This weekend the pair will add one more common link when they are inducted into the UTC Athletics Hall of Fame. DeMatteo and Sanders are a part of the five-member Class of 2010 that was announced on Friday.
Sanders was a gun-slinging quarterback from Texas while DeMatteo was a hard-nosed receiver from Winchester, Tenn.. They both landed small parts in the 2006 movie Invincible, starring Mark Wahlberg as former Philadelphia Eagle Vince Papale, but Chattanooga football fans remember them more for their ridiculous numbers they put up on the field at Finely Stadium.
Few will ever forget Sept. 16, 2000 when the pair hooked up nine times for 203 yards and six touchdowns in a 72-17 rout of Mississippi Valley State at Finley Stadium. Sanders was relatively quiet by his standards, going 15-22 for 293 yards passing, but DeMatteo set an NCAA record with his six touchdown receptions. That record still stands and was almost extended to seven, but Dematteo was stopped just short of the goal-line on another catch.
Aaron "Cos" DeMatteo was a two-time honorable mention All-American from 1998-01. He came to Chattanooga as a quarterback from Franklin County High School and played seven games at that position as a freshman.
Ironically, it was the arrival of Sanders in 1999 that moved DeMatteo to receiver where he now ranks in the top-5 in career receiving yards, receptions and touchdown catches at UTC. He finished his career as the all-time leader with 166 catches, a number that still ranks second in school history. His 2,092 career receiving yards are fourth all-time and his 23 receiving touchdowns are second.
A two-time All-Southern Conference selection, DeMatteo is UTC's single-season record holder with 11 touchdown receptions in both 1999 and 2000. He was also the team's offensive MVP for both of those years. In 2003, he was voted a member of Chattanooga Football's All-Century Team.
Despite only playing two seasons at UTC, Sanders left a long-lasting impression on the Chattanooga Football record books. Even with the recent success of local product B.J. Coleman, Sanders' two-year numbers are far and away the benchmarks in nearly every passing record in school history.
A native of Flower Mound, Texas, Sanders transferred to UTC from SMU in 1999. He went on to set single-season passing records in both of his years with the Mocs and was a two-time All-American. In 1999, he set school records with 3,539 passing yards and 27 touchdowns.
Against Furman, he set a school record with 532 passing yards. His 66 attempts and 41 completions in that game are still tops at UTC. He earned Honorable Mention All-American honors from Football Gazette following his junior year.
Sanders topped his junior totals with 3,691 passing yards as a senior in 2000, adding another 22 touchdown passes. His six touchdown throws against Mississippi Valley State tied a school record and he threw for over 400 yards in three games. He went on to garner second team All-American accolades from Football Gazette.
Sanders is the only Moc to throw for 3,000 yards in a season, and he did it twice. He is also the only UTC player to amass 7,000 passing yards in a career, finishing with 7,230. His 49 career touchdown passes are also a school record. In 2003, he joined DeMatteo on the Chattanooga Football All-Century team.
Both graduates of UTC have had very successful careers since leaving Chattanooga. Not only were they both in Invincible, but DeMatteo also had a role in the remake of The Longest Yard, while Sanders was the unnamed QB on the Spike TV show 4th and Long.
DeMatteo received his Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Finance from UTC in 2002. He also earned his Master's of Business Administration from Chattanooga in 2003. He and his wife, Amy, who is an alum of UTC, have a one-year old son, Cosmo. DeMatteo is currently an assistant football coach with Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.
Since graduating with a degree in General Management, Sanders has been a part of preseason and practice squads for two NFL teams and is a veteran of the AFL and NFL Europe. He is currently living in Dallas and works as the Compliance Director for the Arena Football League.