The memories of Friday night high school football games at George Auten Athletic Complex Stadium are still vivid in Matt Geer’s mind.
Geer recalls hearing the roar of the crowd.
He remembers watching games and seeing his father, Brian Geer, coach as an assistant to veteran coach Joe Yost along the Ellet sideline.
Some nights it was nice and warm outside. Other nights it rained and was cold. Regardless, little Matt was around a school and a game he loves.
“I definitely bleed orange and blue,” Matt Geer said following a recent practice as he enters his senior year at Ellet. “I remember being a little kid and coming up here. I got to play with my brother [Nate Geer] when I was a freshman and he was a senior. I remember coming up here as a little kid and watching two-a-days. I have known the coaches not only as coaches. I have known them my whole life as individuals, who are almost another father figure or an uncle.”
Geer, who is 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, enjoys playing for his father on most days, but sometimes a small squabble can develop, which is natural in a parent-child relationship.
“It is kind of good and bad,” Matt Geer said. “It has its ups and downs. It is a plus because I get to know what is going on more and go over things at home.”
Matt helped Ellet to a memorable season last year. The Orangemen won the City Series championship with a 6-0 league mark, advanced to the Division II playoffs and finished with an 8-3 overall record.
Geer stood out as a fullback and linebacker. He rushed 199 times for 861 yards and 10 touchdowns, and added eight receptions for 84 yards and two touchdowns. He also made 102 tackles, had 3½ sacks and intercepted two passes.
The Orangemen have high expectations this season with a bulk of key players returning among 22 lettermen.
“We are definitely preparing to be the best we can be,” Matt Geer said. “We are going to be ready for the City. We know Buchtel, Firestone, Kenmore and everybody that we beat are gunning for us. We have a target on our back. We have to show up and do what we do because if we don’t people might say what happened last year was a fluke, and I definitely don’t want that to happen my senior year because we have gotten better every year since I have been here. I just want to continue the trend.”
Ellet posted records of 4-6 and 6-4 before last year’s 8-3. Matt Geer started on the varsity team as a freshman and last year earned his third letter along with classmates Hussain Hamdan and Jacob Isenhart.
Matt played fullback and safety his freshman year, and enjoyed running around the field with his older brother, Nate.
“It got very competitive,” Matt Geer said. “Coming up, I had to work my way up. Going against the No. 1s he and I definitely had a few collisions and some words were exchanged, but it is what it is. It is big brother and little brother thing. Once it came time to take that field we made it work, and it worked out really well.”
Matt has played fullback and linebacker since his sophomore year. In three years, he has rushed 175 times for 1,029 yards and 11 touchdowns; caught 16 passes for 137 yards and three touchdowns and made 237 tackles with 6½ sacks and two interceptions.
“The Geers are a very nice family, and Matt is a great student and athlete,” Yost said. “I have great respect toward Brian and my entire staff of coaches. Matt really is a student of the game. He is a coach’s son. He focuses on how each play can be critical.”
Yost has also noticed that the father-son relationship is strong enough that constructive criticism does not cause a problem.
“One thing about coaching a coach’s son, regardless of which son it was, because I have had six or seven sons go through it, is I have always been amazed at how tough the fathers are on their sons,” Yost said. “Matter of fact, at times I have had to sort pull the coach back a little bit because they are very demanding of their sons.
“Another thing I have noticed is the sons have truly understood how important football is to their family. I know to a lot of people, it is just a game, and it is, but on the same token when it is the business that your father has chosen to be in it is important. From the time they are a little boy, they realize when you walk into a room after a game, the tone of the whole household changes immediately. It is different world when you lose than when you win. We would like to say it isn’t so, but when you work and put the time in that quality coaches do, it does change the tone of the house. If you’re a coach’s son, you realize it can be more than a game.”
For the Geers, it is a game and an opportunity to have fun under the lights on a Friday night.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.