Courtesy photoNotre Dame-bound Matthew Dickerson missed his entire senior season at Serra because of a back injury.

Courtesy photoNotre Dame-bound Matthew Dickerson missed his entire senior season at Serra because of a back injury.

Injury has kept Notre Dame-bound Dickerson on the Serra sideline during his senior year

Losing to rival Bellarmine by a single yard in last year’s Central Coast Section Open Division semifinal 17-12 hurt.

But not as much as the ensuing pain that followed the junior year of Serra defensive end Matthew Dickerson.

It was the summer before his senior season, and Dickerson’s back began to hurt. He braved the pain, until a CAT scan revealed a stress fracture in his vertebrae. And he couldn’t play anymore.

“When I got the news, it was hard,” said the 18-year-old Dickerson. “The doctor’s telling you you’re probably going to miss out on the whole season. The first month was probably the hardest, just trying to get over and trying to accept my injury.”

He did.

“Everything is on the bright side now,” Dickerson said.

Despite being relegated to musing from the sideline during the final year of his high school football career, Dickerson — one of the most highly sought out defensive linemen recruits on the West Coast — visited many schools in the Pac-12 Conference, except Stanford, and was offered a full-ride scholarship by storied program Notre Dame.

And with merely one year of varsity gridiron experience under his belt, the 6-foot-5, 275-pound D-lineman took it.

“When I get there, my whole goal is to have a great experience playing college ball. I have a vengeance, I have a chip on shoulder,” Dickerson said. “I just have so much anger missing out on my whole senior year. So right when I put on those pads, I’ll be ready to go.”

But for Dickerson, his football career was nearly for naught. Enamored with the game of basketball since the second grade, the San Francisco-born Dickerson opted to attend Serra in pursuit of a career on the hardwood court.

“I had no intention of playing football whatsoever,” Dickerson said. And neither did his parents, Clarence and Pam.

“They didn’t think I had the mindset to play Pop Warner,” he said.

Clarence, Matthew’s father and grizzled veteran of the collegiate gridiron, was a fullback at Henderson State University in Arkansas, and likewise was fully aware of the toll football takes on the human body.

“He’d get beat up a lot,” Matthew said of his father. “He didn’t want that to happen to his son.”

But Serra coach Patrick Walsh and former D-line coach Jason Hardee changed all that.

“My D-line coach always said I had a gift,” Dickerson said. “He said, ‘If you shut up and listen to me, you’re going to play college ball.’”

He proved to be right.

But before the lineman takes his talents to South Bend, he watched his Padres dominate Pioneer on Saturday 59-7, setting up a rematch of last year’s semifinal playoff against Bellarmine this weekend.

“It’s amazing,” Dickerson said. “I’m so proud of my teammates. I wish I was out there with them, but nothing is better than watching my team win and being a part of it.”

NEXT GAME

Serra vs. Bellarmine

WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Independence High School, San Jose

NOTE: Serra beat Bellarmine 17-7 in the regular seasonMatthew DickersonPrep Sports

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Dave Hodges, pastor at Zide Door, the Church of Entheogenic Plants that include marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms, holds some psychedelic mushrooms inside the Oakland church on Friday, July 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Psychedelic spirituality: Inside a growing Bay Area religious movement

‘They are guiding us into something ineffable’

A former inmate and a sheriff’s deputy are among the first four members chosen to serve on the newly created Sheriff’s Department Oversight Board. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Years after fight club scandal, Sheriff’s oversight board takes shape

‘We want to promote law enforcement best practices’

More than a thousand people gathered in front of the California Capitol building to protest Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay at home order and demand that the state re-open on May 1, 2020. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters)
Newsom blames ‘right-wing pundits’ for COVID surge

By Emily Hoeven CalMatters Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday placed the blame… Continue reading

Strong California revenues will allow the state to commit to offering no-cost food to every student. (Amanda Mills/Pixnio)
How California plans to offer free daily meals to 6 million public school students

By Ali Tadayon EdSource With one in every six children facing hunger… Continue reading

Most Read