Injuries rattle Jeannette grad’s freshman season with Seton Hill
Mike Wise came to the Seton Hill University football team primed to contribute during this, his freshman season.
Things looked like they were heading that way for the Jeannette High School graduate, until the injury bug struck.
First, Wise — a 6-foot-2, 230-pound tight end — suffered a concussion during preseason training camp, causing him to miss some time.
Then, after recovering, he worked his way onto the field, playing a handful of snaps for the NCAA Division II Griffins against Lock Haven and West Chester in weeks two and three, before being sidelined again when he tore a labrum in his shoulder.
He’s been out ever since and is awaiting surgery shortly after this season concludes. Sitting out has been frustrating for the local product.
“This is not what I was expecting,” he said. “They had good plans for me this year.”
“They” is the Seton Hill coaching staff, and they did, indeed, expect Wise to be a part of their fast-paced, high-powered offense.
“He was tearing it up in the summer, and he was ready to contribute,” said Seton Hill tight ends coach Gerry Pacitti. “He’s been injury-ridden since, but he’s focused on not letting his team down. He’s a competitor.”
That competitiveness has Wise frustrated because, like any competitor, he doesn’t like standing on the sidelines.
“Being injured has been quite discouraging,” said Wise. “You’re working hard, week after week, and then you’re out. Even as a freshman, with as many plays as we run in this offense, no one player at any position can take all of the snaps, so there was definitely going to be opportunity for playing time.”
However, Wise is not viewing this as a lost season.
Instead, he’s practicing as much as he can, learning from upperclassmen and coaches and focusing on the future.
Pacitti said the Seton Hill coaching staff is quite excited about Wise’s future with the Griffins.
“Honestly, he’s got all the tools,” said the coach. “He’s sharp when it comes to his routes. He has a game plan when he gets to line of scrimmage … he’s a strong kid. He’s got good hands. He goes up and he gets it.
“During summer camp, he was making plays and you kind of had to do a double-take. He’s able to make all the plays, he just needs to work on his run blocking.”
Wise is pursuing a medical redshirt for this season, meaning, if it is granted, he would gain an extra year of eligibility. He hopes to recover for his injuries, train during the offseason and be ready to contribute in a meaningful way next season.
“My goal is to help contribute to the team,” he said. “I don’t have to be setting records or anything like that. I’m here to help the team and ultimately win a championship. Hopefully we can turn things around for this program.”
This season, Seton Hill is 2-7 overall and 2-6 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).
The team hosts conference foe Edinboro (1-8, 1-7) Saturday.
MSU bracing for Ohio State
Ever since the 46-27 week two loss to Oregon, Michigan State — featuring Jeannette grad Demetrious Cox as a reserve safety — has been unstoppable.
However, save an Oct. 4 showdown with Nebraska, the competition has been less-than-stellar for the Spartans.
That all changes this week.
Michigan State — which is coming off an idle week — is 7-1 overall, 4-0 in the Big Ten conference and ranked No. 7 in the country.
The Spartans host perennial national power Ohio State (7-1, 4-0 and ranked No. 13) at 8 p.m. Saturday. ESPN “College Game Day” will broadcast live from East Lansing that day.
The game will be broadcast on ABC.
Locals shine in St. Vincent loss
In Division III action, St. Vincent fell to Westminster 28-14 at home and, as usual, a couple of local products were among the highlights for the Bearcats.
Sophomore running back Shavonta Craft, a Jeannette grad, led the team with 93 rushing yards on 21 carries, including a late touchdown. He also had two catches for 19 yards.
Fellow Jeannette grad Darius Brown, a senior defensive back, had two tackles and returned one kick and two punts for a combined 35 yards. Brown, who has been seeing time on offense as of late, also had two catches for six yards.
St. Vincent is now 3-5 overall and 3-3 in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC). The Bearcats visit Geneva (2-6, 2-5) on Saturday at 1p.m.; the game will be broadcast at athletics.stvincent.edu.
Another win for Mahoney, Mount Union
Mount Union, including Jeannette native Pat Mahoney, cruised by Otterbein 66-7 on Saturday to improve to 8-0 on the season.
Mahoney, a Greensburg Central Catholic grad, is a senior and the team’s starting right guard. He and his linemates helped the Purple Raiders churn out 565 yards of total offense, including 351 yards rushing.
Otterbein managed just 74 total yards.
Mount Union, ranked No. 3 in Division III, visits Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) foe Baldwin Wallace (5-3, 4-3) on Saturday.
Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast at athletics.mountunion.edu.
Brian Knavish is a contributing writer.