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AOW: Imperial's Taylor runs through competition

October 16, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

Imperial High running back Matt Taylor is a lot of things.

He's cocky, almost arrogant, confident, but above all, he's good.

He talks the talk and walks the walk, backing up his words.

After a 49-0 drubbing of Imperial by Santa Fe Christian two weeks ago, Taylor was talking as if his team had been on the winning end of the blowout. He talked about how well he felt Imperial would do when it started Desert Mountain League play against Calipatria.

Friday, just as the 17-year-old senior predicted, the Tigers ran roughshod over the Hornets, winning 28-14.

Taylor finished with 179 yards rushing and three touchdowns on runs of three, 17 and 30 yards.

"Personally, I felt that I would have a huge game. I missed the first four games and this was my first full game back," said Taylor, who missed the first four games because of grades. "So all throughout the week I was telling everyone at school about the Calipat game. I was talking (crap), saying that we were going to win and I was gonna go out and score two touchdowns. So what did I do? I ended up scoring three."


Taylor's emergence couldn't have come at a better time for the Tigers, who entered the contest 0-5. Taylor did play the fifth game against Santa Fe Christian, but only sparingly, primarily as a kick returner.

The return of Taylor not only meant an improvement in offensive production but a new team attitude.

"I think this team needed someone cocky like me. They needed someone to follow. Before I was back on the team everyone acted like machines. The coaches would tell them to do something, then they'd do it," Taylor said. "But that's not how I am. When the coaches say something, I just say, ‘Naw, I'm gonna do something else."

While he does tend to go against the grain and do things his way, Imperial is back on the winning track with Taylor leading the way.

Knowing he and his teammates hold league title aspirations, he said he will do whatever it takes to help his team keep winning.

"Before I got back on the team, there was nothing to cheer about. Everybody around here needed someone good to talk about. So now I'm here," said Taylor. "This year, being a senior, we don't want to go out losers. So we have four games left and I predict four more wins. I will personally do everything in my power to make sure that happens.

"Matt Taylor will not let this team lose. Matt Taylor will motivate this team. And Matt Taylor will get this team to win."

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