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EATON: GUAM TO MISSISSIPPI

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By Michael Cruz

Former Guam youth and high football standout Matthew Eaton has picked up his first offer from the prestigious U.S. Naval Academy.

Former Southern Cowboy and Guam High Panther Matt Eaton heads into his senior season in Mississippi. (courtesy photo)

Former Southern Cowboy and Guam High Panther Matt Eaton heads into his senior season in Mississippi. (courtesy photo)

Eaton played youth football with the Southern Cowboys and was a starter with the Guam High Panthers his freshman and sophomore seasons. He contributed as a freshman wide receiver on Guam High’s first title in 2010 with over 100 yards receiving in the championship game. (PANTHERS 7, GECKOS 6)

“Guam really allowed me to develop tough skin because nothing is handed to you,” Eaton said. “From eighth grade all the way unto 10th grade year, the teams that I was on from the Cowboys, to the Agat Cardinals, McCool (Middle School), to GHS we were always the underdog and nobody ever wanted to see us win. That itself gave me a competitive edge on the way I pursued every game I played there. That all just kind of stuck to everything I approach now.”

Heading into his senior season, Eaton relocated to Pascagoula, Mississippi in 2012 just in time for the Fall football season. Eaton was a key contributor on the Pascagoula Panthers team for five games before an ankle injury ended his season prematurely. He still put up respectable numbers with 11 receptions of 145 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The Panthers finished with a record 11-3 and were state runner-ups. Matthew also played basketball as a role player on the Panther team that made the State semifinals. He recently participated in spring practice with the Panthers and was invited to the Ultimate 100 camp for the upcoming summer. Eaton also has been active at numerous college football camps attending Lousiana-Lafeyette, Ole Miss, and Mississippi State. Most recently he made it into Rivals and 24/7 recruiting databases.

Time on Guam

Eaton believes his best win as a football player was Guam High’s victory over GW his freshman year. Success continued his sophomore year as he was Co-Offensive MVP on a Panther team that was runner-up to GW in 2011. Eaton also had success on the basketball court playing varsity two years. Matthew Eaton may also be the first former IIAAG player since FD’s Brandon Knapp to be recruited to play Division I football.

All-Island running back Tegan Brown has transferred to Mississippi and will play with Eaton his final season. (GSPN file photo)

All-Island running back Tegan Brown has transferred to Mississippi and will play with Eaton his final season. (GSPN file photo)

“I miss just the vibe the whole island gave off,” he said. “The weather, the beautiful water, the essence of family and how important that is, and just the laid back mentality of a lot of the people.”

Eaton said he misses the simple dish of chicken and red rice.

This upcoming season, he’ll have a familiar teammate joining him – All-Island running back Tegan Brown. Somehow the former teammates managed to hook up and will play together for the final high school season.

“I’d like to thank Mrs. Deneen Brown for letting Tegan come stay with me our senior year and ball out one last time together.  We get to play our last high school season together, beat our rival schools Moss Point, Picayune, Gautier, and Ocean Springs, win the 5A State Championship and get a ring.”

College options

Eaton has prototypical Division I size for a wide receiver. He stands 6-foot-5 and weighs a solid 193 lbs. He also is a stellar student in the classroom which is what the service academies look for when recruiting football players.

“By the end of the season I plan to have over 10 Division I offers so that I have a choice in where I want to spend my next four or five years. My dream school…would just be to play in the SEC and do what every kid dreams and be a “true freshman” in the most competitive conference in college football.”

Matt Eaton was a standout in Guam High's 2010 championship season. (courtesy photo)

Matt Eaton was a standout in Guam High’s 2010 championship season. (courtesy photo)

Football Tips

Despite still being in high school, Eaton has a wealth of experience already on and off the football field and offers some advise to young players.

“Just keep grinding, live in the weight room, go to camps as many as you can go to during the summer. Work heavy on technique, 1 on 1’s, 7 on 7 tournaments and just work every bit of  your craft. Stateside ball is whole different level of competitiveness. And just never let anyone tell you what you can’t do. You want something in life, go get it, opportunity is pure.”

GSPN wishes him well for the upcoming season and possibly a state title.  You can find some of his videos at the following sites below:

http://www.hudl.com/athlete/1263410/highlights/49186379

http://new.berecruited.com/athletes/1425990/game_film?film_id=85706754

http://blog.gulflive.com/mississippi-press-sports/2013/06/recruiting_pascagoulas_matt_ea.html

 Michael Cruz is a contributing writer for GSPN who lives in Allen, Tex. He is a 1994 graduate from Inarajan High School and is originally from Malesso. 

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QUICK HITS

Shawn Bamba won the Arizona state wrestling championship while siblings Jussiah and Justyn took third place in their divisions at state.
Shawn (12th) won the 150-lb division while Jussiah (11th) took bronze in the 120-lb class and Justyn (9th) took bronze in the 106-lb category.
All three were born on Guam before moving to Surprise, Arizona in 2014, where they all picked up wrestling in 2016.
Their parents are Justin and Shannon Bamba from Pago Bay.
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Christian Delos Santos, son of Richard Delos Santos (Barrigada) and Norma Larimer Delos Santos (Dededo), won the Kentucky High School Athletic Association wrestling state championship in the 113-lb weight class.
His sister Naiya took 3rd place in the 100-lb girls division.

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