Rowan Sports Flashback: Football’s John Maldonado Looks Back on Last Season’s Exciting Finale Game

Rowan's football team in a huddle during a game last season against TCNJ. The Profs went on to win this game 24-20. -Staff Photographer / Ben Stephens

The year 2020 has not been a “normal” one for the world. With the war against the coronavirus still being waged, many activities have been affected.

One of these are fall sports, whether for high schools or colleges. Rowan postponed all fall sport programs for the semester back on July 28 along with the rest of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).

Rowan football’s junior wide receiver John Maldonado provided what the team has been doing during the lost playing time.

“A lot of us are staying in shape,” Maldonado said. “The older guys are getting young guys working. We’re making sure everyone stays in shape and improves better.”

Even though this season has been put on hold, reminiscing about last season can bring a happy moment to the football team. Maldonado described last year’s team as a good one.

He stated that it was not a perfect season, but through the ups and downs, and not meeting their expectations, they learned from their mistakes. Specifically, Maldonado remembers the last game of the season as his most memorable.

At that point in the season, the Profs were playing for pride going into the offseason. They were eliminated from postseason contention, so one more game would wrap things up.

The game was at home, and they were going against The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). Maldonado explained what the goal was for this game, despite not having playoffs to look forward too.

“Have as much fun as possible, just finish out strong,” Maldonado said. “[We wanted to] give the seniors something good.”

Going into halftime, the score was not where the team wanted it to be. TCNJ was winning 14-3; neither team had scored in the second quarter. According to Maldonado, the Profs knew that in order to win, they needed their thoughts to turn into results.

“At halftime, we knew we felt like the better team,” he said. “We should execute the way we want to.”

The third quarter, score-wise, was worse than the second. TCNJ scored six points, while Rowan was held scoreless again. A 20-3 lead heading into the fourth was not looking good for the Profs, until a miracle came about.

The Profs rode a big offensive wave in the final quarter. They scored 21 points while holding TCNJ to zero. Maldonado scored the game-winning touchdown, finishing with an impressive nine receptions, 142 yards and one touchdown, and the Profs won with a score of 24-20.

“I had the best game of my career,” Maldonado said.

This was all before coronavirus infiltrated the United States. Now with games postponed, Maldonado says he is on the fence about wanting to play.

“We want to play,” Maldonado said, “But if we can’t follow the precautions, it’s not right to expose people. I’m more for the second option. We don’t want to expose people’s families. It’s just a game.”

Although fall sports have been limited, the team’s spirit still remains strong. It would not be a coincidence if there is extra motivation for next season.

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