Soldotna team manager inspires team during record winning streak
He does not tackle anyone, or even catch a football, but, Matthew Martinelli is one of the key parts to the success of the Soldotna High School Football team, and the Stars' state-record 54-game winning streak.
The 17-year-old sophomore is the team's manager, and he helps coach the Stars from his wheelchair or crutches. Matthew has cerebral palsy, which keeps him off the field, but, it doesn't keep him down.
Matthew says this is exactly where he should be every afternoon.
"Just being around the guys, and just being part of a family really, they take me in so well, it's just fun to be around," said Matthew, who is in his second season with the team and the fifth with Stars' head Coach Galen Brantley, Jr.
"He just loves football, wants to be a coach, and is just an inspiration to our kids, and our program," Brantley said.
They first met when Brantley coached the local pop warner team. The Stars go for their fifty-fifth straight win Saturday when they host Kodiak. As usual, Matthew will be there on the sidelines.