High School Sports

Stephon Mathis, Merced


Merced running back

A year's experience on the varsity, and the maturity that came from playing with a nagging leg injury, helped Stephon Mathis prepare for his last year of high school football.

"Stephon has really taken care of himself in terms of conditioning and preparation," coach Rob Scheidt said. "Stephon is a very physical runner with great speed and vision. This makes him explosive, especially on long runs like he had last Friday night."

Mathis had 19 carries for 183 yards and two TDs in a 31-17 win over defending section D-I champ Napa. He reminds some of his brother Wendell, who played at Merced before going to UCLA and Fresno State.

"There has been interest from Division I programs, but Fresno State has to be one on the top of his list," said Scheidt, whose back averages 10.8 yards a carry. "Stephon and Wendell are very similar in their ability to explode on any given play. Stephon runs over his pads a little more, but Wendell had tremendous speed."