September 14, 1999

An open letter to Jerry Rice

More news about: Westminster (Mo.)

 

Jerry Rice
San Francisco 49ers
4949 Centennial Boulevard
Santa Clara, CA 95404

Mark Simon
D3football.com
mark@d3football.com

Dear Mr. Rice,

I am a great admirer of your work and thought that I should take the time to tell you so. I recently came across an acquaintance who feels very much the same way I do.

His name is Scott Pingel.

Scott is a receiver for Westminster (Mo.) College, a fourth-year Division III football program resurrected after more than a 60-year absence from the sport. Football has been gone so long in the town of Fulton (population approx. 10,000) that none of the residents remembers why the program was discontinued. But there’s a reason that Priest Field still stands 93 years after it was built. It was for this great group of kids that make up the Blue Jays squad.

Scott isn’t very strong and he isn’t very fast. He’ll be among the first to tell you that. But Scott has something going for him. In fact it’s enabled him to break a record that I’m sure is close to your heart. He’s got the best set of hands you’ll ever see on a football player at any level. That’s why Scott was a quarterback in high school. Rumor has it that he dreamed of one day being able to play catch with his favorite player, the one he began idolizing since Super Bowl XXIII, your 49ers in Miami. That person would be you.

Two weeks ago, Scott caught his 301st pass to break the mark you set at Mississippi Valley from 1981-1984. He caught No. 302 as well just a few minutes later. He’s at 322 catches and counting with at least eight games remaining in his career. This past weekend, he broke the all-time yardage record (4,761 yards) and tied the all-time touchdown mark (55 TDs). By the time he’s done, Scott’s feat will be as impressive as those of the likes of Gretzky, McGwire and, of course, Rice. Keep in mind, Jerry, that the kid has only played in 32 career games.

Still, people tell Scott he’s just not very good, like the cornerback at Illinois College that he burned for only nine receptions, 113 yards and three touchdowns two weeks ago. Scott didn’t talk back. He let the scoreboard speak for him. Scott’s not a big fan of trash-talking. Maybe that guy should talk to the scout for the Denver Broncos who came away surprised and impressed by Scott’s workouts with quarterback Justin Peery.

Scott didn’t even mention the Broncos workout when I spoke with him. He’s too busy concentrating on finishing his degree so that he can teach high school mathematics next year. I had to pry the scoop on the workouts from head coach John Welty, the type of guy who lets the quarterback call his own plays 80% of the time. I bet Joe Montana or Steve Young has never used the "Check With Me/Either-Or" playbook.

You would enjoy playing in these games. Last year’s schedule included a 62-61 barnburner against Greenville and a gut-wrenching, season-ending 52-51 loss to MacMurray. Did I mention that last year’s team was 9-1?

This group could be even better. They’re 2-0 after a 45-14 win against Central Methodist last Saturday. Coach Welty says they can run the ball a lot more, especially after seeing Larry Rice (a relative perhaps?) go for 98 yards on nine carries against Illinois College. Peery also has plenty of options, like All-America candidate Logan Stanley at tight end and wideouts John Squires and Eric Hawkins. That’s why he’s thrown for more than 10,000 yards and 105 touchdowns.

Did I mention the offensive line? As a unit, you can count the number of sacks they allow on one hand. In that MacMurray game Peery threw 77 times and only hit the turf once. Defensively the team is much improved. Yes, they allow upwards of 30 points per game, but that’s not a big deal when the offense can put up 50 on an average day.

I read a wonderful story in the Boston Globe the other day about your workouts on "The Hill" by your home. Perhaps, when you aren’t too busy with your training regimen, you could bring Scott up for a run. Maybe you could even check out a game in Fulton. I think the 1,500 locals who like to check out the action would be happy to save you a seat. They’ll squeeze you in next to the kids from the YMCA who attend clinics given by the Blue Jays team.

Please write back. I’ll be happy to tell you how to get in touch with Scott and the rest of the gang. Best of luck in 1999.

