River Ridge football coach Scott Schmitz sees it as further testimony that the Knights are building a strong football program: Five more players from the 1996 team are moving on to try to play in college.
Jason Matthews, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound cornerback, signed a full scholarship with West Virginia Wesleyan, a Division II school in Buckhannon.
Matthews, a key member of the 7-4 Knights, finished with four interceptions and was third on the team with 63 tackles. As a running back, Matthews carried the ball 81 times for 621 yards (7.8 avg.) and scored nine touchdowns. He is expected to play cornerback or free safety.
Fullback Aaron Dobbins will take his full-ahead running style and power blocking to Dana College, an NAIA school in Blair, Neb., on a partial scholarship. The 5-10, 195-pounder recorded 152 carries and 1,012 yards and 15 touchdowns. Dobbins, who scored two touchdowns and rushed for over 200 yards against SAC champions Pasco High, also had six receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown.
Two River Ridge linemen, Jake Tavo and Steve Long, have narrowed their choice down to Division III Greensboro College and Division II Wingate University, both in North Carolina.
Tavo, a 6-3, 235-pounder was an All-SAC offensive lineman and played guard and defensive tackle for the Knights. He will play defensive tackle in college. At 6-3, 230 pounds, Long played on the offensive and defensive lines.
"All of these kids have worked very hard over the last few years to help put this program in a position to send players on to scholarships," Schmitz said. "We feel really good about where our program is going and these kids are proof of that. We are mostly just happy for the great opportunities that these guys will have."
A fifth player, tight end Tim Hernandez, has accepted an invitation to walk on at Division I-AA Western Kentucky. Hernandez, 6-4, 225, had 16 receptions for 253 yards and caught three touchdowns last year.
Quarterback and placekicker T.J. Tucker, a Parade All-American, signed with Florida last month.