Via video, Swinney congratulates young Ridgefield player

Matthew Kinsbourne

Matthew Kinsbourne

Contributed photo / Dan Kinsbourne

Whenever his son makes a good play, Dan Kinsbourne sends a video clip to his brother-in-law, Jamaal Stephenson, the director of college scouting for the Minnesota Vikings. So when 11-year-old Matthew Kinsbourne — a member of the Ridgefield Tigers sixth grade football team — used a spin move to break free for a 60-plus yard run against New Canaan two weekends ago, his dad shared the moment with Stephenson.

“I jokingly told him that he should show it to [Clemson University head coach] Dabo Swinney because he’s the top Tiger in college football,” Dan Kinsbourne said. “I wasn’t expecting Jamaal to actually show Dabo the video.”

But Stephenson happened to be scouting ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) teams and had a meeting with Swinney scheduled for the next day. Swinney watched the video of Matthew Kinsbourne and responded with one of his own.

“Matthew, I have a special friend who wants to congratulate you for your run the other day,” Stephenson says on the video before handing the phone to Swinney.

“What’s up Matty! Coach Swinney, Clemson Tigers — your future home,” said Dabo Swinney in a 20-second video clip sent to Matthew Kinsbourne and his dad. “Hey, don’t forget me when you get famous, you got me? Great job! Keep it up!”

“I didn’t think it was real at first,” Matthew Kinsbourne said about the video featuring Swinney, whose unbeaten Clemson team is the reigning NCAA champion. “I couldn’t believe it was really him.”

“We were both knocked out of chairs when we watched it,” Dan Kinsbourne said. “For Dabo to take time out of what must be a crazy schedule and make even a 20-second video was special. It was the thrill of a lifetime for Matthew.”

Another big moment came this Saturday, as Matthew Kinsbourne scored a late touchdown and then kicked the extra point in Ridgefield’s 7-6 win over Darien. It was the first victory in five games this season for the young Tigers.

“I will keep sending videos to Jamaal, but I made it clear that there were no expectations,” Dan Kinsbourne said. “The video with Dabo was more than enough.”