KEARNEY — Kearney Catholic’s Matt Masker will be remembered for being a good leader, coachable and an overall student of the game.
Masker will also be remembered as one of the most prolific quarterbacks Nebraska has ever seen.
The 6-foot-2, 215 pound senior broke a multitude of Class C1 records in his stellar career, most of which belonged to former Wood River quarterback and newly hired Nebraska Cornhusker coach Scott Frost.
Those records are most yards in a career (7,050), most touchdowns in a career and single-season (86 career, 36 season set in 2016), most completions in a career (486), and best career completion percentage (.634).
Those numbers are the reason why Masker has been named the Hub Territory Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.
Masker said breaking 27-year-old records “is extremely humbling. Being from Nebraska, and Scott being a small-town kid, kind of gives me hope. I always looked up to Scott Frost as a young kid. … I never got to see him play live. Coming in as a freshman, I would have never guessed I would have ended by breaking a guy like Scott Frost’s records. It’s just very humbling.”
As his career developed, Masker was unaware he was close to the records. That’s the way Kearney Catholic coach Rashawn Harvey wanted it. He wanted Masker focusing on the team and games, not the records.
“At the end of last season,” Harvey said. “We got together as a staff. … We were finalizing some things, and coach Paul Brungardt brought that up to our attention. We looked at it and said, ‘Matt will break two or three of these halfway through the season.’”
And, he did.
The first record to fall came against Ogallala on Sept. 8. The final two records were broken against Gothenburg on Oct 13,
Masker didn’t make his first start until Kearney Catholic’s third game in 2015 against Columbus Lakeview. The Stars lost losing that game 34-21. But Harvey knew he had something special.
“You could see how he went from just kind of interested in the offense, to invested in the things we do,” Harvey said. “That loss just told us a lot about that young man. He took that loss personally. After that point, he invested everything he had into learning the quarterback position.”
Masker finished his sophomore season with 1,724 yards passing and 24 touchdowns. He followed that with an even better junior season, leading the Stars to a 10-2 record and a berth in the Class C1 semifinals.
His overall numbers on the field improved that season, too. He completed 191 of his 289 passed for 2,717 yards and threw for a Class C1 record 36 touchdowns.
The late exit isn’t what Kearney Catholic or Masker wanted. So over the course of the offseason, Masker put in the work in the early hours of the morning. There were a lot of 5 a.m. wake up calls, Masker said.
Though the future for Masker is still up in the air, a lot of schools have come around to visit. As of now he has upwards of 12 offers, including Northwest Missouri State University, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Sioux Falls, Emporia State and South Dakota State University, to name a few.
“The whole process itself has been eye opening,” he said. “You kind of realize that your height and what size of school you go to does make a big difference. You have to have a chip on your shoulder because there are guys that maybe aren’t as talented but they have more offers than you.”
The biggest knock for Masker, is that he is playing football in central Nebraska.
“He’s got all the tools,” Harvey said. “It’s just the decision if someone wants to invest in him. There’s always something (better) out there. I get it, schools are looking for that, and I get that.”
He still is wanting the big offer — a potential Division 1 offer.
“Yeah, hopefully,” he said. “Hopefully it happens soon.”
Whenever that day comes, whatever school Masker decides to attend, they will be getting proven winner both off and on the field.