November 12, 2010

A provisional career

More news about: Geneva
Gerard Muschette
Gerard Muschette has rushed for more than 3,700 yards for Geneva in his career.
Geneva athletics file photo

As an NCAA Division III provisional member the Geneva Golden Tornadoes have no chance to extend their season beyond Saturday afternoon. They are still transitioning into Division III and cannot compete for a Presidents’ Athletic Conference championship or make it to the NCAA playoffs.

So, while many teams across the country will be playing for a division championship or at-large invitation to next weekend’s NCAA playoffs, the Golden Tornadoes will compete for something much more precious than a game in Week 11.

“We play for each other because we love each other,” said senior running back Gerard Muschette. “I run the ball hard for them. They block hard for me. It’s just what’s expected between us. It’s a little disappointing that we can’t do anything, make any noise as far as Division III because we’re not on scholarship. It’s just a miscue. There’s no use crying over spilled milk. We’ve just got to play hard.”

Muschette and his fellow seniors will be playing in their final game at the collegiate level when Geneva (4-5 overall) hosts Westminster (2-7, 1-6 PAC) Saturday.

With 3,701 rushing yards in his career, Muschette is 109 yards away from setting Geneva’s all-time rushing record. The mark of 3,809 yards is currently held by Melvin Cobbs, who played at Geneva from 1997-99.

Muschette is 294 yards away from tying the school’s single-season rushing record and should he reach that mark Saturday, he would also set Geneva’s record for most yards in a single game.

“It is mixed emotions,” said Muschette. “A lot of people are talking because I need 109 yards to break the all-time rushing record at Geneva. A lot of people are talking about that, but I’m really kind of focusing on the game more than the record itself. I would like both, but if I had to choose one or the other, it’d definitely be the ‘W’.

“The defense does a great job of getting off the field and putting the offense on the field so we can achieve things,” he added. “The blocking is superior. I’m just a product of my environment.”

This year, Muschette has rushed for 1,465 yards and 16 touchdowns. He averages 162.8 rushing yards per game and is tied for the team lead with 46 receptions. He has gained 323 yards and scored three touchdowns on those catches.

“My coaches have been working with me,” said Muschette. “We actually changed our offense a little bit from my freshman year to the pistol, which was to get everybody more downhill and everything like that. They’ve actually helped out tremendously since my freshman year.

“My head coach (Geno DeMarco) realized that I was more of a downhill-type of runner rather than side-to-side and he instituted a change,” he continued. “I’m happy with it.”

In addition to his decision to play football in college, Muschette wanted to make sure he did well academically. Geneva proved to be the perfect fit on and off the field.

 “Besides the fact that they had a good, strong football team, I liked the atmosphere on campus,” said Muschette. “It’s a small school, plus they have a great business program. That’s my major and I figured, ‘Go there, play a little football and get my business degree.’ I’m on schedule to graduate this coming May.

“That’s going to be great,” he continued. “I’ll be the first one in my family to go to college and graduate.”

Muschette enjoys the ability to step off the football field and be productive in the classroom. He also embraces the role of mentor, which is something he learned about long ago at home and on the football field at Calvert High School under coach Marcus Watson.

“I have a lot of little cousins that look up to me and want to go to college now that I went to college,” Muschette said. “I tell them how they need to go to college and they can do it. They’ve not seen anybody do it and now, they see one of their older cousins who they’re pretty close with do it. They realize they can do it and want to do it.

“It was a lesson from my mom and dad first and then, Coach Watson was terrific,” he concluded. “We don’t necessarily win a lot of games, but he’s instilled in his athletes the way the game should be played and on and off the field, how to conduct yourselves. He did a great job.”

News and Notes
Wittenberg clinched at least a share of the North Coast Athletic Conference championship with its 34-17 win over the Wabash Little Giants at home last Saturday afternoon. Tigers quarterback Ben Zoeller completed 24 of 34 pass attempts for 317 yards and three touchdowns against one interception. Two of his receivers, Josh McKee and Anthony Kralich each caught six passes for 95 yards and one touchdown. The Tigers outgained Wabash 503-to-183 in total yardage, including a 317-to-160 edge in the passing game.

Anthony Korpieski, a senior defensive back for Otterbein, had two blocked kicks in last weekend’s 21-14 win over the Marietta Pioneers. His final blocked kick helped spark the Cardinals’ final scoring drive of the game. He registered an interception and four tackles on defense.

Jim O’Brien rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns in Washington U’s 14-13 win at Case Western Reserve last weekend. They were the second team in as many weeks to beat the Spartans, who had a 38-game regular season winning streak snapped at Chicago. The Bears blocked two fourth-quarter kicks which helped seal the win, the first with 3:58 remaining and another with just ten seconds left in the game.

Adrian junior running back Jared Edwards gained 248 yards and scored two touchdowns on 33 carries in the team’s 33-7 win over the Hope Flying Dutchmen last weekend. With a 79-yard score to his credit, Edwards rushed for more than 200 yards for the third time this year.

Great Lakes Region Teams in D3football.com’s Top 25 Poll This WeekNo. 2 Mount Union (OAC): No change following a 41-13 victory at Baldwin-Wallace
No. 9 Wittenberg (NCAC): No change after a 34-17 win over Wabash
No. 10 Ohio Northern (OAC): Up one spot following 44-6 victory over Wilmington
No. 11 Thomas More (PAC): Down one spot after 14-10 win at Waynesburg
No. 14 Trine (MIAA): No change following a 59-17 victory at Kalamazoo

Others Receiving Votes: Wabash (NCAC) and Baldwin-Wallace (OAC)

This Week’s NCAA North Region Rankings
1. Mount Union (Ohio Athletic Conference)
2. North Central (College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin)
3. Wheaton (CCIW)
4. Ohio Northern (OAC)
5. Wittenberg (North Coast Athletic Conference)
6. Trine (MIAA)
7. Franklin (Heartland College Athletic Conference)
8. Illinois Wesleyan (CCIW)
9. Baldwin-Wallace (OAC)
10. Wabash (NCAC)

Games of the Week
Heidelberg (5-4, 4-4 OAC) at Ohio Northern (8-1, 7-1), Saturday, 1 p.m.:
Heidelberg is looking for its first winning season in several years but have to go through a difficult Polar Bear team that is in the hunt for a postseason berth. Should Ohio Northern win, they should remain in good-enough standing regarding the regional rankings to claim an at-large bid.

DePauw (9-0, 6-0 SCAC) at Wabash (7-2, 5-1 NCAC), Saturday, 1:07 p.m. The Battle for the Monon Bell could be for more than just bragging rights. DePauw’s playoff seeding would be affected by a loss and Wabash’s hopes of making it to the NCAA Tournament rest on their ability to get a win over their archrival.

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Brian Lester

Brian Lester is a reporter in Findlay, Ohio. He has 14 years of experience at newspapers in Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio, spending the last 10 at The Courier in Findlay. Lester also writes an Around the Region column for D3hoops.com. He is a graduate of Eastern Illinois and lives in Ottawa with his wife and daughter.

2011 columnist: Dean Jackson
2007-10 columnist: Matt Florjancic

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