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Former Wildcat stars have big days on college turf
Joseph Petrino
Joseph Petrino makes the game winning kick against Illinois - Courtesy photo provided by Maryland Athletics

One of the things that stands out most about former Richmond Hill kicker Joseph Petrino is his ability to put misses in the rear-view mirror.

Wildcats Coach Matt LeZotte and assistant coach Patrick Means who is also the kicking coach, often spoke of Petrino’s ability to focus and not let a miss bother him mentally.

So, when Petrino went on the field last Friday night for Maryland with three seconds left to attempt a 32-yard game winning field goal at Illinois he was not the least bit jittery although he had missed from the same distance earlier.

The kick was a no-doubter and enabled the Terps to escape with a 20-17 win and move to 3-0 in their Big Ten opener.

It was, Petrino said, the first game-winning kick of his career.

“Being a kicker, I mean, you can miss one but you just have to come back,” Petrino told reporters after the game. “That’s one thing I’ve been trying to work on a lot because you’re not always going to make them. You just have to respond.”

Petrino now has 30 points on the season and 171 for his career. 

The Terps senior, who has one season of eligibility remaining if he chooses to use it, is now 10th on the Maryland career scoring list and is seventh for most points kicking.

Sam James
Sam James on his way to a touchdown - Courtesy photo provided by West Virginia Athletics

Sam James and Petrino were teammates and James, attempting to rebound from a troubled 2020 season which saw him plagued with dropped passes, showed he may be ready to rebound to the form he showed as a freshman when he made the Big 12 All-Freshman team.

The West Virginia redshirt junior continued his fine start as he scored his third touchdown of the season in the Mountaineers’ 27-21 upset of favored Virginia Tech.

James scored on a 16-yard pass in the second quarter to give WVU a 21-7 lead. He had two catches for 46 yards and now leads the team with 10 receptions for 166 yards and the three scores.

Not to be overlooked is former Wildcats standout running back Jalen Rouse who was a freshman when Petrino and James were seniors.

Rouse, a redshirt freshman, scored his first college touchdown last Saturday in Tennessee State’s 41-7 win over Kentucky State to give Coach Eddie George his first win as a coach. 

Rouse is the team’s second leading rusher with 79 yards on 18 rushes. 

He has caught four passes for 47 yards.

While at Richmond Hill the 5-11, 180-pound Rouse set the school single season rushing record with 1,764 yards with 24 touchdowns in leading the Wildcats to the Final Four of the Class 6A state playoffs in 2019. 

He had a school record 2,615 yards rushing with 29 touchdowns.

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