April 11, 2012 - Before Det. Kirk Matich was helping to keep students in line as the Independence Township Sheriff's Office police liasion at Clarkston Community Schools - he was helping his teammates on the field.
Det. Kirk Matich (click for larger version)
This year he is being inducted into the Michigan Touch Football Hall of Fame.
"I didn't even know there was one," he smiled. "It is an honor. It is something you always have fond memories of playing."
Some of the memories include the comradery between players, the physicality of the game and the uniqueness of the game.
"I always like organized sports," he added. "I like to be involved in team sports - I coach baseball and coached Clarkston Chiefs football. My boys play football, basketball and baseball."
He played in the 1980s and the 1990s after Ron Honaker, one of the coaches, asked if Matich wanted to play for his team.
"It continued on from there," he said, adding he played as middle linebacker. "I was a tightend in high school. I had big hands so I was a good target as receiver."
He always remembers one play Honaker always talks about.
The team was losing and had only one play left in the game and the line of scrimmage was on the 50-yard line.
"I told the quarterback to throw it as far as he could," he said. "I am tall so I said throw it to me. I told another receiver to go five yards behind me and I am going to tip it to you. The quarterback let it fly and the defenders are jumping up for the ball."
He didn't look behind him and watched the ball come at him. He made a quick contact with it as he tipped it back to the player behind him as hard as he could.
The receiver he told to get behind him caught it and ran 10-15 yards into the endzone to score and win the game.
"The odds to catch that, like Rod always says, was an amazing play," Matich smiled. "We say it was a Hail Mary pass - all the stars had to align right."
During his time with the team he won two league playoff championships, one snow bowl championship, played on two All-Star teams and played in one MVP playoff.
"I have had a team since 1976," said Honaker. "Kirk is one of the best I have ever played with."
Playing football runs in the family - his two older brothers played and his dad played for Pennsylvania.
"It is in my blood," he added it is in his sons' blood as well - Nick, a sophomore, and Adam, a freshman, both currently attending Clarkston High School. "They both started on the varsity football team as freshmen which is unheard of because you don't even make the varsity team on the starting line."
Matich began playing when he was in seventh grade and growing up in Rochester. He continued playing through middle school, junior high school and high school.
"I kind of instill on my boys the competitiveness to play," he said. "It may have been touch football but it was tough. You are blocking the guys and we played some Pontiac teams. It was full contact. It wasn't just a little touch. It was push you down."
He didn't play football when he went to college but he did play baseball for Oakland Community College where he received his associate's degree. He continued his education at Michigan State University and received his bachelor's degree.
"I had letters of interest for college. I just didn't have guidance," he said. "My dad worked full time. I am trying to instill in my kids to get their names out there and follow up with recruiters. We were undefeated in high school so we got the attention in football. We won the division but I didn't go to the colleges for a visit. I was a kid so I really didn't know."
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.