Around the Region

'Survive and advance' has different meaning for Morgan

Josh Morgan had bigger fish to fry in the offseason but had a huge season for the Panthers.
Plymouth State athletics photo 

Framingham State, Endicott and Gallaudet are getting ready for the playoffs. Plymouth State linebacker Josh Morgan is getting ready for his cancer treatments.

Morgan was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in February. He had his thyroid removed in May. And he was a standout on both sides of the ball for the Panthers in September, October and November.

He could have taken the season off. But it was his senior year.

"The first question out of my mouth for my doctor was whether I would still be able to play football or not," Morgan said.

Oh how he played. A couple of weeks ago he was the Panthers' leading rusher and made 11 tackles in the same game. How many players do that anymore? A throwback.

Now, he will adhere to a special diet to get ready for the treatments.

"I'll have the treatments over the holidays," he said.

The Panthers won but two games this season, but Morgan savored those victories. He wishes there could have been more of them, but he would not trade the Plymouth experience for anything. He is appreciative of the support he received from the coaches, players and entire football family.

"They were always calling me and asking me what is happening next," Morgan said.

Now, it's holiday time and cancer treatment. Not most people's idea of the season, but Morgan has a great outlook.

"I am looking at it pretty positively. I'm looking at it as something you have to go through," Morgan said.

He has reason for optimism. The doctors have told him they believe they got all of the cancer when they removed the thyroid.

Plymouth coach Paul Castonia spoke to the team about Morgan's situation and his courage after the season finale against Fitchburg State. He made a conscious effort not to talk about it during the season.

"He came in here as a quarterback and we made him a running back," Castonia said. "We moved him to linebacker two years ago and he made second team all-conference as a junior. He was all over the place. He also plays on special teams.

"He wants to be out there all the time. If we had 22 of him we would win every game."

Castonia said Morgan wants to be on the field all the time. Defense, offense, special teams. He will do whatever it takes to help the team.

"It just shows what kind of a person he is," Castonia said.

"I've just got to kick this thing in the butt," the criminal justice major said.

Opponents who have seen his meddle as a linebacker or running back have no doubt he will do just that.

Bison, Gulls and Rams move on

Endicott and Salve Regina were in a winner-take-all game. The NEFC title was on the line and much of the pregame hype was Salve Regina's stout defense against Endicott's prolific offense.

"I think it would up being the other way around," Endicott coach J.B. Wells said. "Our offense didn't do anything...

Read the rest of this column


Tom Haley

A seven time Vermont sportswriter of the year, Tom Haley has been with the Rutland Herald since 1987. He was inducted into the Castleton State College Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the Contributor to Football Award from the National Football Foundation's Vermont Chapter.


Previous Columns

November 19, 2013
'Survive and advance' has different meaning for Morgan
Framingham State, Endicott and Gallaudet are getting ready for the playoffs. Plymouth State...
November 12, 2013
Booker, Porcelli make names for themselves
Melvin Booker had a great game on Saturday for Becker, while his opponent, Castleton's Anthony...
November 5, 2013
Getting past the pain
Salve Regina coach Kevin Gilmartin saw his top running back Richie Edwards' passion for the game as...
October 27, 2013
McKoy's long run to 455
Octavias McKoy did what so many other D-III players do on Sunday morning. He watched SportsCenter....
October 22, 2013
Frosh doing big things for UMD
There were some staggering numbers this week on the Northeast landscape. Trinity won its 50th...
October 16, 2013
Bringing it on Saturday
With a small roster, Gallaudet is forced to do some unconventional things in practice, but they have...
October 8, 2013
Winning day for Cadets
The past and present of Norwich football was on display this past weekend in Northfield, Vt.
October 1, 2013
Bumpus steals spotlight in MASCAC shootout
All of the preseason and early-season hype was around the Mass. Maritime quarterback, but it was...
September 24, 2013
Van Alstyne helping Framingham break out
Rams coach Tom Kelley thinks New England schools have become too isolated, but his senior running...
September 17, 2013
Senior surge
Often a player will commit to a season like never before. Frequently, it's the senior year, the last...
September 10, 2013
A heightened appreciation for the game
The anguish was all over Plymouth State center Xander Fuccillo's face as he came off Currier Field...
September 5, 2013
Games to watch for 2013
Matter of fact, all of Division III football has things in perspective. That's one thing that makes...
November 13, 2012
Inside Mount Ida's victory
There was a wild celebration at midfield at Spartan Stadium after Mount Ida had beaten Castleton...
November 6, 2012
Holiday dreams for Northeast teams
Everyone wants to be playing late in November. Holiday dreams dance under helmets at Salve Regina,...


Other Columnists