Temple coach Steve Addazio's familiarity with the football landscape in Connecticut has paid off this month, when Temple received verbal commitments from two former Connecticut high school standouts: running back Montrell Dobbs (Ansonia) and 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker Tyler Matakevich (St. Joseph).
Both Dobbs and Matakevich graduated from high school in 2011, and played prep school football at Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y., last season.
Addazio is a Connecticut native who played at Central Connecticut State (1978-81) and coached at Cheshire High School (1988-94).
Dobbs originally committed to Connecticut, but could not gain admission because of an academic issue. He said he thought about playing for Marshall, until Temple entered the picture. He met with Addazio and Temple assistant coach Sean McGowan last Friday. Temple extended a scholarship offer Tuesday.
“I really didn't have to think about it much, especially since Tyler and I have become good friends and he's going there,” Dobbs said. “I wanted to stay closer to home anyway. I was a good fit for me.”
Dobbs rushed for 3,445 yards and scored 45 touchdowns during his senior season at Ansonia. He was Milford Academy's offensive MVP last season.
Dobbs said he may be a partial qualifier and not allowed to play next season.
“I don't know if I'm going to be playing this year,” he said. “I'm gonna find that out. All I know is I'm definitely going to school at Temple.”
An injury forced Matakevich to miss the first five games of his senior season, when he helped St. Joseph win the second of back-to-back Class S championships. St. Joseph beat a Dobbs-led Ansonia team 49-28 to win the 2010 championship. Matakevich scored four touchdowns in that victory.
Matakevich was a two-time all-state selection who caught Temple's eye at a postseason college combine.
“I love everything about Temple,” Matakevich told the Connecticut Post. “I'm so happy to finally get this done after all that hard work. It's finally paid off.”
SATHER COLLECTS MILESTONE WIN
It took a little longer than expected, but the Fairfield Prep hockey team handed head coach Matt Sather career victory No. 200 when it beat Amity 3-1 Wednesday.
The start of the game was delayed by a one-hour power outage at the Wonderland of Ice. Fairfield Prep prevailed despite 45 saves by Amity goaltender Nikolas Nuzzolo.
The victory raised Fairfield Prep's record to 7-2 overall and 6-0 against Connecticut competition.
Sather, a 1993 Fairfield Prep graduate, has a career record of 200-79-12. He has guided the Jesuits to seven CIAC state championships, including a 5-0 victory over St. Joseph in last year's title game.
Sather replaced Marty Roos as Fairfield Prep's head coach in 1999. Roos is the winningest high school hockey coach in state history.
Three Connecticut basketball teams will compete in this weekend's Hoophall Classic at Springfield College.
The marquee game involving a Connecticut team will take place Saturday night (8), when Northwest Catholic faces DeMatha Catholic from Hyattsville, Maryland. Northwest Catholic had a 7-0 record entering Thursday night's game against Simsbury. DeMatha (12-0) is ranked No. 5 in the ESPN Fab 50 rankings.
In addition, Windsor and St. Thomas More will each play a team from Massachusetts. Windsor will face Springfield Central on Saturday at noon; and St. Thomas More will meet Wilbraham & Monson Academy on Sunday at noon.
HALL COACH EARNS NATIONAL AWARD
Hall tennis coach Jim Solomon will receive the U.S. Tennis Association's 2011 Starfish Award for his "no-cut" policy on the school's girls and boys tennis teams.
Since 2005, 12 coaches have received the Starfish Award, according to the USTA.
Solomon has been Hall's coach for 37 years. The Warriors have a 463-62 record during that span. Last season 50 girls and 47 boys were on the Hall tennis teams.
In 2010, the National High School Coaches' Association named Solomon the boys tennis coach of the year. He was inducted into the Connecticut High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2003.
Roger Brown has covered high school sports in New England since 1992. He publishes the New Hampshire Football Report, and covers high school and college football in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.