Scout team to starter, Ehst engi­neers turnaround for Grove City foot­ball team

The Community Connection - - SPORTS - By Bill Arsenault For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Josh Ehst’s sea­son with the Grove City foot­ball team is some­thing that they write books or make movies about.

The 6-foot, 185-pound fresh­man from Dou­glassville and a Daniel Boone grad­u­ate, started the sea­son play­ing safety on de­fense for the Wolver­ines be­cause of his ath­leti­cism. He’s listed on the ros­ter as a quar­ter­back and stayed at it by run­ning the scout team in prac­tice. In the third week of the sea­son, in a game against Case Western, Grove City’s start­ing quar­ter­back suf­fered a sea­son-end­ing in­jury.

Ehst saw his first of­fen­sive ac­tion at the end of that game. He hit 13 of 28 passes for 180 yards with a touch­down. But he was in­ter­cepted four times and was sacked three times.

The fol­low­ing week, the team had an open com­pe­ti­tion for the start­ing job and Ehst earned the job.

In his first start, the team faced No. 12-ranked Wash­ing­ton & Jef­fer­son and came out on the short end of a 62-10 de­ci­sion.

Things have changed since then. The Wolver­ines have won three straight after a 28-3 vic­tory over Way­nes­burg last Satur­day in Grove City. Ehst com­pleted just six passes in 11 at­tempts but they in­cluded touch­down plays of 68, 66 and 61 yards. But the real test came a week ear­lier when he led the team to a come-from-be­hind 36-33 vic­tory over West­min­ster in front of a Home­com­ing crowd. He ended a 78-yard drive with a 7-yard touch­down to Cody Gustafson with seven sec­onds left in the game.

“On that last drive, the com­po­sure Josh had was pretty spe­cial,” coach An­drew DiDonato said. “For a fresh­man to be in front of that crowd and do what he did is very notable. We opened it up in the third quar­ter and he made some great throws and he played very con­fi­dent in the sec­ond half.”

Ehst has com­pleted 43 of 138 passes for 760 yards and eight touch­downs to help the team go to 4-3 over­all and 3-3 in Pres­i­dents’ Ath­letic Con­fer­ence play. He hasn’t been in­ter­cepted since the Case Western game. He’s also rushed for 77 yards on 40 car­ries with a touch­down.

MARK DUKES (POTTS­GROVE) >> The West Ch­ester foot­ball team is off to a great start and a key mem­ber of the of­fense is se­nior run­ning back Mark Dukes.

The Golden Rams, ranked 11th in the lat­est Amer­i­can Foot­ball Coaches As­so­ci­a­tion Di­vi­sion II poll, won their first six games and stand at 3-0 in the PSAC East after a tough come-from-be­hind 17-14 league vic­tory over Blooms­burg on Oct. 6 in Blooms­burg. Dukes, from Pottstown and a Potts­grove High grad, scored on an 11-yard run to start the team’s come­back. He fin­ished with 17 car­ries for 75 yards.

On the sea­son, the 5-foot11, 195-pounder has car­ried the ball 83 times for 386 yards with five touch­downs. That to­tal in­cludes a col­lege ca­reer-high 120 yards on 19 car­ries in a 4216 league vic­tory over Millersville on Sept. 22 in West Ch­ester. He’s also caught eight passes for 121 yards and one touch­down.

“Mark has tran­si­tioned into the No. 1 run­ning back this year quite well,” coach Bill Zwaan said. “He has had a few good games where he has set his own per­sonal record for yards gain.”

The coach calls Dukes his “go-to” player right now.

“Mark has ma­tured both on and off the field since com­ing to West Ch­ester,” Zwaan said. “His role will con­tinue to grow as the big­ger games come up down the stretch.”

West Ch­ester had a bye this week­end and is back in ac­tion Oct. 20 at East Strouds­burg.

MAD­DIE SAGER (OWEN J. ROBERTS) >> The ju­nior helped the Se­ton Hall women’s golf team fin­ish third out of 17 schools at the Yale Women’s In­vi­ta­tional Oct. 5-7 in New Haven, Conn. Sager fin­ished tied for 32nd out of 95 play­ers and was fifth best fin­isher for the Pi­rates. She high­lighted her per­for­mance by shoot­ing a one-over-par 72 in the fi­nal round. Ear­lier she had rounds of 78 and 80 to to­tal 230. Sager fin­ished tied for 29th at the Prince­ton In­vi­ta­tional on Sept. 29-30 in Prince­ton, N.J. with rounds of 79 and 74 for a 153 to­tal. HA­LEY CLIVER (BOY­ER­TOWN) >> The ju­nior is a key mem­ber of the Delaware Val­ley hunt seat eques­trian team. She kicked off the fall sea­son by fin­ish­ing sec­ond in In­ter­me­di­ate flat at the West Ch­ester Show on Sept. 29 in West Ch­ester to help the Ag­gies tie for the team ti­tle. At the Bucks County CC/La Salle Col­lege Show on Oct. 6 in New­ton, Cliver fin­ished first in in­ter­me­di­ate flat to help Delaware Val­ley fin­ish first. The Ag­gies re­turn to the arena for the Penn State Berks Show on Oct. 27 in Reinholds. SEL­WYN SIMP­SON (SPRINGFORD) >> The 6-foot-2, 229-pound run­ning back is com­ing off the bench and see­ing more ac­tion of late for the Lafayette foot­ball team, the Leop­ards 1-4 over­all and 0-1 in Pa­triot League play after a 3124 non-league vic­tory over Cen­tral Con­necti­cut on Sept. 29 in Eas­ton. Simp­son had 21 yards on 11 car­ries, caught a pass for five yards and re­turned a kick­off 17 yards in the game. On the sea­son, he’s car­ried the ball 35 times for 86 yards,

GROVE CITY’S JOSH EHST.

West Ch­ester run­ning back Mark Dukes (Potts­grove).

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