Wilkes dedicates stadium to former coach and beats Widener at homecoming game

Mark Ricci, Correspondent

Rollie Schmidt, the former Wilkes football coach leading in all-time wins, had the name of the football stadium dedicated in his honor. The Ralston Athletic Complex is where the honorary ceremony had taken place at around 12:30 PM. Shcmidt undoubtedly deserved this recognition. With a remarkable 32 game win streak within his career, Schmidt put Wilkes on the map of collegiate football, and even gaining the university itself greater popularity.

Schmidt did more for Wilkes than just coach football. He coached the baseball and golf teams as well. And his grand leadership resulted in both teams winning MAC titles within his career. Three golf championships, and one baseball. Schmidt retired after 32 years of coaching, and was inducted into the Wilkes’ Hall of Fame in 1994, earning him Emeritus Faculty Status.

Wilkes Quarterback Alex George had extra motivation going into Saturday’s homecoming game especially with the dedication to former head coach Rollie Schmidt.

“Rollie Schmidt really made Wilkes the program that it is, and it just gives me extra motivation to be a part of something like that,” George, sophomore business administration major, said.

The game was some Widener defeated the Colonels last season, but this time around the Colonels were fully determined in beating their opponent. There was a greater sense of purpose and it resulted in their 35-27 victory newly honored Schmidt Stadium.

The Colonel offense wore down Widener with a rushing attack that piled up 332 yards on the ground, which nearly doubled their season average of 170 yards per game. In addition to their prolific run game, the Colonels were also very successful on the other side of the ball forcing 6 turnovers which lead to 3 touchdown drives.

Alex George had a breakthrough game as he was involved in every touchdown scored. On the day, George had 3 passing touchdowns along with 2 rushing scores in a game where he accumulated 288 yards of total offense. Senior captain Zach Tivald also rushed for a season-high 147 yards on 21 carries.

George credits the success to the blocking of his teammates that opened up running lanes for a Colonel rushing attack that totaled 332 yards rushing.

“The major thing was the performance by the offense line and the blocking by wide receivers down field,” George, who accounted for 107 yards rushing and two scores, said. “The blocking was great and allowed for great performance by everyone on our offense.”

Along with proving of being a good quarterback, George is also a man of his word. Prior to the game, he believed with wholehearted confidence that they would get the win in the former coach’s honor.

“We’re going to get that W in dedication to Rollie,” George said.

Another big factor for the victory was the support of the 12th man, the Wilkes cheering section which totaled 2335 fans. Student Government even handed out T-shirts and rally towels to get the community out to cheer. Members of the football team were very excited to see a rowdy crowd.

“Nothing is better than coming out to a packed crowd,” George said. “The student support was awesome and we can only hope that more students make it out to all of our home games.”

Auxence Wogou, a sophomore business major, was also very excited to see a big turnout from the Wilkes community.

“There’s nothing better than winning in front of the home crowd and alumni,” Wogou said. “It felt great to getthe first win under our belt.”