By Nick Granados
East Stroudsburg University redshirt junior quarterback Matt Soltes has been re-writing the record books week after week since becoming the starting quarterback midway through 2012.
He is coming off of a 416-yard, 4-touchdown game in a 37-33 win against Shippensburg on Saturday.
Soltes completed 31 of 45 passes for 502 yards and 6 touchdowns in a 47-34 win over Edinboro, his second game of 500 or more passing yards in his career.
He now has 1900 passing yards and 19 touchdowns through five games and is averaging 380 yards per game.
“I never thought I’d be putting up numbers like that,” Soltes said. “In high school I was averaging like 200 yards, maybe,” he added.
Soltes attributed his record setting numbers in part to ESU’s offensive system. “It’s just a high-powered offense,” he said. “You can’t not love being in this offense.”
He also acknowledged ESU offensive coordinator Mike Terwilliger and his impact on this offense. “I love playing for him,” Soltes said. “Coach Twigs [Terwilliger] is a different kind of guy. He has such intensity and passion for the game.”
For Soltes, who has played football since kindergarten, his ties to ESU go back to before his freshman year. His father Andy Soltes is a 1982 graduate of ESU and former quarterback for the Warriors.
While his father played at ESU, Soltes had the opportunity to experience ESU football at a young age. “He was bringing me up here to see a game or two each year, so I got real friendly with the players,” he said.
In addition to his father and his offensive coordinator Mike Terwilliger, Soltes also spoke very highly of legendary Warriors head coach Denny Douds and what it’s like playing for a coach like him.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “If you’re having a bad day, the first thing you do is see his face and it makes you instantly better. He’s the most positive guy I know.”
Douds’ impact is not just felt on the field, but off the field as well. “He doesn’t just teach you to be a good football player, he teaches you to be a good person, know right from wrong, and always do the right thing,” Soltes said. “He gives us tips of the day,” he added.
ESU’s season started with a come-from-behind 43-35 win at LIU Post. The following week, however, the Warriors were routed by Slippery Rock 56-24 in their home opener. “We just didn’t show up as a team,” Soltes said.
Despite the loss to Slippery Rock, Soltes remains positive about the Warriors’ 2014 season. “We have a pretty strong team [and] we have a lot of potential,” he said.
The Warriors are currently 4-1 (3-1 in the PSAC) this season, and will take a three-game winning streak into Eiler-Martin Stadium on Saturday evening when they take on Cheyney at 6:05 PM. Cheyney is 0-12 against ESU since the 2002 season, with the closest game being in 2011 when ESU narrowly won by a score of 10-6.
As far as next season goes, Soltes has not given it too much thought. “I haven’t really thought about next year,” he said. “I’m just focused on this year,” he added.
Despite taking things one game at a time, Soltes acknowledged that, while he hopes to continue playing after his time at East Stroudsburg ends, life after ESU will still include football. “I’ll try to continue playing football; it’s any kid’s dream,” he said. “If not, I’ll probably become a coach.”
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