DECLO — When Declo High School head football coach Kelly Kidd was asked about what seniors Tyson Matthews and McKay Breshears bring to the field, the first thing he said was intelligence.

Even if either player is short on size, speed, or any other measurable, they more than make up for it with their brainpower on the gridiron. It’s a skill that Kidd said can’t really be taught, and one that has propelled the duo to the next level.

On Thursday, Matthews signed a letter of intent to play football at The College of Idaho, while Breshears signed his own to compete at Utah State University.

“It’s exciting to see that they still have the desire and the burning inside that they want to keep playing football,” Kidd said. “Somewhere, deep inside, that’s fulfilling. They got through the grind and the kids still love the game.”

Both players competed on both sides of the ball for Declo, which won its second straight 2A state championship in November. Matthews played on the offensive line and at linebacker, while Breshears was the quarterback, then lined up next to Matthews at linebacker, too.

Both will continue at the linebacker spot in college.

Matthews considered Rocky Mountain College and Pacific Lutheran University, but settled on The College of Idaho, where he’ll study business, because of how he fit into the scheme as a linebacker.

“Rocky Mountain wanted me for defensive line and I really wanted to stay at linebacker,” Matthews said. “That’s what The College of Idaho wanted me as, so that was my big factor, and it’s closer to home.”

Breshears, who will also study business while at Utah State, is joining the Aggies as a preferred walk-on.

He also had an offer to the University of Utah as a preferred walk-on, but, after Justin Ena, who recruited Breshears to join the Utes, was named defensive coordinator for the Aggies, he brought Breshears along with him.

Kidd noted that Breshears will serve his Latter-day Saints mission before heading to Utah State. When he gets there, Breshears knows he has his work cut out for him.

“Especially coming as a walk-on, you’re gonna have to come and out-work your opponent, no matter what, just to get a spot,” Breshears said. “I know that. That’s the goal right now, just go and out-work everyone.”

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The two standouts were a large part of Declo’s stellar run over the past few seasons, which culminated in the Hornets’ second straight unbeaten season and state title.

They’re now the second and third Hornets to sign, after Keegan Duncan signed with Boise State in December. The three have all highlighted what the Declo program has meant to them as it shaped them over four years.

Matthews said his coaches, teammates and everyone involved have given him everything he’s ever needed to further his education and football career. Breshears added that, to be able to be a part of this program and share his success with teammates, particularly Matthews on the same day, was special.

“It’s an awesome feeling, with Keegan, with Tyson signing with me today,” Breshears said. “All of us have been playing football together since we were little. To make it to the next level and get an opportunity, it’s an unbelievable experience.”

With some of his most important players moving on, Kidd can’t help but be proud, although they leave behind big holes to fill on the Declo football squad.

The legacy left behind by Matthews and Breshears, as Kidd noted on their special day, is a vital one.

“They elevated our play, our attitudes,” Kidd said. “They set their goals high and they’re still setting their goals high. They were just special to me and to our program. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to coach them.”

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