After a summer of training camp and nearly two years since their last game, Profs football is finally returning to the field this Saturday night for their annual season opener against Widener University.
A year ago, Rowan made the decision to cancel fall sports for the 2020 season amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It was a frustrating development for many players and coaches, but the extra time away from the game has created an even greater sense of excitement to be back, explained senior linebacker and captain, Tim Hutchinson.
“I’m super excited. I was so bummed when 2020 was cancelled and not really being sure if we were going to be able to play or if I was going to be able to play in 2021,” Hutchinson said. “So I’m just excited to get back out there and hit some different colored jerseys.”
For senior defensive back, Malachi Winters, the time off gave him time to recover from an injury and return to full health for his final season.
“At the end of the last year  I had hurt my shoulder. I had to get surgery and honestly, that year taken off was really good for me because I got to really heal my shoulder,” Winters said. “Now, we’ve just been training all summer and I honestly cannot wait to play.”
The year off also means more young players with no college football experience than usual, explained head coach, Jay Accorsi. Despite that fact, he still has high expectations for his squad.
“It’s a very young team. Really two freshman classes since we didn’t have traditional football last year,” Accorsi said. “I think camp is going really well. Again, we’re going to have to be patient with this team, because there’s a lot of new players with a lot of inexperience, but I think we’re really talented. I think the version of Prof football for 2021 is going to be dynamic, exciting, but also at the same time very challenging.”
With the beginning of a new season, the goal still remains the same for many players on the team: qualify for the New Jersey Athletic Conference [NJAC] playoffs.
“In my four years here we’ve never made the NJAC playoffs and that’s always been the goal here,” Winters said. “It’s a tradition that we’re just supposed to win and that’s what we’re going to do this year.”
For junior wide receiver and captain, John Maldonado, team chemistry has been a point of emphasis throughout the preseason and he believes it’s key for the team to achieve that goal of making the playoffs.
“We’re just going to keep working hard, keep coming together as a team and that’s a real focal point for us right now,” Maldonado said. “Coming together as a team and learning about one another and having each other’s backs and supporting one another and I think when we do that we’re going to have a real good shot at making a run for the NJAC this year.”
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