Matt Schiller, a senior on the Linganore High School varsity football and basketball teams, was named the U.S. Army Impact Player of the Month.
Schiller, who returned to the football team this fall less than a year after suffering a devastating knee injury on the gridiron in 2018, was nominated by Lancers football coach Rick Conner.
“He’s one of those guys you never have to coach effort. He’s all go, he’s got a great motor, things that are just natural to him,” Conner said. “… His rehab, his determination to get back and his appreciation for being able to play again [are] unmatched.”
Schiller tore the ACL, MCL, PCL and meniscus in his left knee and dislocated his kneecap against Middletown in October 2018. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end said the injury occurred when he was running a 5-yard out. He was hit low after adjusting his body to a pass thrown slightly behind him, causing his knee to give out.
“It felt like my body had snapped in half,” Schiller said.
Schiller had to wait five or six days for a full diagnosis. His mother, Chris, and father, Lee, kept his spirits up as he awaited the results.
“The picture of football and basketball kind of fades out, and you kind of just think of yourself trying to get back to a normal day-to-day [routine],” Schiller said. “I had a sense that I was going to come back to football, that I was going to have a good recovery, but it wasn’t 100 percent.”
Schiller’s knee required two separate surgeries, one in October 2018 to repair his MCL, PCL, meniscus and kneecap and another in January 2019 to fix his ACL. He rehabbed three days a week after the first surgery, then did the same after the second surgery as well.
He regained his confidence running and cutting midsummer and was able to practice with the Lancers as they prepared for the 2019 season, though he didn’t make his debut until Linganore played at Oakdale Sept. 27.
“We were pretty hesitant about letting him play,” Conner said. “That was up to the doctors and trainers. They gave us the green light. We were just going to ease into it. We kind of did — I don’t know how many snaps he got Week , to be honest with you. But what we did do is just watch him — his attitude, his eagerness to get out there, his willingness to do anything he could do to help us out.”
The Lancers initially ran a two-tight-end offense once Schiller got back into the mix, but they asked Schiller to step back into the role of the top tight end once their other tight end missed time with an illness. Schiller helped Linganore reach the MPSSAA Class 3A state championship, where the Lancers lost to Demascus.
Schiller is now a power forward for Linganore’s varsity hoops team. He was described by Lancers basketball coach Chris O’Connor as a back-to-the-basket scorer with a mid-range game. After missing all of last season, Schiller posted 10 points and 10 rebounds during his first taste of competition this season, an exhibition.
“Could definitely tell he was rusty, but the natural skill, the natural feel he has, kind of just jumped right back into it,” O’Connor said. “In terms of our first couple of games, you could see he was a little timid, a little shy at first. But once he realized that everything was going to be OK, he’s really started to take off and really dominate.”
The next step for Schiller — after lacrosse season — is college. He’s deciding between Penn State and James Madison, and he’s looking to major in computer science. He received a four-year ROTC scholarship, which allows him to follow in his parents’ footsteps. His mother was a nurse in the U.S. Army, while his father was a lieutenant colonel. Both are now retired.
“They definitely taught me the honesty and integrity, kind of holding myself to a different standard,” Schiller said of his parents. “That’s kind of how I live my life day to day, just trying to keep myself on task because I know they’d do the same thing and I know they’re looking after me.”
Watch video of the award presentation:
To nominate a student-athlete for the U.S. Army Impact Player award, visit PressBoxOnline.com/Impact.
The Impact Player of the Month award is given to an individual who has impacted his or her team in a positive way, both on and off the field.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Linganore Football