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Hoover in at Running Back

JACKSON BLEVINS ‘20 | STAFF WRITER •Being a student-athlete at Wabash presents challenges that could make someone reevalu- ate their priorities and goals on this campus. All sports are demanding in their own way, but one could argue that football is the most demanding of them all. The sheer physical-
ity of the game can quickly cause athletes to hang up their cleats, but not Austin Hoover ’19. The Sheridan High School graduate stayed persistent throughout his entire college career and is currently enjoying his fourth year as a running back for the Little Giants. Many of his peers on campus have recognized his persis- tence and character on-and-off the field.

Despite being a senior on the team, Hoover noted some challenges he faced over the last three years. “It’s a tough transition going from playing every game in high school to waiting for your name to be called in college,” Hoover said. “The team has always bonded very well in my four years here. We always talk and hang out, and that has helped with the rigor of playing college football.”

Hoover’s persistence recently paid divi- dends for the Little Giants, as Hoover
had two key performances to propel the Little Giants to victories over University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) and North Coast Athletic Conference opponent Kenyon College. Running back Ike James ’20 suffered a leg injury against UWSP that rendered him out for the season, and someone had to step up. Hoover did just that, and more.

Hoover carried the ball 16 times for a total of 69 yards and a touchdown, which proved to be the deciding factor in the game. Head Football Coach Don Morel cited Hoover regarding his performance against the UWSP in the September 12th edition of the Don Morel Show and was pleased with his perfor- mance to help close out the game against the Stevens-Point.

“Austin came in and did a great job, as we would expect,” Morel said. “He did a great job ending the football game.”

Joe House ’19, Hoover’s roommate for three semesters in Lambda Chi Alpha, also had nothing but great things to say about Hoover. “Hoover is such a hard worker on and off the field,” House said. “He’s just a good guy, and I am super glad he has gotten this opportunity because he is a great athlete.”

Hoover decided to take his game up a notch against conference foe Kenyon, as he rushed for 255 yards on 19 carries and tallied four touchdowns against the Lords. His perfor- mance earned him a spot on D3football.com’s Team of the Week and placed him third on the Wabash record list for rush yards in a single game. Regarding personal accomplishments, Hoover is not focused on them at this point in the season. He has other important factors on his mind, such as his teammates.

“I just want to keep helping the team out
in the best way possible,” Hoover said. “The team always says, ‘When it’s your turn, make sure you are ready. And if someone goes down, you need to be prepared’, and that’s what happened. It’s unfortunate that Ike went down with an injury, but I was prepared to go and run the ball.” Hoover has high hopes for the team this year and believes they can do something special.

“We want to win every game and win confer- ence,” Hoover said. “We haven’t been to the playoffs since my freshman year, but I think we can do it this year. Personally, when I get in, I need to block who I am supposed to and make sure I hold onto the football. Whatever can get us to the playoffs is what I am trying to do.”
Check out Hoover and the rest of the Little Giant Football Team at home tomorrow. They take on the Fighting Scots of the College of Wooster for the 2018 Wabash Homecoming Game at 2 p.m.