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The student news site of Lake Stevens High School

Valhalla

The student news site of Lake Stevens High School

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Kolton Matson – QB

Kolton Matson was awarded the 2023 Gatorade State Player of the Year Winning quarterback and Head Coach Tom Tri share their reactions
LSHS+quarterback+Kolton+Matson+warms+up+for+the+game+against+Bellevue+High+School+on+Sept.+8%2C+2023.
Kathy Hahn
LSHS quarterback Kolton Matson warms up for the game against Bellevue High School on Sept. 8, 2023.

For those who don’t know, the Gatorade Player Of The Year award is given to the best high school player in the state for their respective sport during that season. Only four athletes from Lake Stevens have won it: Jacob Eason Class of ‘16 (football), Taylor Roe Class of ‘19 (cross country), Jayden Limar Class of ‘23 (football), and now Kolton Matson, LSHS quarterback. The winner is determined by a national committee from different states nominated by Gatorade to decide each state’s best player.
Matson helped lead the Vikings to their second straight state championship in 2023, ending with a dominant 31-6 win over Graham-Kapowsin. He has started in a state championship game every year he has been in high school. Matson also boasts an impressive varsity record of 35-4 as a starter.
“It’s very honorable and great to be recognized by people around the area. You know coaches need to recognize everybody in the community. You have to be a significant player and also a great player in the community. And it goes all along, you know, taking responsibility in and out of the classroom,” Matson said.
He threw for an impressive 3,388 yards and 49 touchdowns with only six interceptions. His completion percentage was 66.3%; 224 out of 338 attempts were completed.
National recruiting editor Brandon Huffman of 247sports had this to say about Matson’s preparedness and skill.
“Matson plays with confidence and calm and he shows off his quickness and his athleticism in running as well as his accuracy and patience in finding receivers and spreading the ball around,” Huffman said.
Coach Tom Tri compared Kolton to two of his past quarterbacks, Jake Nelson and Conor Bardue, who were both LSHS starting quarterbacks at some point.
“Yeah, I would combine it’s Jake Nelson’s feet, who was all-league, all-area, all-state quarterback for us in 2011 – started at Central for a few years. I look at Kolton as a combination of Jake Nelson and, and Conor Bardue. Conor was a really good pocket passer who threw the ball down the field really well and had great vision. But also, with Jake, I see Kolton’s qualities and that his feet and his competitive spirit and his ability to lead the team,” Tri said.
This is the third time Coach Tri has developed a Gatorade Player Of The Year winner.
“It’s pretty cool deal for sure. You know, Jacob [Eason] won it first in 2015, and he was not only the state player of the year, but he was also the National Player of the Year. Then to have Jayden [Limar] get it last year as a running back, the first year we’ve ever won a state championship. He really did kind of put his team on his back and helped us carry out that first state championship. What I love about this year with Kolton is the award has gone out since 1985. He is only the third junior to win the award ever, and we’re the only team since 1985 to have it back-to-back in two years in a row. So for a junior to get it and to have it from a guy that got it the year before on the same team. That’s a very rare, special deal. And it just goes to show you what kind of year Kolton had if Gatorade was fair enough to give it to him, and they knew that he deserved it.” Tri said.
Matson is a great leader for the LSHS football team, and he played well enough to only be the third junior to win the Gatorade State Player Of The Year award. Now, all we have to do is wait and see what he has in store for the 2024-2025 season.

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About the Contributor
Bryce Slezak, Staff Reporter
Senior Bryce Slezak is a man of many talents. From playing guitar, to his multiple sports and role as captain of the football team, Slezak can do it all. Slezak plans on going to college for nursing and possibly playing college football if his busy schedule allows. Bryce's favorite subject in school is PE and weightlifting. Bryce is interested in learning how to take better pictures. 

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