PreSeason Report: Midlothian’s Matt Arkema

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Midlothian (VA) opens up its 2009 regular season next Friday, meaning less than two weeks remain before Matt Arkema takes the field for the first game of his senior season. The 6-3 1/2, 290-pound rising senior has come a long way since his first varsity football game, which was two years ago as a sophomore. A key ingredient to Arkema’s success – he has accepted a scholarship offer to play at Virginia Tech – is the effort he puts out on and off the field.

“Putting in hard work is something my coach and my parents have always said to me,” Arkema said. “They’ve always told me how hard work pays off. I’ve always tried to work the hardest and to outwork those other guys who may be more talented than me. I think a lot of my success is a credit to hard work. It has definitely been a plus.”

This past offseason, a typical week included several days of weightlifting and several days of speed training. Coming off of a season in which he earned first-team all-Dominion district honors, Arkema is primed for a big-time senior year. He hopes to help the Trojans, who finished 2-8 last season, to gridiron glory in the process.

“I feel I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in,” said Arkema, who played offensive tackle as a sophomore before moving to offensive guard last season. He also plays defensive tackle. “Strength-wise, I’m feeling good. I worked hard in the offseason. I started working with Total Training (Bob Blanton) over at Collegiate School and I still worked with my speed guy, Reed Kagan (of Sports Performance Plus).”

Midlothian’s first preseason scrimmage was against Mills Godwin and its second will come against University of Richmond quarterback recruit Jake McGee and Collegiate. So far, the standout senior is pleased with how the team has performed.

“Practice has gone pretty well. Our first scrimmage went pretty well,” Arkema said. “I think we’re coming together as a team. I think we’ve improved, especially