Carver Proctor said the weather threw him a curve at first. Almost four years later, though, he's become accustomed to bitter cold and mountainous snow piles that can start as soon as Halloween and continue through Easter.
The defensive back is two games into his senior football season at St. Xavier College in Chicago and said: “I feel blessed to be here. Everything happens for a reason, and it's turned out really well for me. I've had fun.”
Five years ago, when Proctor played for Putnam City High School, he was being recruited by Division I schools such as Tulsa and Rice. Division II programs in Kansas — Emporia State, Fort Hays and Washburn — were interested. Proctor chose Fort Hays, but coaching changes and playing time opportunities started a journey north.
The Oklahoma City native has played college ball at Iowa Central Community College and Winona State in Minnesota. And now St. Xavier, where he helped the Cougars win the NAIA championship in 2011.
“If you told me in high school that I would end up here, I would've said you were crazy,” Proctor said with a laugh.
Saturday will be a little special for Proctor, who will recognize some faces on the opposing team. Langston is the guest at Deaton Memorial Field.
The game will provide a test for each team. St. Xavier is ranked No. 1 with a 2-0 record. Both wins have been by blowout.
Langston is 1-1, with its loss a three-point decision at FCS member Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The victory was a 19-point shutout over a mediocre Bacone club.
Proctor will likely line up against Langston wide receiver Justin Robinson, a former Northeast High standout. Proctor said he and Robinson are friends, although they never played against each other in high school.
“There have been other guys at Langston I've known, but they've all graduated,” Proctor said. “So playing against (Robinson) will be fun. But after the game, they'll get to go back to Oklahoma, close to my home and everything. But I have a good family here, too, my coaches and teammates.”
Sam Moses starts at defensive tackle for Central Oklahoma, which visits Emporia State (Kan.) on Saturday. The possibility exists that Moses will face brother Josh Moses, a backup guard for the Hornets. Both are seniors and stand 6-foot-2. But Josh has a significant advantage in weight over Sam, 306 pounds to 275 pounds.
Panhandle State (1-1) has an unusual football date scheduled Saturday in Denver. The Aggies will play Cole College, a relatively new four-year institution that only holds night classes at a high school.
The college president, T.J. Cole, is also the head football coach. The team slogan is building a football program “one brick at a time.” And in this case, that means at a snail's pace.
In 2011, the Jaguars had players ages 18 to 25 on the roster. Some of the equipment included leftovers from the Arena Football League's defunct Colorado Crunch. The schedule included games against junior college varsity and B teams; local semipro teams; and club squads from other universities. All but two games were road dates, and the transportation was a school bus.
In 2012, Cole College football remains a rough-around-the-edges operation. The athletic program's website is still advertising football tryouts — for the 2011 season. No schedule, no statistics, no roster.
Panhandle State coach Russell Gaskamp, who has experienced the businesslike operation of big-time football while playing on the offensive line for the Texas Longhorns, has little idea about what the Aggies are getting themselves into. He said Cole apparently played a game late Monday night, “and we have yet to be able to get any film. I am pretty sure they have lost all of their games this year, but we really don't know much about them.”
Bacone will be overmatched Saturday, when it takes on Central Arkansas in Conway.
Central Arkansas is 1-1 and ranked No. 20 in the FCS. The Purple Bears opened their season Sept. 1 with a 49-27 loss at Ole Miss. UCA was not intimidated by 50,544 fans at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford — it actually led the Rebels 20-14 at halftime. Central Arkansas, once an NAIA power, rebounded last weekend with a 42-20 rout of Murray State in Kentucky.
Since Bacone's season-opening win, 25-20 over Tabor (Kan.) on Aug. 25, the Warriors have lost by two points at Arkansas Tech and 19 points at Langston.