him, but the bottom line is that he keeps winning and he keeps playing at a very high level.
"I hope we keep winning for a lot of reasons, but one of them is so people can see that Matt can play great against great competition. These playoff games can silence some of the questions about his size."
Next up is Lake Gibson, which hosts tonight's Class 4A state quarterfinal with a quarterback, Alex Dukes, who is similar to Glavich.
Dukes is 5-9 and has completed 119 of 203 passes for 1,902 yards, 20 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. Dukes has also rushed 70 times for 489 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Lake Gibson (11-1) did take a significant hit during last week's 38-31 victory against Lakewood, when it lost leading rusher Rod McNeal to a broken arm.
But the Braves, who have averaged 31 points a game, still have plenty of talent to fall back on.
"We know (Lake Gibson) is the real thing," Glavich said. "And we learned last week (in a come-from-behind 21-14 victory against Winter Haven) that you can't take anyone for granted. Not for a second. We're in the playoffs now, and we've got to keep up our intensity.
"It's time to show people what we're made of."