What's buzzing:

Prep Rally

A 7-year-old’s inspiring journey from an Ethiopan orphanage to NFL stadiums

Prep Rally

Meet Matiwos Rumley, the 7-year-old African orphan who will compete in the NFL's Punt, Pass & Kick National Championships this weekend.

View photo

.
Matiwos Rumley, 7, won the New England Punt, Pass & Kick title at Gillette Stadium -- Facebook

Matiwos Rumley, 7, won the New England Punt, Pass & Kick title at Gillette Stadium -- Facebook

His rags-to-riches journey from an Ethiopian orphanage to Hebron, Conn., where his meteoric rise to football fame began, is featured in an incredible Harford Courant piece.

A year ago, The Rumley family adopted Matiwos from Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, home to millions of orphans, according to the Courant. He knew one word of English: "Apple."

As soon as a week before Hebron's sectional Punt, Pass & Kick competition, Matiwos also had never picked up a football before. He proceeded to win sectional and state titles in October before claiming the New England crown prior to a Patriots-Bills game at Gillette Stadium on Nov. 11.

"The first time I see [the NFL] on television I say, 'Oh, my God! What is that sport?' " Matiwos told the paper in his improved English. "Then I see them tackle, I say, 'Whoo!'"

He grew up playing soccer, which gives him a decided advantage in PP&K competitions.

"They didn't have TV or PlayStation at the orphanage," said his adoptive father, Mark Rumley. "What they did from 7 in the morning until 8 at night was play soccer, two-on-two in an alley all day, every day, 12 hours a day in Crocs."

Matiwos also loves basketball, which recently led to a broken right thumb that barely even fazed the tough little guy. "I'll just throw lefty," he told the Courant.

Doctors at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center fashioned a blue cast for the 7-year-old Patriots fan in hopes he can compete righthanded in Saturday's NFL's Punt, Pass & Kick National Championships, where he enters as the No. 1 seed in the ages 6-7 division.

If he wins, Matiwos will be introduced on national TV during Sunday's Falcons-Seahawks game at the Georgia Dome, where we're guessing he'll have a few fans on his side.

Want more on the best stories in high school sports? Visit RivalsHigh or connect with Prep Rally on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

View Comments (2)
  • All Blacks planning, desire to improve, in focus against Wallabies

    All Blacks planning, desire to improve, in focus against Wallabies

    By Greg Stutchbury WELLINGTON (Reuters) - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen's long-term planning will again come into focus on Saturday when they face Australia in the Rugby Championship, with his mantra of 'raising the bar' also likely to be tested. … More »

    Reuters - 5 minutes ago
  • Guardiola returning to Barca in Champions League

    Guardiola returning to Barca in Champions League

    By Brian Homewood MONACO (Reuters) - Pep Guardiola will return to the Nou Camp in the Champions League group stage after his new club Manchester City were drawn against his former Barcelona team on Thursday in one of the toughest of the eight … More »

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago
  • Hungary to build stronger anti-migrant fence, Orban says

    Hungary's prime minister says the country will build a new, "massive" fence on its southern borders to defend against a possible surge in the number of migrants. Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who earlier said migrants were "poison," said Friday on … More »

    The Canadian Press - 10 minutes ago
  • Records aside, US Open getting personal for Serena

    Records aside, US Open getting personal for Serena

    By Larry Fine NEW YORK (Reuters) - At last year's U.S. Open, Serena Williams was trying to rewrite the record book and fell short, but starting on Monday at Flushing Meadows winning is getting personal. Williams' 184-week reign as world number one … More »

    Reuters - 11 minutes ago
  • Reed and Laird set pace at Bethpage, Day two back

    Reed and Laird set pace at Bethpage, Day two back

    (Reuters) - Patrick Reed gave his Ryder Cup hopes a timely boost as he charged into a share of the first-round lead at The Barclays on Thursday with defending champion Jason Day in hot pursuit, two strokes back. World number one Day, who triumphed … More »

    Reuters - 12 minutes ago