Dad’s career in NFL helped shape life of Mesa lineman

Mesa State College offensive lineman Matt Goeas, center, blocks an opposing player during a drill at practice.

Matthew Goeas would follow his dad everywhere.

He would tag along with Leo Goeas on the sidelines and in locker rooms during Leo’s NFL days.

“We are close,” the younger Goeas said of his dad. “When his team would win, I would be there on the sideline and go in the locker room with him. I was pretty much attached to his hip. I have a picture of us in a 3-point stance with me underneath him.”

Leo played in the NFL for eight years with the San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams and Baltimore Ravens. He was in the Denver Broncos camp in 1998, but was injured and retired.

“I remember watching him playing his entire career,” his son said. “As a boy, not playing football wasn’t an option. Playing football is a really big thing.”

Matthew (6-foot-2, 285 pounds) has followed his father’s footsteps as a football player and a Christian. He is also a starting offensive guard for the Mesa State College football team.

“He is a very good guard,” Mesa State coach Joe Ramunno said. “He has great skills. He can be a very solid lineman for us.”

Goeas played high school football for Ramunno’s brother, Tony, at Lewis-Palmer High School, and the Mavs’ coach heard about him as a sophomore.

By the time he was a senior, Goeas was receiving full-ride Division I scholarship offers from San Diego State University and Portland State (Ore.) University.

Goeas, like most high school seniors, couldn’t resist, signing a letter of intent with Portland State. He redshirted his freshman year and then decided to leave.

“It wasn’t a good fit,” Goeas said. “I was doing well on the football field, but I wasn’t having fun.”
Goeas, now a junior, thought about returning to Hawaii, where he was born, to try to get on with the University of Hawaii team. Goeas decided against playing for his father’s alma mater.

“When I left Portland, I was looking around,” Goeas said. “I almost went to Kearney, but the transcripts were messed up.

“I told Coach (Joe) Ramunno I left Portland and was looking for a place to play. I still have family in Monument and I didn’t want to sit out another year.”

Goeas transferred to Mesa State in the spring semester of the 2007-08 school year. He immediately worked his way into the starting lineup, starting all 10 games last season at left tackle.

“I knew him when I played against him in high school,” Mesa State center and offense captain Ryan Swope said. “Once he came here, I realized he’s a good ballplayer. He brings a mean attitude and is very physical.

“He’s one of the stronger kids on the team and one of our faster linemen, too.”

This season, Goeas moved to left guard.

“I’ve played center to guard to tackle,” Goeas said. “Last year was the first year I played tackle.

It was a wake-up call. The angles are way different. You can’t take the same track. It took getting used to. It was good to have that opportunity. It made me a better guard. I have experience there. I know what I’m supposed to do.”

He not only knows first-hand how to play the position, but what kid of man he wants to be from all the years watching his dad.

“The biggest thing I learned from my dad,” he said, “is to be a man of God and how you carry yourself.”


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