Sincerely,
Mark Simon



Sep. 23: All times Eastern
Final
at Bridgewater State 34, Fitchburg State 25
Box Score
Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
Box Score Recap
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Massachusetts Maritime 32, Worcester State 14
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Final
at Endicott 37, Nichols 0
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Final
MIT 30, at Maine Maritime 13
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Final
at Buffalo State 40, Morrisville State 24
Box Score Recap
Final
at Salve Regina 48, Coast Guard 10
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Final
St. Lawrence 20, at RPI 14
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Final
at Framingham State 23, Western Connecticut 17
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Final
at Montclair State 21, Rowan 14
Box Score Recap
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
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Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 38, Bates 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Western New England 59, Curry 28
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Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
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Final
Colby 9, at Williams 7
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Final
at Middlebury 40, Bowdoin 3
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at Amherst 34, Hamilton 0
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Final
Kean 24, at William Paterson 13
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Final
at DePauw 66, Hiram 17
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Final
Franklin and Marshall 45, at Juniata 22
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at Kenyon 31, Allegheny 7
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Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
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Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Lycoming 28, at Misericordia 24
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at Plymouth State 30, Mass-Dartmouth 14
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at Husson 35, Alfred State 0
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at Springfield 28, WPI 23
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at Moravian 24, Dickinson 10
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Final
at Denison 45, Wooster 7
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at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
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at St. Vincent 57, Grove City 32
Box Score Recap
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at Susquehanna 55, Gettysburg 40
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Final
at King's 21, Lebanon Valley 17
Box Score Recap
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at Alfred 20, Ithaca 6
Box Score Recap
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at Widener 25, Wilkes 23
Final
at McDaniel 30, Ursinus 27
Box Score Recap
Final
at Muskingum 28, Marietta 10
Box Score Photos
Final
at Minnesota-Morris 28, Iowa Wesleyan 27
Final
at John Carroll 42, Heidelberg 14
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Final
Ohio Northern 16, at Otterbein 10
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Final
Case Western Reserve 35, at Waynesburg 7
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Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Rose-Hulman 23, at Defiance 15
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Final
at Centre 49, Chicago 27
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Final
at Mount St. Joseph 38, Manchester 19
Box Score Recap
Final
Hanover 49, at Anderson 25
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Final
at Merchant Marine 55, Rochester 7
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Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score Recap
Final
Concordia-Chicago 42, at Maranatha Baptist 10
Box Score Photos
Final
Washington U. 36, at Birmingham-Southern 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
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Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 38, Martin Luther 20
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Final
at Eureka 28, MacMurray 13
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Final
at Westminster (Mo.) 35, Greenville 14
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Final
Dubuque 30, at Luther 17
Box Score Recap
Final
Monmouth 52, at Lake Forest 6
Box Score Photos
Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Augsburg 49, Carleton 17
Box Score Photos
Final
Bethel 44, at St. Olaf 7
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Final
at Hamline 42, Gustavus Adolphus 40
Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at UW-River Falls 42, Southwestern 22
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Final
Simpson 17, at Buena Vista 9
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Final
at St. Scholastica 49, Crown 13
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Final
Cornell 46, at Beloit 41
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at Carthage 27, Augustana 24
Final
Coe 48, at Nebraska Wesleyan 17
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Final
at Wartburg 56, Finlandia 0
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Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
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Final
Hendrix 42, at Millsaps 14
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Final
Illinois Wesleyan 45, at North Park 10
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at Macalester 34, Grinnell 0
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Final
at Ripon 33, Knox 19
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Illinois College 40, at Lawrence 15
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
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Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
at Geneva 35, Thiel 27
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Final
UW-Eau Claire 40, at Wisconsin Lutheran 14
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Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
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Final
UW-Stevens Point 44, at Adrian 19
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Final
UW-La Crosse 41, at Carroll 7
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Final
at Berry 41, Sewanee 3
Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
Westminster (Pa.) 38, at Bethany 9
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Final
Ohio Wesleyan 29, at Oberlin 16
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Final
at Tufts 17, Wesleyan 14
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Capital 35, Wilmington 21
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Final
at Southwestern Assemblies 23, Austin 17
Box Score Photos
Cancelled
Langston at McMurry
Video Live Stats
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Chapman 19, Trinity (Texas) 17
Box Score Recap
Sep. 29: All times Eastern
6:30 PM
Randolph-Macon at Shenandoah
Live Stats
Sep. 24: All times Eastern
Final
at Thomas More 20, Carnegie Mellon 16
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hobart 27, Union 23
Box Score Recap
Final
Christopher Newport 17, at TCNJ 0
Final
at Wittenberg 24, Wabash 14
Box Score
Final
Salisbury 35, at Southern Virginia 0
Box Score
Final
Albright 20, at Delaware Valley 17
Box Score Recap
Final
at Utica 24, Cortland 13
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Stevenson 54, FDU-Florham 15
Box Score Recap
Final
at Franklin 44, Bluffton 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Johns Hopkins 30, at Muhlenberg 24
Box Score Recap
Final
St. Thomas 33, at St. John's 21
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at UW-Whitewater 35, Morningside 21
Box Score Recap
Final
at Hardin-Simmons 48, Texas Lutheran 38
Box Score Photos
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 10, Elmhurst 6
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Platteville 56, at Lakeland 0
Box Score
Final
UW-Oshkosh 77, at Morthland College (Ill.) 0
Box Score
Final
Central 42, at Loras 34
Box Score Recap
Final
St. John Fisher 42, at Brockport 38
Box Score Recap
Final
Mount Union 49, at Baldwin Wallace 7
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 42, Millikin 7
Box Score Recap