The Last Waltz

Milano’s Jent sch straps ‘em on one final time at THSCA allstar game
BY MARIE BAKKEN Reporter Staff Writer
MILANO—For the first time in history, a Milano football player—Matthew Jentsch—

will participate in the Texas High School Coaches Association’s All-Star football game.

The 76th pigskin classic will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 20 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, coinciding with THSCA’s annual coaching school and convention.

Jentsch was selected to play linebacker for the South team, coached by Andy Evans of Tatum. He will wear the No. 6 red jersey.

For Jentsch, it could be considered a retirement party.

This will be a bittersweet experience for Jentsch, now at 5-11 and 225 pounds, as it will most likely be his last football game as a player.

He has forgone offers from multiple schools to simply be a student at Texas A&M University where he will begin in the fall.

“It’s all I ever did. I just remember being either really tired from a game or being really nervous before one,” Jentsch said.

“I thought Texas A&M was the best place to get my education and it gave me the best chance to get a job out of college,” the 18-year-old said. “It’s close to home and I really like College Station. But I have not totally ruled out the idea of playing football somewhere.”

Jentsch had been contacted by schools such as Howard Payne, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Hardin Simmons, McMurray and Angelo State.

Starting early

The oldest of three sons to Craig and Holly Jentsch, Matthew has always been involved in sports. And that’s not a surprise, as his dad is in the coaching field and was Matthew’s head football coach his senior year at Milano.

“All I have done since I can remember was play sports and want to play football,” Jentsch said. Craig was named Milano’s head football coach in 2009. Matthew’s younger brothers John (a junior) and David (a freshman) will play for their dad this year.

Matthew Jentsch, here with ballboy Ben King, collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital after running for 352 yards and four touchdowns against Bryan St. Joseph’s in 2009. Reporter/Marie Bakken Matthew Jentsch, here with ballboy Ben King, collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital after running for 352 yards and four touchdowns against Bryan St. Joseph’s in 2009. Reporter/Marie Bakken Matthew began playing tackle football in the peewee league in the sixth grade in Hearne and then suited up from seventh grade through the end of high school.

He was also on the varsity roster in baseball, basketball and track at Milano.

“Football was and has always been my favorite sport to play.”

‘Blessed’

Jentsch, who was named District 27A’s defensive player of the year in 2009, is one of just eight Class A players selected for this year’s all-star game.

“Matthew has always represented his school , his family and himself very well in everything he has done.,” said his father and coach Craig Jentsch about the selection.

“This is a great honor for him and Milano for being selected to play in the game.

“The coaching staff here is very excited and as his father and coach, I can’t tell you how proud I am of him.”

Matthew knows that being selected for the high school allstar game is very rare for a Class A player and he isn’t taking that for granted.

“It really is an honor and a privilege to get to play in this game. Especially since I am from such a small school, just to get the opportunity to play with guys from all ranks of schools means a lot to me,” he said. “This is something I will be able to tell my kids about one day, and that very few people can.”

An even bigger highlight is that Jentsch is first player for Milano High School to be chosen for the honor.

However, he feels that this doesn’t by any means make him the best player to come through his now alma mater.

“It feels good being the first player from Milano to get to play in the game. I think many good players have come through Milano that could have just as easily played in this game and I just consider myself blessed to have this honor of being the first.”

Preparation

Jentsch has had to stay in shape and do some serious working out to prepare for the all-star game.

“I work out five days a week for a little over two hours a day. The biggest thing is the amount of running I do now compared to what I did last summer,” he said. “I have been eating more and I weight about fifteen more pounds than I did at the start of last school year. I am stronger and am in better shape than I have ever been in my life.”

That should help him considering he will knowingly be going up against guys who are stronger and faster than he.

“I would like to just see how I compare with the athletes from the 5A and 4A schools. I want to have fun playing football for probably the last time in my life, not many people get another chance to play.”

He is set to report for all-star practice on Friday at Trinity University.

Jentsch attributes his hard work ethic to the importance of being prepared.

“I don’t like going somewhere and being embarrassed,” he said. “I don’t like losing and want to be prepared the best I can be.

“If I am as prepared as I can be and go out there and give it my all, then I know I did my best.”

Leaving it on the field

The now MHS graduate was the Eagles leading tackler with 114 tackles in 2009. At quarterback, he was also the team leading rusher last season, with a total of 1,333 yards and 14 touchdowns.

His said his favorite memory of playing football was when he rushed for 352 of those 1,333 yards in one game.

That was just last season when Milano got a road win over St. Joseph’s Academy in Bryan. That was also a scary night for Jentsch, his family and Eagle fans at the game.

It was a very humid September evening and keeping players hydrated and cool was a pressing priority. Jentsch scored four touchdowns and rushed for those 352 yards as well.

After the two teams shook hands at the end of the game, Jentsch collapsed at midfield and had to be rushed by ambulance to the hospital.

He was fine, but was very dehydrated. He had left it all on the field.

“I left it all on the field, like I do every game,” Jentsch said. “That also made me want to get in better shape.”

Education When the decision about what to do after high school and after college came about, Jentsch knew what he wanted to do, be an educator and family man.

“I want to be a superintendent one day and just have a family,” he said. “I come from a long line of teachers and school administrators so I guess it makes sense for me to go into that field.”

Besides his dad, Jentsch’s grandparents Henry and Dee Bonorden of Gause were also educators. His other grandparents are Marlin Jentsch of Hearne and the late Mary Lou Jentsch-Gregg.

Matthew has declared his major as education at A&M and will start classes with 24 dual credit hours under his belt.

While at Milano, he was in the National Honor Society, Future Farmers of America and named prom king and Mr. MHS, just to name a few.

Playing football in Class A in Texas definitely builds character and Jentsch said that is something that he will carry with him through out life.

“I learned that you’re not always going to have the upper hand and things aren’t always going to go your way. If you work at something long and hard enough eventually you will have success.”

“I know it sounds corny, but really I never went into one game where our team had the biggest and fastest players ever, but we always went hard for 48 minutes and that’s where you really learn who you are and what you’re made of.”

Last time

Jentsch will suit up for probably the last time on Tuesday, July 20 at the Alamodome in San Antonio in the THSCA 2010 All-Star Football Game. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and general admission tickets are $10 at the gate.

He has pretty much made up his mind that he’s ready to be a student, but there is still a little bit of him that still wonders.

“We’ll see after this game how much I still love it,” Jentsch said. “I’ll see if I want to play for four more years.”

He is really just looking forward to the entire all-star experience.

“They picked me, so obviously they saw something. I just want to get to play and make some memories.”


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