FOOTBALLSTORIES COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK – ROWAN, WEST CHESTER AND TEMPLE IN THE SPOTLIGHT
AN AWESOME GESTURE
Injuries are an unfortunate part of football and at the lower levels of college football, teams are forced to give a similar level of care as their higher division big brothers but often with fewer resources. Rowan University and their head coach Jay Accorsi were in that position when they took on Wesley in week five of the season.
In the Profs tough 21-20 loss, their center, freshman Pryce Bouchard, suffered a dislocated ankle and Accorsi, who is in season No. 18 as head coach, needed to pitch in and help the team’s training staff and the ambulance crew.
“I’m cutting his jersey off,” said Accorsi, who was trying to make it easier for Bouchard to breath, “and I just went back to the Lamaze classes with my wife, I’m like in with the nose, out with the mouth and that just kicked in at that point. I think that helped him.”
Something else that helped was Wesley president Robert E. Clark II.
Bouchard needed to have surgery in Dover, DE and stayed in the hospital while the team went back to Glassboro. Bouchard’s parents were en route from Gloversville, NY on that Saturday night when Clark arrived at the hospital with candy and magazines.
Clark, a 32-year Naval veteran, served as the Joint Service Coordinator at the Pennsylvania State University prior to becoming the 17th President of Wesley. From April 2010 to May 2013, he was the Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy.
“He sat with Pryce and gave him his personal cell number,” said Accorsi, “and it made all the difference. In all my years, I’ve never seen a president do something [like that]. It was just awesome. When I spoke to Pryce, he goes, ‘once the president showed up and he was holding my hand and he was telling me everything was going to be alright. I just felt really at ease.’
“Thank God for that guy, right,” continued Accorsi, “because that’s a hard thing when you leave somebody behind.”
Concern wasn’t limited to Clark.
“All the players,” added Accorsi, “they just had a heartbreaking loss and they’re worried about their friend that’s in the hospital so it shows you the character of our team.”
Bouchard’s surgery was successful and he was expected to be on the sideline to watch his teammates play Kean on Homecoming at Rowan on October 12.
ANOTHER AWESOME GESTURE
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia and Camden each will receive $10,000 donations thanks to the Temple football program.
Prior to the Owls game with East Carolina, Scott Hayward, who is part of the Temple football video crew, via his alter ego “Macho Scotty Smalls” issued a challenge to Pat McAfee, a retired NFL punter who’s now a college game analyst for ESPN and was going to call the game.
Hayward wanted to have a punt-off with the former All-Pro punter. However, because of a leg injury, McAfee couldn’t kick but he said if Hayward could punt a ball 30 yards, he would donate $10,000 to charity. With his first try, Hayward booted a ball 34 yards. Temple head coach Rod Carey matched the donation.
“We just wanted him to acknowledge us,” said Hayward whose kick made him someone to talk to at the Owls’ weekly media sessions at Edberg-Olson Hall. “It turned into way more than that I guess.”
YOUNG BUT GOOD
Through six games, West Chester was 6-0 and ranked No. 13 in the country at the Division II level but head coach Bill Zwaan still isn’t sure how good his team is.
The first thing is, the tougher part of the Golden Rams schedule is still to come. Additionally, they’ve won two games when they were minus five in the turnover battle.
Of course, to win six college football games, a team still needs to get great play from all three phases and West Chester has gotten that especially from a young defensive unit.
The Golden Rams ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense having allowed just 66 points in those six games. They were tied for No. 15 in passing yards allowed per game with 150.2 and translated that into a passing efficiency ranking of third.
“They’re playing really well,” said Zwaan of the youngsters. “It’s amazing, really. We have a couple of really good leaders on the defensive group that keep everybody intact. So, I’m really happy with what I’m seeing from that side of the ball.”
Against Bloomsburg, a 20-17 win, the secondary consisted of freshman Izaiah McPherson and sophomore Sterlen Barr at cornerback. Redshirt sophomore Nyeem Jones, who also has starts at linebacker this season, moved back to the defensive backfield at strong safety.
The old man of the group is senior Jarey Elder, an All-American last season, who is the free safety. Redshirt freshman Jackson Taylor, is the middle linebacker, a spot that was manned Tyler Morrissey, who was a first team, All-American his senior year.
“Our kids up front are playing great,” said Zwaan about a position where three of the four starters are upper classmen.
Email Rock Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org