By Andrew Johnson
Local Sports Journal
HOWARD CITY – Dylan Matulis is finally getting some well-deserved rest.
The Tri-County High School junior took on a dizzying schedule this fall, involving more commitment and hard work than most adults could endure.
He played varsity soccer and was one of the top scorers in the state, collecting a whopping 54 goals and 14 assists for the Vikings. He played on the varsity football team, serving as a defensive back and placekicker.
He played drums in the marching band, which practiced during the week and performed at football games. And he maintained his membership in the National Honor Society, which involved about an hour per day of volunteer community service.
Now the season is finally over, and he can put up his feet for a change.
“It’s amazing,” Matulis admitted about the chance to relax and watch television after school. “I get to eat a real dinner for a change, instead of grabbing a quick snack before practice.”
His day started with a college math class at 6:20 a.m. That was followed by his regular class schedule, when focusing was sometimes difficult, due to the football game coming up that night.
“I’m excited on game days,” Matulis said. “I had to remind myself to stay focused on school because I was often thinking about the game coming up.”
When school was over Matulis was off to a two-hour soccer practice, which would be enough to exhaust most athletes. From there he dashed to the football locker room to prepare for the game with his teammates.
At halftime, when his team left the field, he stayed to play with the band.
“I would talk to my coaches right before the second half and ask them if we were making any adjustments and what was discussed at halftime,” Matulis said.
In the past Matulis stuck to soccer in the fall. But this year he decided to return to football, which he hadn’t played since the sixth grade.
Originally he was only supposed to serve as the placekicker, but that changed when the coaches realized he could do a lot more.
“I just started practicing in other positions and showed them what I could do,” said Matulis, who admitted he surprised himself by adjusting so quickly to varsity football. “The physicality of the sport and the hitting was something I had to get used to.”
The football/soccer arrangement involved a lot of dedication from Matulis, and a lot of cooperation between coaches.
“I was about 60 percent soccer and 40 percent football,” Matulis said. “I made all of the soccer practices and tried to make as any football practices as possible.”
That was fine with his soccer coach, who also happens to be his father, Vic Matulis.
“Dylan is a leader who has the desire that some kids just don’t have,” Vic Matulis said. ”He gets to places that you just don’t think he can get to.”
Tri-County football coach Phil Butler was happy to have Matulis on the team, even with a limited practice schedule.
“He’ll make one or two practices a week for us, but soccer comes first,” said Butler during the season.
Butler said he noticed that soccer and football players were more supportive of each other this fall, and believes Matulis helped build that unity.
“I haven’t heard a single complaint from any parent or any athlete when it comes to what Dylan is doing,” Butler said.
Even with his head-spinning extracurricular schedule, Matulis has been able to maintain a sparkling 3.9 grade point average.
He said his sophomore math teacher, Bob Morrison, helped him organize his time and excel in his endeavors.
“He makes sure I’m doing all my work and that I’m not slacking off because I have football or soccer practice,” Matulis said. “He’s the best.”