Jeannette grad ends St. Vincent football career in style
It was the final college football game in the career of Darius Brown and the Jeannette High School graduate made sure it was memorable.
Brown, a senior defensive back/wide receiver for St. Vincent College, helped lead the Bearcats to a dramatic 41-35 upset victory over Bethany on Saturday to end the season — and Brown’s career — in impressive fashion.
“It was definitely one of the best games I could have ever imagined,” said Brown. “I was tasked with stopping (Eric Blinn), who was pretty much the best wide receiver in the PAC (Presidents’ Athletic Conference). My coach told me, ‘In order for us to win, you’re going to have to shut him down.’”
And Brown did just that, holding Blinn to just 13 yards on five catches. Brown also broke up for passes, had an interception and four tackles, including one for a five-yard loss.
He also returned two kicks for 63 yards and, playing some on offense, had three catches for 10 yards.
Playing Brown on offense is a new wrinkle St. Vincent has employed in recent weeks.
“I was trying to convince Coach (Ron Dolciato) since the first day I met him to let me play offense,” said Brown. “Once he did, it came naturally.”
Dolciato, St. Vincent’s head coach, said putting Brown in on offense is a way to maximize the impact of one of his team’s best players.
“He brings a different kind of excitement, so we decided to use him on offense some,” said Dolciato. “I think, if I had him for one more year, he’d definitely be the kind of player to play both ways regularly.”
Brown finishes the season with 27 tackles, four interceptions, six pass breakups, six receptions for 21 yards and 831 return yards, including two punt returns for touchdowns and one kick returned all the way.
In his career, he has 106 tackles, 11 interceptions, 26 pass breakups and 902 return yards.
“He’s always been a big play player for St. Vincent, and this year, my first year here, was no different,” said Dolciato. “He’s a solid defensive back, and he’s been a major asset on special teams. He’s been everything as advertised when I took the job. I can’t say enough about him. He’s got a great attitude, he gives 100 percent.”
With Saturday’s win, St. Vincent finishes the season 4-6 overall, 4-4 in the PAC.
Showing the kind of “team first” player he is, Brown noted that those four wins were more meaningful to him than his lofty individual stats, especially after the team struggled mightily during his time with the program.
Entering this season, the Bearcats hadn’t won a single game in more than two years, going winless in his sophomore and junior seasons.
“To me, winning is the most important thing. The fun is in winning, and losing is the worst,” he said. “I’m happy that during my senior year, we were able to get some victories.
“Our coaches kept preaching to us that the class of 2014 will be remembered for starting the turnaround of the program. I believe this year is the start of the next dynasty at St. Vincent.”
Dolciato said Brown will be tough to replace.
“Losing him is really going to hurt the team,” said Dolciato. “He’ll be missed by the players and well as the coaches … We’re excited for him that he’s going to graduate and he will go out and represent the school the way we want to be represented.”
Brown is set to graduate with a degree in sociology. He hopes to be a guidance counselor and a football coach one day and he feels the experiences he head at St. Vincent will pave the way for a successful future.
“I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” he said. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Cox has 4 tackles in win
Questions surrounded the Michigan State football team entering last Saturday’s game against Maryland. Would the Spartans respond after a tough loss to Ohio State the previous week?
They sure did and Jeannette grad Demetrious Cox was a big reason why.
Cox had a season-high four tackles as Michigan State stomped Maryland 37-15. Michigan State is now 8-2 overall, 5-1 in the Division I Big Ten conference and ranked No. 10 in the country by the Associated Press.
The team visits Rutgers (6-4, 2-4) on Saturday.
Kickoff is at noon and the game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.
Mahoney, Mount Union take OAC crown
After a season of blowouts, Mount Union — featuring Jeannette native Pat Mahoney at right guard — narrowly escaped with a victory against John Carrol on Saturday.
Mahoney, a Greensburg Central Catholic graduate, and the Purple Raiders beat John Carroll 31-24 Saturday to win the Ohio Athletic Conference title.
Their next closest margin of victory all season was 41 points.
Mount Union now enters the NCAA Division III playoffs by hosting Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champion Adrian University (8-2) Saturday at noon.
The game will be broadcast at athletics.mountunion.edu.
Brian Knavish is a contributing writer.