State football finals is a family affair.
When the Mathiowetz family does something, they like to do it big and they like to do it together.
It’s not surprising then when the St. Mary’s Knights and Bemidji Lumberjacks entered the state football semifinals, that there too was a family connection.
Mary Lou Mathiowetz is a grandmother to four of the players — two from St. Mary’s and two from Bemidji.
“It was just meant to be!”?Mary Lou said of this coincidence.
Her daughter, Julie Anderson, who is married to Paul, has a son, Jordon, a senior quarterback for the Knights. Her son, Glen Mathiowetz, who is married to Lana, has a son, Sean, a junior wide receiver. Head football coach, Brent Kuchera, is married to Mary Lou’s granddaughter, Rachel.
But there’s more.
Mary Lou’s daughter, Sue Hendricks, is married to Troy. They have two sons, Mitchell, a senior quarterback, and James, a freshmen future quarter back, both who play for the Bemidji Lumberjacks.
Their dad, Troy, is the head coach of the football team in Bemidji.
“It has been really fun!”?Mary Lou said of the state run both teams made.
The Knights were defeated in the semifinal playoff game by the Mahnomen Indians, 32-12.
Immediately following the loss, the Bemidji Lumberjacks played their state semifinal game against Mankato West and won 45-26.
“It’s been a real privilege to get to watch these boys play and fun for all of us,” Mary Lou said.
The Mathiowetz family gets together for everything from hunting to holidays, and football is no exception.
Following the games, the entire family stayed the night in the same hotel and reminisced. Mary Lou also recalled that the boys were in contact during the season by email and text messages, supporting each other, jabbing each other and discussing football.
“Those boys, whenever we get together as a family, were always throwing the ball,”?Mary Lou said. “I hoped and prayed there would always be a future for them.”?
The Mathiowetz family is large. Mary Lou and her late husband, Richard, are the parents of six children, grandparents to 18 and great-grandparents to eight. All of them, except one family, will be home for Thanksgiving at Mary Lou’s.
Her daughter, Sue, called recently to tell her mother they would probably not be able to make the trek from Bemidji for Thanksgiving as they will be preparing for the state tourney held Saturday, Nov. 26.
That hardly bother’s Mary Lou since she will make the trip back to the dome Saturday to watch her two grandsons battle for the state championship.
“The Lord gave us all this talent and it’s wonderful we get to use it,”?she said. “Each one is talented in their own way.”