1991. Those born in that year are now quizzing at the AACS level, but the reason that year stands as one of the most important in AACS doesn’t have much to do with that. That is the first year that freshmen were allowed to quiz at AACS. While some dispute it, I believe that there was a freshman that year whose presense made a huge difference.
Matt Rexford joined a core at Southside, including Josh Malone and Carl Wood, which had finished 2nd and 3rd in their two years of eligibility. It was clear that this was a top team, yet other very good teams were still there.
The competition included the two time defending champion from Florida. Illinois had also arisen onto the scene and it was clear that they would also be a contender. Indiana, Michigan, and Missouri all proved formidable that year, and at the time Pennsylvania and Vermont were considered powerhouse states.
With so many solid teams, the difference between remaining in the fray and pushing excellence was accomplished through the arrival of a freshman. Matt Rexford allowed Carl Wood to be used off the bench and the juggernaut to once again win a championship. Being the first freshman ever to win an AACS title is one thing that may put some over the top, but the story does not stop there.
As a sophomore, Matt lost his two powerhouse teammates. He led a much lesser team to third at AACS. This accomplishment left Southside as the first team to ever finish in the top three at AACS six years in a row, but unfortunately, it also marked the final time that Southside quizzed at AACS to date.
Never deterred, their coach started a tournament designed specifically for Southside. SCQANIT was formed so Southside could have a national tournament to continue their competitive ways. For the first two years of SCQANIT (and the last two years of Rexford’s career), the top two teams were clearly Southside and The Master’s Academy.
While TMA won both years, some interesting facts from those years include the following: 1) no other team beat either TMA or SCS in those two years at SCQANIT, 2)Only Matt and Jenni West ever got more than one question in a quiz before Matt quizzed out, 3) He was one of only two quizzers David Douglas coached, which he felt were as good as he was.
After graduation, Matt attended and graduated from Cedarville, where I am told that he was instrumental in the leading of their chapel services. He left there and has been involved at Southside Fellowship ever since. He has since married Whitney and become the worship pastor there. While his involvement in Bible Quiz has been minimized since his graduation, his testimony of love for the Lord and using of his gifts has not.
Go forth with God’s light, Matt. You’re now on the list!!