BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Matthew Rothfeld was the recipient of the first ever Carl D'Emilio Scholarship given by the Gov. Livingston Football Alumni Association this past spring. 

Rothfeld graduated GL with a 4.0 unweighted GPA; was a member of the National Honor Society, Math Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and Athletic Honor Society; and played football all four years. He is attending Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina where he is a pre-medical student majoring in science. 

Rothfeld was a starting outside linebacker his senior year and was named 2nd Team All-Conference. "Matt is a loyal, hard working, team first athlete with strong character and commitment," said Gov. Livingston Football Coach Daniel Guyton. "He represents all the attributes that we want our Highlander Football players to possess both on and off the field."

Sign Up for E-News

The scholarship was awarded to Rothfeld for his academic excellence, leadership on and off the football field and for being an active community member who holds his community in the same high regard as Carl D'Emilio did as a young man.

Carl D'Emilio, '86, passed away in 2015 after a battle with cancer. While attending GL, D'Emilio was involved in student government, active in several clubs and an "absolute warrior on the football field," said longtime friend and teammate John Richel, who presented Rothfeld with the scholarship.

Two months before D'Emilio eventually lost his battle to cancer, he gave a rousing speech to the football team before the Thanksgiving game against New Providence. The speech defined the pride behind the Highlander football program. He reminded the players of their responsibilities as a Highlander: being selfless, being accountable and being the type of player that leaves the field exhausted from pure effort. "That is how Carl lived his entire life," said Richel.

That 2014 Thanksgiving Day speech resonated with Rothfeld and the entire team. After a 9-year losing streak, the Highlanders delivered on D'Emilio's message to "Fight Like a Highlander" and defeated the Pioneers, 35-14, for the fourth victory of their 33 year rivalry.

Coach Guyton played D'Emilio's speech for the boys before the 2015 New Providence Thanksgiving Day game that resulted in a 10-0 GL victory. 
 
"Carl said to fight not for yourself but for your teammates, coaches, town, fans and supporters," said Rothfeld.  He personally wanted the win for Carl and Coach Guyton.  "Seeing the family on the field after the game meant more to me than anything else. The love and the ability to honor Carl was unreal," said Rothfeld.
 
"It proved what I was striving for all year -- to play well and work hard, not for my own personal gain, but rather for my teammates, coaches and fellow supporters -- and that effort proved worthwhile on Thanksgiving when we once again beat New Providence and brought happiness to the Berkeley Heights community, " said Rothfeld.

Video credit: John Haddad 

Related article: Win it for Tradition, D'Emilio Pre-Game Speech Inspires GL to Victory Over New Providence