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Frostburg State aims to flip the script

On a defensive line where Will Sewell has gotten the accolades, Niles Scott is playing a much larger role than in the past.
Frostburg State athletics photo

At first look, this season has looked a lot like the movie Groundhog Day for the Bobcats.

Like last season, Frostburg State has won five of its first six games and are contention for the New Jersey Athletic Conference title. However, in 2015, they lost their last three games by a total of 15 points. This year, they are looking to flip that script.

It has been a time of renewal for the program since coach DeLane Fitzgerald took over the reins in 2014. They have posted 16 wins in just over two and half seasons. A playoff caliber program throughout most of the 1990s, they had won just 17 games over the previous eight seasons.

So when the Fitzgerald arrived the cupboard was pretty bare. The team was coming off a 1-9 season and went winless in the Empire 8. The fastest way to turn around a football program is to bring in good players and one guy kept standing out as he watched recruiting film.

It was Niles Scott, a 6-3, 250-pound defensive lineman from Elkton, Md.

Scott, now a junior, has played a key role on a defense that currently 11th in D-III in total defense and 14th in scoring defense. The unit allows just 13 points and fewer than 250 yards a game. From an interior line position, Scott has registered 5.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for losses.

“He’s been a leader since the day he stepped on campus,” said Fitzgerald. He fondly remembers Scott scooping up a fumble during his freshman season and returning it 30 yards for a touchdown against Ithaca in 2014. It was a key play in the Bobcats’ double-overtime victory over the nationally ranked Bombers.

It might have also been the point where you could tell that the program was headed in a different direction.

“Niles scoops and scores and makes like four guys miss on his way to the end zone.”

That athleticism has helped make him maybe the best interior defensive lineman that you haven’t heard about. As he grew to 280 pounds and dedicated himself in the weight room, he moved from end inside to a three-technique tackle.

“He was a better player as a sophomore, though the stats didn’t show it,” Fitzgerald said. “Playing inside, he was getting double- and triple-teamed.”

“Now, he’s adjusted as a junior. They’re having a hard time blocking him with two people.”

It took a while for Scott to adjust, but according Scott “now he just...

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Jason Bowen

Jason Bowen has 10 years of Division III coaching experience at Wesley, where he was also the Sports Information Director. He currently provides color analysis on broadcasts of Wesley games on WDEL Radio 1150AM and has served as a staff and freelance writer for the Delaware State News in Dover. He has been a contributor for since 2006. By day he teaches high school biology. He is a 1992 graduate of and three-year letter winner at linebacker for Mansfield (Pa.) University.

2006-10 columnist: Adam Samrov
2011-14 columnist: Andrew Lovell


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