By Kyle LoJacono
Matt Terry became the second Wiregrass Ranch football player to ink his name to a letter of intent this year when he signed with the Wisconsin Lutheran Warriors March 31.
“It’s a school with everything I value,” said Terry, who will study prelaw. “It has all the academic courses I want to take and I have the chance to go in and be a starter for all four years. Chance to play football and get a free education sounds good to me.”
The 6-foot-1, 225-pound defensive end and fullback helped Wiregrass Ranch finish with a 6-5 record, the first winning season for the program.
The Bulls also won the Class 4A-District 6 championship, another program first and a stark turnaround from the team that went 1-9 in 2007 and 2008.
“It was rough the first couple years,” Terry said. “We had to work up, but by this season our senior class knew we’d be ready. We had our opportunity to win the district and we took it.”
Terry said he believes it was a 43-6 loss in the first game this year against Sunlake that sparked their season.
“The first game against Sunlake, we went in there cocky because we’d beaten them every year,” Terry said. “I think that woke us up a little bit.”
Terry played fullback the first three games, where he had 101 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown.
He moved to defensive end in game four and helped the Bulls earn their first shutout ever in a 15-0 win against Ridgewood. Terry finished with 49 tackles, including three for loss, 3.5 sacks and one fumble recovery.
“I used a lot of what I learned as a fullback at defensive end,” Terry said. “They both take a lot of agility and footwork with power.”
Terry played at Wiregrass Ranch as a freshman, sophomore and senior, and with Wesley Chapel his junior year. Before that he played at John Long Middle under current Bulls football coach Jeremy Shobe.
“He’s always been a positive role model and a good leader,” Shobe said. “Very competitive spirit. He always brought competition to the table. Even in stretching and warm-ups he gave it everything he had. He’s always aggressive on the field, but very laid back off. That just goes to show he has a mature upbringing.”
Terry, who made All-Sunshine Athletic Conference second team this year, will play defensive end at Wisconsin Lutheran, which is a Division III program in Milwaukee. The Warriors went 6-4 last year while playing in the Northern Athletics Conference.