Football

Q & A: Brien McMahon’s Matt Claps

Brien’s McMahon’s Matt Claps makes a catch over the middle at Grip It & Rip It. (Gregory Vasil)

Brien McMahon rising senior Matt Claps is a two-sport star, excelling on the football field and baseball diamond. He is planning on being an athlete for all seasons; during his senior year he intends to try out for the basketball team in the winter. Currently, Claps is focused on the Senators’ upcoming football season and primed to once again make his mark as a linebacker and fullback. He spoke to The Ruden Report at the Grip It & Rip It 7-on-7 passing tournament at New Canaan on Friday.

You’re coming off a great baseball season for Brien McMahon. Can you discuss how it feels to be a two-sport athlete?

“For my senior season I’m looking to play another sport, I’m looking to play basketball. It’s amazing, I love being a two-sport athlete in high school, it keeps me busy and it makes me work hard for both sports.”

What is the defense’s potential?

“We have a very young defense, kids that haven’t played on varsity. We only have like two kids who have stepped on the varsity field for defense. I think we have a lot of good athletes and with discipline and hard work we can definitely become a great defense for sure.”

Has linebacker always been your main defensive position?

“I played linebacker through youth football. I play running back now, but I used to play quarterback. I played running back my sophomore year and I played safety my freshman year for Trinity Catholic and I played a little safety and linebacker my sophomore year.”

What are the best aspects of being a linebacker?

“You get to hit. You get to hit linemen, you get to hit slot receivers, you get to hit the quarterback, so it’s the best; linebacker is the best.”

What are the most challenging aspects of being a fullback?

“It’s definitely tough. You have to protect the quarterback, you have to run the ball and get your yards. You can’t fumble the football. It’s definitely tough, it’s hard on the body, but I love it.”

How do you feel about the potential of the team’s offense?

“We have two very young quarterbacks. Both quarterbacks haven’t stepped on a varsity football field. We have a junior and a sophomore, but they’re both looking good and we definitely have some raw potential on offense.”

Who have been your mentors over the years?

My dad has been my mentor. He brought me to the field all the time to work on my game. He introduced me to the weight room, so he kind of put me into this path to become a good football player.”

How does it feel to prepare for a fall season after the 2020 season was canceled?

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“It feels great. It was terrible to lose that season, especially because we had a lot of seniors and we definitely would have had a good season last year. We’re very excited to get back on the field. 

What did you do to stay sharp physically and mentally in order to remain in tune with the game?

“Being at home was tough for a lot of kids, but my dad kept me on a good regimen, getting up early, going on runs, eating healthy. I was working out all the time, so it was pretty easy for me to stay in shape.”

From now until August when training camp begins, what are you going to do to continue to prepare for the fall season? 

“I am definitely going to get in touch with the younger kids on the team. We’re going to have some sophomores on the field, so it’s important to talk to my teammates all the time and build a great bond within the team and just making sure they’re working as hard as possible.”

Do you have a pregame routine to get yourself psyched before a game?

“I like to listen to some hard metal music. I don’t really talk to anybody, I just like to be in my zone.”

What would be a perfect senior season for you?

“Do better than we did last time and break the six-peat and beat Norwalk High. That’s the biggest goal. They have beaten us six times in a row and we’re looking to break that streak.”

What are the best aspects of competing in the FCIAC?

“It’s a passing league and I love it. Everyone is throwing the ball, everyone is getting better. There’s a bunch of kids that are beasts around here. St. Joe’s, going up against them my sophomore year, it was terrifying — those kids are some beasts, but I love it. We play against the best players in the best conference.”

What’s your favorite sports movie? 

“My favorite sports movie is The Program.”

What is your favorite football team?

“I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan. I love Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott. I’m also a big University of Miami fan. I loved Ray Lewis.”