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Shaddle’s impact continues growing at O’Dowd

Bishop O’Dowd senior offensive and defensive tackle Matthew Shaddle began his football career his freshman year on the junior varsity squad, but he would not be there for long.

Former Dragons head football coach Napoleon Kaufman – a former NFL player for the Raiders – saw something in him. After a game against Berkeley High School, Kaufman pulled him to the side and delivered a message.

“Coach Kaufman pulled me aside and said, ‘I think you’re a really good player.’ He moved me up to varsity for the freshman playoffs,” Shaddle said.

Shaddle was there alongside a star-studded Bishop O’Dowd roster. There was Jevon Holland, who became an All-American at the University of Oregon and recently declared for the NFL Draft.

That Dragons squad won nine games and was a North Coast Section Division III quarterfinalist before falling to the eventual section champion, Marin Catholic.

He was immersed in the greatness of Dragons football.

“Just kind of getting to experience that with the other players on that team, like Jevon Holland, could be a first round NFL player,” Shaddle said. “Just kind of seeing that culture that they had was a pretty eye opening experience.”

And Shaddle’s impact only grew around the program since then.

Shaddle was a part of a 12-win team in 2018 as a sophomore that won an NCS title. He was a junior standout a year ago playing both ways.

This year, entering the first year under head coach David Perry, Shaddle is embracing the task at hand with the delayed season and many days learning the new playbook virtually.

“We hit the ground running,” Shaddle said. “Coach Perry said we brought in 30 new kids, and in those 30-40 new kids, in those some people probably haven’t played football before. It’s been difficult on that part. 

“Having not being able to see if we, but having to try to picture mentally over a zoom call, when you see the Xs and Os, it’s always better when you’re out on the field and you can actually see his vision, but I think coach Perry did a really good job of working over zoom and working through the challenges.”

Today, Shaddle is on a trajectory to play collegiate sports just like some of his family.

His cousin was trying to walk on to the St. Mary’s baseball team. Two of his cousins from Trach played Division II football at Dixie State.

Two offers are currently in hand for Shaddle, with the first being an NAIA offer from Southern Oregon and the other a Division III offer from Pacific.

“I’ve seen them go places,” Shaddle said. “And I feel like that’s possible for me, and that kind of motivates me into believing that I can do that too.”

Not only does Shaddle want to win in his final high school campaign, but he wants to be a guiding force for the younger players coming through the program.

“Obviously winning is a goal, but when I was a sophomore I had people, they kind of took me under their wing,” Shaddle said. “They showed me the O’Dowd ropes. One of my personal goals is I kind of want to be a really good role model to some of the younger people, coming to the school or becoming sophomores. Just someone that they can look up to.”

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