If one were looking for a reason why the St. Ignatius football team captured its first West Catholic Athletic League regular-season title since 1967, you certainly wouldn’t have to search hard.
All anybody would have to do is look for the Wildcats’ massive offensive lineman — Matt Summers-Gavin.
Summers-Gavin has been the driving force behind Wildcats’ 8-2-1 record, helping them capture a share of theWCAL title as well as a 28-14 victory over Aptos in the opening round of the Central Coast Section Small School Division playoffs.
Next, the Wildcats will look to take down Los Altos in the semifinals Saturday at 3 p.m. at Foothill College.
"It’s a tremendous honor to do this for all the former players, alumni, parents and everyone associated with St. Ignatius," Summers-Gavin said. "We just want to keep this season going as long as possible."
At 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds, Summers-Gavin is a load to deal with, but he is much more than a huge, lumbering body.
"Matt’s gifts are just extraordinary," Wildcats coach Steve Bluford said. "His size, speed and strength are tremendous and he’s got great footwork. He has gotten better in all areas of his game since he’s been on the varsity and, most importantly, he knows what he has to execute within our system for us to be successful."
Summers-Gavin has steadily improved throughout his three years on the varsity, diligently working on his game to evolve into the dominating force he has become.
"I think I’ve improved in a lot of aspects over the last few years," said Summers-Gavin, who has been a major reason the Wildcats’ offense averages nearly 300 yards an outing. "One area I’ve really tried to focus on is my quickness off the ball. There are a lot of guys out there who are as big as I am, but if I can drive them off the ball, then I know I’ve done my job.
Summers-Gavin has been one of the most sought-after recruits in the Bay Area, drawing the attention of several of the nation’s premier college programs during the season.Notre Dame, Cal and Oregon are the impressive list of schools that are still vying for Summers-Gavin’s services.
Despite the heightened attention, Summers-Gavin has managed to stay focused throughout the year, both on his studies and on the Wildcats’ season.
"I’ve let all the coaches who are recruiting me know where my priorities are," said Summers-Gavin, a starter for the Wildcats since his sophomore year. "My main focus is on academics, then sports and finally the recruiting process. I’m really just trying to go out and enjoy my senior year."