Skyline’s Matthew Cindric a force on football field — just don’t give him the ball

The big, 6-foot-4, 265-pound lineman, commited to California after having his choice of programs across the nation.

Matthew Cindric was marked the moment he stepped on the football field.

An “X” was drawn on his helmet when he joined his first team as a third-grader and Cindric was given one rule.

“I wasn’t allowed to touch the ball,” he said with a laugh. Always the biggest in terms of well-proportioned height and weight, it was known Cindric would be a lineman if he continued to play football.

And coaches were right, Cindric growing to be a 6-foot-4, 265-pound lineman for Skyline. The three-star prospect gave a verbal commitment to Cal in August. He also had offers from UCLA, Utah, Arizona, Washington State, Oregon State, Princeton, Yale and Boise State.

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“They’re ranked the top public school in the nation and have a great business program, which I plan on studying, so that was huge for me,” said Cindric of why he chose Cal. Former Skyline teammate Cameron Saffle is a starting lineman for the Golden Bears.

“As a football team,” Cindric continued, “they have a brand-new coaching staff, and I really connected with them. I feel they’re going to do some good things at Berkeley and it’s cool to have a teammate down there, too.”

Cindric’s father, Mike, played tight end at Bethany College, a Division III program in West Virginia. Matthew is the youngest of three. As the first boy, his playing football isn’t just because of his size.

Matthew inherited some of his dad’s agility to be able to play anywhere on the line, offensively and defensively. His older sisters take credit for his smarts in reading defenses and protecting quarterbacks.

“Good linemen are smart, have great work ethic and are persevering,” said Cindric, a second-year captain for the Spartans. “A lot of it is heart, though. Being able to excel when you’re miserable. It’s a tough job. You have to know that your role is important on the team and they need you to be successful.”

Skyline coach Mat Taylor has taken advantage of Cindric’s skills and leadership.

“It became evident his sophomore year,” Taylor said. “In the state semifinal game (against Jacob Eason-led Lake Stevens), he did not come off the field. He played every snap. His relentless effort forced Eason to be…

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