Kevin Boswell became the first Hornet in seven years to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season, and has an outside shot at the single-season record with two games remaining. Photo by Dan Danko III
By Rich Fisher
Nov. 7: This past Saturday the Hamilton West football team accomplished something for the first time since 2011. This coming Saturday, the Hornets will attempt to do something they have not done since 2010.
In Hamilton’s 15-14 win over Pennsauken in its Central Jersey Group III consolation game Nov. 3, sophomore Kevin “The Bos” Boswell rushed for 95 yards to push his season total to 1,061. That made Boswell the first Hornet to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season since Bret Stroman did so in 2011.
It also put Hamilton’s record at 6-2, meaning a win in this Saturday’s crossover game with Ewing would give the Hornets seven victories in a season for the first time since the 2010 squad went 8-2.
It also clinched a winning season for the Hornets.
“That was one of the things we talked about last week; as well as playing a game against a team outside of Mercer County,” coach Tom Hoglen said. “After watching games on Thursday and Friday and seeing we didn’t do too well, we talked about that at our team meeting on Saturday. We told them this is our playoff game. The state didn’t allow us in playoffs, if we go out and don’t play well today then the state was right.”
Indeed, Hamilton was one of just two teams from Mercer to win a crossover game against non-Mercer competition. All four teams that made the playoffs were beaten, and Mercer went 2-5 in crossover games against non-Mercer teams; with Hopewell being the only other winner (over North Plainfield).
Highlighting the victory was Boswell’s entry into rarified air. Only in 10th grade, he became Hamilton’s biggest offensive weapon this season.
“I wouldn’t say I expected that this year,” Hoglen said. “I know he’s a very talented kid, that’s why we rotated him in next year with Cire Peters. He got off to a good start this year, we just continued to feed him the ball. That’s what’s been successful for our offense this year. That’s been our game plan, give it to your best athlete.”
Boswell’s outing against Pennsauken was only his second sub-100 yard rushing game this season, but with the Indians defense keying on him, assistant Ken Nehila said “they were very hard earned yards.” His only other game under 100 was against Princeton, when he scored four touchdowns and came out early.
The Bos has rushed for 10 touchdowns and needs 380 yards against Ewing and Steinert to break Shelton Snead’s single-season record of 1,440.
“He’s got quick feet and good vision,” Hoglen said. “He’s such a competitor. He’s one of those guys in practice, if we’re doing scout team he wants to be there at running back going against the first team. Sometimes I have to pull the reins out and say ‘Yo, let’s give someone else a shot.’”
The best part is that Boswell still has not reached his physical peak.
“He’s filling out, he’s putting some muscle on,” Hoglen said. “He’s a solid kid, that’s one thing he needs to work on the next two years is getting in the weight room and putting more weight on. Any time you carry the ball that much you’ll take a pounding.”
Boswell was also aided by a veteran offensive line of Dan Ornosky, Zach Medina, Gage Storer, Javeon Elder, Jacob Darby, John Dyott and Pat Miglioccio. They were coached by veteran Mike “The Meatball Master” Papero.
“Those guys all got experience last year, and with Ornosky coming back (from injury) that’s a big plus,” Hoglen said. “Every good running back needs an offensive line. Coach Papero has done an excellent job with those guys as he always does. I gotta give him a lot of credit, he had a lot of injuries to deal with.”
The win over Pennsauken saw the Hornets give up a touchdown on the opening kickoff and watch the Indians rally within one at the end, but they scored 15 points in between which proved enough.
“I’m happy how the kids responded after that kickoff,” Hoglen said. Defensively we played really well. I thought they would be a tough, physical team up front and our front seven did really well against them.”
The Hornets host Ewing at noon Saturday, marking the home finale for Hamilton.
“We’ll go out there and battle,” Hoglen said, “and then wait 10 days.”
Gee, what happens then?