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Guest interview

Matt Barkley: Quarterback Leads In Stats and Prayer

By Will Dawson
The 700 Club September has arrived in Santa Ana, California; and with it the unmistakable sounds of high school football.

But this isn’t your typical high school football team. This is Mater Dei. The Monarchs are recognized as one of the top two football programs in the country. They have a reputation for turning out quarterbacks who eventually make it to the NFL.

This year, senior Matt Barkley returns as the starting quarterback. This season, he’s ranked as the number one player in the country, and already has a full scholarship to the University of Southern California for next year. 

“From the first moment I was actually playing quarterback in organized tackle football, I knew this was the game for me,” Matt said.

Matt’s accomplishments on the field are a credit to his athleticism, but those who know him best say his character is key to his success.

Matt Barkley with his parents

“The accolades are not going to affect Matt Barkley. Matt Barkley gives all his credit to the Lord and at the end of the day that’s his mission,” his coach said.

Matt credits his parents for instilling Christian values.

“It’s been neat to see them in a Godly relationship as an example for me growing up.  And to have their love and support has been amazing,” Matt said.

Matt’s parents always knew Matt was physically gifted, so they concentrated on praying for his spiritual well being.

“Matt has always been very outwardly strong. From a baby, when he was walking at 8-months-old, all the way through. But our prayer has been that he would be strong in his inner man, to be able to detect the temptations that abound. We have confidence that he’ll be strong in his inner man first, no matter what happens on the outside,” said his father, Les Barkley.

Matt’s leadership on the field speaks for itself. His coach is impressed with his initiative off the field as well.

“Matt just came up with an idea. He came to me [asking] for just in between game time and after warm ups, a short prayer service. No pressure, you know, whoever wants to attend, led by Matt,” Matt’s coach said. “Some of the coaches participated. That thing has grown. That’s where this boy is at.”

“It’s been neat to see the team shift, in a sense, toward God,” Matt said.

Last season the Monarchs finished nine and two. This year, anything short of a state championship would be a disappointment. But through victory or defeat, fame or failure, Matt’s focus remains the same.

Matt Barkley and family

“Knowing that we’re here for a purpose, and I’m not just here to play football and win awards. There’s something bigger than that. I‘ve been given certain abilities and talents to be used for the glory of God. I’d say my priorities are God first, my family definitely second, and then football and schoolwork are kind of mixed in there. He’s my Lord and Savior. He’s who I play for. He’s who I play football for. He’s everything,” Matt said.

“You know, this could all be gone in the blink of an eye. This has all been given to me.  There’s been some hard work here and there, but for the most part my abilities, I can’t take anything for granted. He’s brought me this far and it’s been great, and I know that just whatever He has will be just the same,” Matt said.

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