The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

June 25, 2014

Worthy exercise

Jarrod Harrah’s final season at Edgewood helped lead him to Mercyhurst

The Edgewood Warriors’ 2013 season didn’t play out quite the way senior Jarrod Harrah would’ve liked.

Coming off a miraculous playoff season his junior year, the Warriors took a step back finishing the season 4-6.

But, Harrah enjoyed some individually great moments and his overall play allowed him to continue his football career and education past high school as he’ll suit up for Mercyhurst this fall.

“They offered my major, which is exercise science,” the offensive and defensive lineman said. “Their strength and conditioning coach seemed really cool and that helped. I didn’t want to play Division III football and they’re Division II so that was good.”

The Lakers’ pedigree of a winning program was of particular interest to Harrah, as well.

“The past four seasons they’ve had winning seasons, last year they were 8-2 and probably should’ve made the playoffs,” he said. “This year they play three Division II nationally ranked teams in the first five games so if they have they same record they’ll definitely make the playoffs.

“That was definitely one of the things I was looking for, I wanted to go to a successful team. A few of the teams that looked ay me they weren’t as successful and that’s just not what I was looking for.”

Harrah’s senior season wasn’t quite what he hoped for after Edgewood went 7-3 and making the playoffs in his junior year.

“It was kind of a roller coaster year to be honest,” he said. “There was definitely a lot of pressure on us to go back because we basically had the same team. It definitely could’ve been a lot better so it was upsetting. There was a ton of pressure, and it felt like going in it made us a little big headed for sure. Everyone was really stressed before games and when we got down we kind of fell apart because everyone was relying us.

“We saw how the community reacted and got behind us so it was tough when we were losing. But it was definitely still fun to play and be out on the field with the guys and all the seniors.”

The season did provide Harrah’s favorite memory in football, though.

Playing in the mud against Lutheran East, the defensive end got his first touchdown in his football career.

“The last game of the season I had a pick 6 for a touchdown and that was my first touchdown ever in football,” he said. “It was about 40 yards, I really proud of it. They were throwing a screen pass and the ball hit in me in the chest, once I got it no way anyone was going to catch me, I’m scoring.”

The game was a good ending to a disappointing season.

“That was awesome, probably one of my favorite games ever,” he said. “I love the mud so much, I don’t think there’s anything better than playing in the mud and it doesn’t effect my game at all because I don’t really handle the ball.”

The son of Alice and Roger Harrah said it was his dad who got him started in football and his mom, who so loved watching him play actually left the hospital this past season to catch one of him games.

“My mom even this year she was in the hospital in the ICU (with pneumonia) and she missed her first football game since I’ve started playing and the night she got out, she was till sick and came to PV for the whole first half just to watch so she was definitely supportive,” he said. “My dad was always there and encouraged me. He got me involved with football and that was very important.

“I was actually doing gymnastics before football then one day we were driving past the fire department and saw a sign for football. My parents said you can’t do this if you do that and I said it was worth it. I want to play football.”

Harrah also signaled out wrestling coaches Greg Stolfer and Cleveland as well as track coach Beth Simpson as important influences on his career.

“Probably Coach Stolfer for the wrestling team, he was my freshman coach and always supportive,” he said. “Coach Cleveland was very important always there and a good friend to talk to. Beth Simpson was always there opening the weight room for me. I probably spent the most time with her out of any of my coaches.”

Harrah isn’t sure exactly where he’ll or if he’ll play as a freshman. He was told he’ll likely be an offensive tackle, although his preference is to play defense.

With his weight up to 235, he feels he has a chance to get on the field right away.

“They most likely I’ll play offensive line but I have a good shot playing the defensive end too which is by far my favorite position,” he said. “When the coaches first saw me I was a little smaller because it was wrestling season and I’d probably redshirt.

“But when they saw me the other day they told me I was looking a lot bigger and that’s a good sign. I just have to keep working to have a shot at getting on the field whether it’s off the bench or whatever.”

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