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Marin Catholic’s Perez becomes first generation college student

Matteo Perez carries the ball in the season finale at Redwood. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo
Matteo Perez carries the ball in the season finale at Redwood. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo

Marin Catholic senior running back Matteo Perez’s journey is one that inspires his family.

Perez, a star student-athlete at Marin Catholic, is set to be a first generation college student from his family, as he is signed to continue his football career at UC Davis. And not only is he going to college and making history in his family, but he’s going to a prestigious university in UC Davis, which is tabbed as the No. 39 university nationally by U.S. News.

What Perez is doing is something his family adores. He has volunteered in Mexico. Coached youth football. He simply loves to give back and serve others.

Soon, he’ll be able to make them more proud at UC Davis.

“They’re super proud, and I couldn’t have done it without them,” Perez said.

On the football field, too, Perez is doing everything he can.

He’s worked with current college running backs who showed him the way. There’s former Marin Catholic running back Cole Truex, who is a junior at Army. There’s Colby Jacques, a junior at Navy. And there’s Gaven Cooke, who is a defensive back at Iowa. 

“My mindset matured,” Perez said. “My game matured with the help of those three.”

The growth from the work Perez put in with those three players showed itself during these past three seasons at Marin Catholic.

His sophomore year featured remarkable production, rushing for 1,271 yards while earning honorable mention honors in the Marin Catholic Athletic League. As a junior in 2019, he went for 2,024 rushing yards (18th-most in California) and 30 touchdowns (10th-most in California), earning MCAL Offensive Player of the Year honors while lifting Marin Catholic to an 11-2 record and a North Coast Section runner-up finish.

Perez followed that up with a sensational senior campaign this spring, registering 12 touchdowns and three interceptions while Marin Catholic went undefeated.

“Just to workout. Just to work on my game,” Perez said. “I was very sensitive sophomore year, and to be maturing with the help of them helped change.”

Although Perez’s high school football career is over, he is grateful his football career willbe extended at UC Davis.

“It’s awesome,” Perez said. “It hasn’t hit me yet for high school career being over, but I’m excited for what’s next.”

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