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Dartmouth Football Avoiding Aches, Breaks

  • Harrison Herskowitz, a sophomore safety for the Dartmouth College football team, wrestles a tackling sled to the Memorial Field turf on Oct. 24, 2018. Undefeated Dartmouth hosts arch-rival Harvard today for homecoming. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dartmouth College football players Niko Lalos (90), Jake Pallotta (18) and Colton Forster perform warmup stretches during an Oct. 24, 2018, practice on Memorial Field. Arch-rival Harvard arrives today for homecoming. The Big Green is seeking to improve to 7-0. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dartmouth College senior defensive lineman Jimmy McHugh awaits his turn in an Oct. 16, 2018, practice drill on Memorial Field. The Big Green and Ivy League arch-rival Harvard meet today for the hosts' homecoming game. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dartmouth College football snapper Grant Jaffe peers back at punter Davis Brief during a Sept. 26, 2018, practice on Memorial Field. The Big Green hosts Harvard for its homecoming game today. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dartmouth College linebacker Mac Battle prepares to tackle a Mobile Virtual Player robotic dummy during an Oct. 24, 2018, practice on Memorial Field. The Big Green clashes with Harvard today in an Ivy League game in which it seeks to improve to 7-0. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, October 25, 2018

Hanover — Dartmouth College football coach Buddy Teevens appeared as though he wanted to knock on wood before discussing the topic, but there’s no doubt part of his undefeated team’s success is tied to its startling good health. The No. 20 Big Green, 6-0 overall and 3-0 in Ivy League play, hosts archrival Harvard (3-3, 1-2) for homecoming on Saturday afternoon.

During past years, players outfitted in red pullovers (no contact) and yellow ones (light contact) dotted the Big Green practice scene like the colorful fall foliage on the Hanover hills. Key performers such as defensive lineman Jackson Perry, receiver Hunter Hagdorn and running back Miles Smith all missed significant time last season.

Starting tight end Vito Penza was lost to a knee injury during spring practice, and safety D.J. Avery hasn’t returned from his own knee injury, suffered midway through last season. Through six games this season, however, the Big Green has suffered virtually no injuries to starters. Dartmouth’s starters have mostly taken the fourth quarter off because of lopsided scores.

The opposite side of the coin was on glaring display last week at Columbia, where the hapless Lions had nine players helped off the field, several of whom appeared to be worthy of deep concern.

Columbia has lost more than 20 players to injury this season, and it’s a big factor in its 0-3 start in Ivy League play. A similar fate befell Dartmouth during the 2016 campaign, when players went down left and right and a 1-6 league finish ensued.

The silver lining, however, was that numerous freshmen and sophomores were forced into action and are now battle-hardened as juniors and seniors.

“I think it’s a combination of things,” Teevens said of his team’s health, which is overseen by head trainer Ben Schuler, who moved over from rugby before the campaign. “We don’t wear our guys down in terms of constant banging in practice. I think that pays dividends. Just the cumulative total during the course of the year, we don’t have it.

“You hate to see what happened at Columbia. So many guys. I don’t know how many are (out) long-term, but I was shocked.”

After every Dartmouth game, the players and coaches link arms and sing the college’s alma mater while facing their supporters in the stands. Following the Columbia game, there were a few invited guests with Keith Clark, the Big Green’s longtime offensive line coach.

Clark, who lives in Lyme with his wife, Kristen, and his 11-year-old son, Kaelan, was joined by a 14-year-old boy named Amadou and two of the youngster’s brothers. Through the Fresh Air Fund, Amadou has spent a week on Cape Cod with the Clark family each of the last five summers.

The Fund’s website tells readers that, since 1877, it has helped more than 1.8 million New York City children experience outdoor summer adventures with volunteer host families in the eastern U.S. and southern Canada. The organization also has five overnight camps for kids in Fishkill, N.Y., and Fresh Air children participate in year-round leadership and educational programs.

Clark said he was inspired by the family of Ed McCarthy, one of his former players when he coached at Yale. The McCarthys were involved with the Fund, and it planted a seed in Clark’s mind.

Amadou, who is Muslim and whose family roots are in Senegal, bikes, swims, plays basketball and simply hangs out with the Clarks. Keith Clark invited him and his brothers to attend the Columbia game and to come on the field afterwards.

“Amadou’s from the Bronx, and he’s a great kid who’s smart and working to get into one of the top high schools in New York City,” Clark said. “He’s just happy he’s outside and not stuck in his apartment for the day. He gets to do a lot of things with us he probably wouldn’t get a chance to do, but we get as much out of it as he does.”

Outside linebacker Jake Moen, a senior, is completing his second season in a role where he’s often got a hand on the ground and is facing an offensive tackle. It’s the pass rushing style perfected by 2017 graduate Folarin Orimolade, now with the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders.

“I’m more comfortable in the (down) stance,” said Moen, who put on roughly 30 pounds so as not to be bowled over at the line of scrimmage. “But I have to still be able to drop into pass coverage.”

Moen, 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, has 16 tackles, 2½ tackles for losses totaling 25 yards and a sack for another 13 yards. He said he began last season with almost no pass-rush moves but has worked steadily at the charges, sidesteps, pushes and pulls required to get past opponents who can be as much as three inches and 50 pounds bigger.

Notes: Defensive end Rocco Di Leo was named both the Ivy League’s defensive player of the week and the winner of the New England Football Writers Association Gold Helmet Award for his three-sack performance against Columbia last week. … Dartmouth has not beaten Harvard since 2003 and hasn’t downed the Crimson in Hanover in its last 11 attempts. … The Big Green’s website notes that “a sellout crowd is expected,” but a weather forecast including a wind-chill in the mid-20s and possible rain and/or snow could put the kibosh on a capacity gathering. Memorial Field seats 11,000. … Dartmouth has won nine consecutive games dating back to last season. … The Big Green’s defense leads the NCAA Football Championship Series in yards allowed per game at 246.5… Freshman field goal kicker Connor Davis, who’s had his stumbles, has attempted just two field goals during the past three games. … Harvard appears to have lost receiver and return man Justice Shelton-Mosley for the season because of injury. He was the Crimson’s leading receiver before being hurt. … Dartmouth led last year’s game with Harvard, 14-0, before losing, 25-22.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.