Lovelady Lineman Signs with NWOSU

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

LOVELADY – Early on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 7 a crowd of students, faculty, staff, friends and relatives gathered in the Lovelady High School Library to watch a Lionman take his first steps in moving to the next level.

It was National Signing Day and first rattle outta the box, the Lions had a young man ink his name to a National Letter of Intent to play football at Northwestern Oklahoma State University (NWOSU).

Da’Mario Mattingly, listed at 5’11” and 310 pounds, had verbally committed to NWOSU earlier this year and made it official on Wednesday.

Following the signing, pictures, hugs, handshakes and even a few tears from family members, the newest NWOSU Ranger sat down to discuss his decision.

“This school and another school were my only two offers. Our defensive coordinator (Richard Gunnels) actually graduated from NWOSU. He said it was a good school. When they offered me (a scholarship), I was kind of excited just to know he played there,” Mattingly said.

“I went on my official visit there and I really liked the place,” he continued. “They offered me the best scholarship.”

Mattingly said the university is located in Alva, Oklahoma – in the panhandle region of the state.

“As of right now, they are wanting me to play defensive tackle,” he said.

The two-way starter was asked if he anticipated any offensive snaps in his future and said “… as of right now, it’s just on the defensive side of the ball.”

Questioned about any advice he might have for his Lion teammates who might aspire to play at the next level, Mattingly stressed working hard was the key to his success.

“Just keep working. I didn’t get any offers until the summer after my junior year when we were playing seven-on-seven. It was just a normal day and the coach called me. We talked for a little bit and then out of the blue, he offered me (a scholarship). You never really know,” he recalled.

“Keep working at it,” Mattingly explained. “If it’s something you really want just keep working at it every day.”

Academically, Mattingly expressed his appreciation to his teachers for “… making sure I had what I needed to graduate and to enroll at Northwestern. They made sure I met the requirements to get in there or to any other school I was interested in.”

“I want to thank everyone from Lovelady who watched me play or ever came to see me play, no matter where you’re from. Thank you for the support you gave me throughout high school. I really do appreciate that,” he said.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.