Quarterback Scott Secules and wide receiver Keith Mattioli like to say that they got to the same place -- the University of Virginia -- via different roads.
Both 1983 graduates of Chantilly High School, they are beginning their seventh year as teammates.
Going into last season, Mattioli, a 1983 walk-on, had college totals of one letter, zero receptions and half a page in the Virginia media guide. Going into this season, he has 44 receptions, 717 receiving yards, three touchdowns, a Virginia offensive player of the year award and 1 1/4 pages in the media guide.
He was born in Hahn, West Germany, has lived in the Azores and "maybe nine or 10 other places."
If it weren't for football and his performance last season, he would be working somewhere in the business world.
Going into last season, Secules -- a high school star in football, basketball and baseball who was recruited by Virginia, Maryland and Notre Dame, among others -- had gained collegiate anonymity by spending one year as an injury redshirt and two years as a holder for field goal and extra point attempts.
In 1986, as Don Majkowski's understudy, he completed 75 of 146 passes for 956 yards and was named Virginia's most improved player. He also was honored as the player who best exemplifies academic excellence and leadership. He is a born and bred Virginian. His father played quarterback for William and Mary in the 1950s, coached football at South Lakes High School while Scott was at Chantilly and is now Chantilly's athletic director. Scott received a degree in economics last May, but is now in a two-year masters program in sports psychology.
It won't hurt that he will have Mattioli around to help him realize his football dreams. Consider: In Virginia's third game last season, against Georgia Tech, Majkowski hurt an ankle. Secules' first completion was a 27-yard touchdown pass to Mattioli. In Virginia's fifth game, against Wake Forest, Secules completed nine of 12 fourth-quarter passes for 146 yards, helping change a 21-17 deficit to a 30-28 victory. On Virginia's last drive, Secules connected twice with Mattioli.
"I know that, if I can get the ball close to him, he's going to catch it," Secules said. "When we were in high school, everybody said he was too small. I didn't believe that. I knew he could play."
Said Mattioli: "Scott had a lot more options coming out of high school than I did. I knew someday he'd be the starting quarterback somewhere. It was nice that we were able to get together down here. We're different in a lot of ways, but we're similar in a lot of ways. Mainly, we've got the same attitude toward life in general: we're both confident things are going to work out."