Pawlowski dominates on the gridiron

HERO Sports called him a “legend in the making.”  Inside the Pylon said he is the best quarterback “…you’ve never heard of.” The Guilford community simply calls him a student athlete, leader, team-player and friend.

Matt Pawlowski is under center for his fourth consecutive season with the Quakers and brings a long list of accolades and high expectations to the year in progress.

Pawlowski’s career at Guilford began in 2012, when after a stellar rookie campaign he was named Old Dominion Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year.

In the years since, he has earned frequent recognition including being named ODAC Offensive Player of the Year and also being one of 10 finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, presented annually to the top Division III student-athlete in the country.

“He’s a guy that leads by action, he has a lot of people’s trust from what he has done on the field, he is a great guy and he knows what he’s doing,” said junior offensive lineman Pat Charvat. “As a football player you’ve got 11 guys on the field and you have to trust that everyone will do their job. And I think everyone has his trust and also trusts him.”

Pawlowski’s leadership qualities that help the Quaker football team succeed have been honed through years of experience that began long before his college tenure. Matt displayed the same talent in high school at Northwest Guilford, which is only a few minutes down the road from campus.

“I still tell current players that Matt was the perfect quarterback,” said former Northwest Guilford coach Joe Woodruff. “I remember telling the Guilford coach that he was getting a steal with Matt, and that when he starts as a freshman don’t be surprised.”

Pawlowski’s family attend every game to proudly cheer on their son.

“Matt has great coaches and has grown tremendously as a player and a person,” said Matt’s mother and one of his biggest fans, Kim Pawlowski, Pawlowski’s mother, in an email interview. “His teammates are fantastic young men and he has made many lifelong friends. The fans are wonderful too and we always have a great time at the games.”

Despite being one of the best quarterbacks in Guilford history, Pawlowski has found a way to remain calm, positive and humble, feats that his teammates believe allow them to succeed in the stress of game-time.

“Matt being a humble player in general makes him a calm and collected player,” said junior offensive lineman Corbin Barwick. “So when it comes down to crunch time and he’s got to do his thing and make plays happen, it just comes naturally to him.”

This season, the Quakers are off to an optimistic 3 – 0 start, winning games with ease.  Going into the fourth week of the season, they have climbed to 23rd in the Poll and 21st in the American Football Coaches Association poll, which is the highest in school history.

“So far we are off to a great start, and we’re playing great on all three phases of the ball,” said Pawlowski.

“The main difference between this season and previous seasons is the confidence level on the team. We have a lot of seniors on the team and they’re all doing a great job of leading the other guys.”

Pawlowski has an impressive 15-to-zero touchdown to interception ratio in the first three games of the season.

“We all have the same goal in mind of winning the conference and going for it in the playoffs and the biggest thing is that everyone is on the same page right now,” said Pawlowski. “So far that goal is definitely in reach after the strong start. But despite this early success, the season is still young and nothing gets easier when ODAC conference play starts.”

“He has had a great start to the season but he knows that we still have many tough games ahead on our schedule and to not get caught up on our past accomplishments,” said co-offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Steve McNeely.

“We don’t look ahead very much during the season. We take it one week at a time preparing for our next opponent.”