Local college sports roundup: Former Dallastown teammates reunite at bowl game

Thomas Kendziora
York Dispatch

Ben Ward and Ricky Cole III were football teammates and best friends at Dallastown High School. The duo reunited on college football’s postseason stage at the New Mexico Bowl over the weekend.

Neither York County native took the field in the contest, but the intersection of their football journeys was reason enough for celebration. 

Both players are walk-ons; Ward is an offensive lineman for BYU, while Cole plays on the defensive line for SMU. The two teams entered Saturday’s game in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with 7-5 records.

BYU held on late for a 24-23 victory to finish the season 8-5. The Cougars broke a 10-10 halftime tie by scoring twice in the third quarter, the first of which was a 76-yard interception return. But the Mustangs responded with a pair of touchdowns in the fourth, the latter of which came with eight seconds remaining. SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai, however, was stopped on a decisive two-point conversion.

Ward, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound sophomore, has made only one appearance for BYU (Nov. 19 this year against Utah Tech). He walked on with the Cougars in 2018 but served a full-time mission in Cordoba, Argentina, during the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Ward — originally from Washington, D.C. — returned to the scout team last year and switched from tight end, his primary high school position, to center in hopes of earning playing time and perhaps a scholarship.

Cole, also a 2018 Dallastown graduate, initially played at Wagner, an FCS program. But he suffered a torn ACL during his freshman year and appeared in only one game across two seasons. Cole transferred and took online classes in 2020 before accepting a walk-on offer at SMU in 2021. After weighing 375 pounds at one point while at Wagner, he lost 115 and then gained 30 pounds of muscle before joining SMU as a preferred walk-on.

Both players have traveled winding, turbulent paths through college. But on a Saturday night in Albuquerque, those paths crossed and stopped for a postgame hug four years in the making.

YORK COLLEGE NOTES

The Spartan men’s and women’s basketball teams both picked up victories over the weekend, giving them momentum entering the holiday break.

The men’s team, after falling to 2-6 with Wednesday’s conference loss against Alvernia, bounced back in Glenside with a 76-59 victory over Arcadia on Saturday. Chris Miers scored 21 points and Jackson Mascari added 15 for the Spartans. Mascari leads the team with 13.4 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, while Miers and Kai Cipalla have averaged 12.1 and 11.3 points, respectively.

York hosts Penn State Altoona at 6 p.m. Tuesday before going on a 10-day break. The Spartans will return to action at the Steel City Classic in Bethlehem on Dec. 30 and 31.

York College's Chris Miers (2) against Alvernia University's Jakob Kelly (23) during their mens basketball game in York on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022.

On the women’s side, the Spartans went 1-1 at the Yonnie Kauffman Blue Jay Tournament hosted by Elizabethtown College on Saturday and Sunday. York College fell 68-58 against Washington & Lee in their first game of the tournament before beating Delaware Valley 83-53 on Sunday. Bradi Zumbrum (Delone Catholic) led the way with 16 points against the Generals, while Savannah Wilson tallied 20 in the victory over the Aggies.

The Spartans enter the holidays 4-7 overall and will return to the floor on Dec. 29 at Washington and Jefferson.

York College's Bradi Zumbrum (25) against Alvernia University's Cathryn Kramer (42) during their womens basketball game in York on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022.

York College wrestling, meanwhile, went 1-3 against nationally ranked competition at the Gator "Boots" Duals in Nashville, Tennessee. The Spartans beat No. 19 Olivet, 25-24, but fell against No. 11 Baldwin Wallace (35-7), No. 8 UW-Whitewater (29-9) and No. 25 Luther (28-14). Grad student Dalton Rohrbaugh (Spring Grove), ranked No. 5 in NCAA Division III at 133 points, went 3-1 and led York with 13 total points. 

The team will take a 1-5 dual meet record into the new year and battle Gettysburg on Jan. 5.

LOCAL IMPACTS

Deriq Brown (New Oxford) and D’Andre Davis (York Catholic) notched 17 and 14 points, respectively, as Penn State York men’s basketball earned a 65-57 win over Christendom on Friday and improved to 14-2 this season. The Lions are back in action on Jan. 7. The women’s team last played on Dec. 10 and will return on Jan. 6.

Penn State freshman wrestler Levi Haines (Biglerville) made his Nittany Lion dual debut on Monday and won both of his matches at the Collegiate Duals in New Orleans. Haines is now 9-1 overall in the 157-pound class entering Penn State’s Tuesday night matchup against Iowa State. The Nittany Lions are 6-0.

D’Shantae Edwards (Dallastown) set a new season and career high with 16 points as Bethune-Cookman women’s basketball earned its first win of the season on Sunday, beating Winthrop 67-54. The freshman’s 7.7 points per game are second on the Wildcats, who improved to 1-8 with the victory.