A quiet love for football has carried Joel Gamble through many obstacles, from his days as a youth league reject to his current status as a highly regarded 6-foot-3, 255-pound senior tight end for Shippensburg University.
First, it was the city of Baltimore that told Gamble he was too heavy to play organized football. He said he struggled to develop his game at his high school, Carver, which went winless his senior year. Now, he has suddenly found himself being treated like a lineman at Shippensburg.
Gamble has gone from a productive tight end last season (20 catches for 229 yards and two touchdowns) to almost an afterthought in the Raiders' offense.
"We run the ball just about every down," said Gamble, who has eight catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns this season. "We have a fullback [John Kuhn] who is an All-American and we give him the ball just about every play, even if the defense is keying on him. I think he kind of reminds the coach [Rocky Rees] of himself."
Kuhn has 270 carries for 1,371 yards and 14 touchdowns as the Raiders (10-1) head into the round of 16 in the NCAA Division II playoffs. Shippensburg received a first-round bye in the 24-team field.
Shippensburg will host West Chester on Saturday in a rematch of a game the Raiders won in overtime, 24-21, 10 days ago.
Although Gamble has virtually been reduced to counting knockdown blocks these days, he said he still has hopes of impressing some NFL scouts in the coming playoffs.
"Right now, the Web sites are saying I'll probably be signed as a free agent," said Gamble, who has used a personal trainer to bulk up from 196 pounds. "But I'll be glued to the TV on draft day. You never know what may happen. I might catch the eye of some scouts, especially if we go to the championship game."
His quiet persona and love for his teammates and the game have separated Gamble from other players wearing a Raiders jersey, said teammate Howard Chavous.
"He definitely exemplifies the characteristics of a captain," said Chavous. "He encourages us to work harder. He has personally taken me under his wing and has given me confidence whenever I have made a mistake."
Gamble called himself "a talkative offensive player" who motivates the offense by making plays.
Goloboski makes mark
Richmond linebacker Adam Goloboski (Hereford) had a career-high 26 tackles Saturday in a 24-14 loss to Delaware.
The 6-foot, 220-pound sophomore ran his team-leading total to 106 with the performance against the Blue Hens, which followed a 10-tackle effort a week earlier in a 24-0 victory over Towson.
Goloboski also has two sacks, one interception return for 25 yards, and five passes broken up.
Le Moyne left out
Le Moyne College men's soccer midfielder Pat Delaney (Old Mill) had his hopes for a trip to the NCAA Division II playoffs squashed last week.
Le Moyne (17-2-1) was passed over for a 15-6-3 Franklin Pierce squad that, according to a regional selection committee, played a more difficult schedule. Delaney, a senior, finished with four goals and five assists.
East Carolina soccer senior midfielder Sarah Stolz (Hereford) ended her career by scoring the lone goal for the Pirates in a 2-1 loss to Louisville in the opening round of last week's Conference USA tournament.
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