Thomasville Times Enterprise

February 6, 2013

Garland, Mathis sign

Natalie Fultz

THOMASVILLE — Thomasville High signees, Trey Garland and Jamario “Mario” Mathis, have overcome many obstacles to get to where they are today. Wednesday was a day where they felt all their “hard work” had paid off as they signed to continued their careers in football.

Garland is headed to Alabama where he will be playing for Jacksonville State University.

He started playing football when he was in ninth grade.

“If it was still up to my mom, I wouldn’t be playing,” Garland said.

During his junior year, Garland started receiving attention from various colleges, but during the first game of his senior year, he sprained his ankle.

“I kept playing on it,” Garland said. “It hurt so bad that I even cried.”

Garland sat out four games, then during practice, he broke his ankle.

“I didn’t think I’d ever get to play football again,” Garland said.

Garland began physical therapy.

“We first worked on putting pressure on my ankle,” Garland said. “Then came working on balance.”

Eventually Garland was healed and played in the final two games of the Bulldogs 2012 season.

“It means a lot to sign today,” Garland said. “It means I get to continue playing football.”

Garland’s teammate, Mario Mathis, wasn’t initally a football player.

Instead, he was a “skinny” basketball player.

“My brother pushed me to play football, so I gave it a try,” Mathis said.

Mathis started playing football in seventh grade.

“Football means everything to me,” Mathis said. “I’ve worked hard to get here building my character along the way.”

Mathis recalls being adopted by David and Denise Fletcher.

“They changed my life,” Mathis said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”

At 7:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Mathis sent his National Letter of Intent to the University of Central Florida with his parents, David and Denise.

“It was a little bit surreal when we sent the letter in this morning,” Denise Fletcher said. “I’m so proud of him. He has worked so hard. It’s not just football that he has worked on. He has dealt with peer pressure, social media, testing, training, academics, his character, and his personal life. None of it was easy for him, but he did it.”