EDINBORO — As the Edinboro football team waited to hear the NCAA Division II playoff brackets, you could have heard a pin drop. The NCAA, however, decided to drop a bomb.

Despite heading into the last game of the season ranked sixth in the Northeast Region, a position that would have earned them a playoff spot, the Fighting Scots did not make the playoffs as expected. It turns out a resounding 41-3 win over Lock Haven on the road was trumped by Southern Connecticut State’s 77-35 win over Bryant at home.

“I thought it was a done deal,” said head coach Lou Tepper. “To go (into the Lock Haven game) sixth, and then to dominate like we did ... I just didn’t see anyway we would not get in.

“I guess that is why it’s so tough.”

The omission of the Scots has to be looked upon in wonder.

Most of the players, in fact, couldn’t believe their eyes and ears at first. It took a few seconds for the reality to set in — Edinboro University did not appear in the bracket. When it finally hit home, the seniors knew their careers were over.

“I just thought, ‘it’s over,’” said quarterback Justin Bouch. “Football is over.”

“I looked around at the players in the room,” said linebacker Seth Fragale. “I realized that this might be the last time we would all be together like this. Then, knowing we weren’t going to play in the playoffs ... it hurt.”

In comparison, SCS and EUP only had one common opponent.

The Owls played Kutztown on Sept. 10 and won by just three points, 31-28. Edinboro played the Golden Bears two weekends ago and won handily, 33-7. Beyond that, it is hard to compare the two teams.

But what Edinboro really might want to question is why the PSAC East got three teams in the playoffs. That’s not to say Bloomsburg (11-0), East Stroudsburg (8-2) and West Chester (8-3) aren’t deserving. Still, the team has to wonder if the strength of the west is being underestimated.

“I don’t know,” said Bouch. “You have three teams that had pretty good years over there.”

“We play a very competitive schedule,” said Tepper. “And we played very well against the teams in the (PSAC East). We lost to East Stroudsburg in the final seconds and we beat Kutztown pretty solid.”

One of the games that may have hurt the Scots was their opener with West Virginia University Tech.

WVU Tech finished the season winless, which brought down the team’s strength of schedule factor. That was one of the problems with the system, according to Tepper.

“We tried to get a game with a ranked team,” said Tepper. “But, because of the strength of schedule factor, teams don’t want ( to take on an extra tough game). Now, we are thankful to WVU Tech for playing us, allowing us to even be eligible for the playoffs.

“But because of the perceived strength of schedule, it is tough to get good games.”

As for the seniors, they have nothing to hang their heads about.

The team won three straight PSAC West titles and posted 26 wins in that time — a new school record for a three-year span. They could finish the year as the top-ranked defense in the nation, allowing just 211.2 yards per game and 9.3 points per game. The Scots were also No. 1 against the run, allowing a mere 31.7 yards per game.

“That is one thing I can’t figure out,” said Fragale. “How can they keep the No. 1 defense in the nation out of the playoffs. I’m sure they have their reasons, but I think we could have competed for the Northeast Region title.

“But being apart of this Edinboro football team is something we can cherish for the rest of our lives. And I am confident the juniors, sophomores and freshman can carry the tradition on.”



React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

Recommended for you