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Local colleges

Saint Francis
at William Penn
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Oskaloosa, Iowa
Radio: 1450 AM
Saint Francis junior Cam Edwards is the team’s top offensive lineman.

Cougars lineman nimbly mends fences, leads team

– The occasional talk around the coaches’ film sessions is about right tackle Cam Edwards and his athleticism; how well he moves for a man his size. Decent quickness. Good first step. That sort of thing.

The junior is surprisingly nimble, which makes him attractive to the coaches – both the offensive ones who instruct him and the defensive ones who try to stop him. At 6-feet-4, 310 pounds, he is more than a big body. He is an athlete – so much so that he’s been known to participate in some pickup basketball games, which is where this particular saga of Cam Edwards begins.

It was during a game earlier this winter when Edwards felt a pop in his foot and later discovered it was fractured.

Because it’s never a pleasant conversation when a football player has to tell his coaches that he broke his foot playing basketball, Edwards kept the injury to himself. Instead, he waited for the prime opportunity – a supervised football agility drill – to complain about the foot.

But when doctors took a closer look at the X-rays, they saw an old fracture that had not completely healed.

“I really didn’t tell them how it started,” Edwards said. “I didn’t tell them the basketball part. I led them to believe that it was the ‘L’ drill that got me. (Offensive line) Coach (Trevor) Miller was kind of upset. He thought it was his fault.

“Eventually,” Edwards said, “I told them the real truth.”

The foot healed. So did the relationship with his coaches.

“He knows it got me a little angry,” Miller said. “He’s not a kid who fools around. But I busted his chops a little bit.”

Now Edwards is back to wowing ’em on the field and in the film room.

“He’s a great player,” Miller said. “He’s obviously the biggest we have, by far. He’s extremely strong, and he’s got good technique.

“The thing about our level that’s rare is to get someone his size who can move the way he can move. We expect him to be a lock down player. We don’t think he’s going to get beat by anyone he faces.”

Although he attended Bloomington North, which is just a few miles away from Indiana University’s Memorial Stadium, Edwards never got a scholarship offer from IU. A few smaller schools – Indiana State, being one – wanted him, but he wasn’t sure where he wanted to go.

And along came Saint Francis.

“It was God that brought me here,” Edwards said. “I’m big in religion and all of that. I knew it was for some reason I got put in Saint Francis. I was a little down and out (that Indiana didn’t offer), but as soon as I realized what kind of program it was and how successful it’s been – everybody likes to win. – I came here. I’d get to play football for another four years, at least.”

Under Edwards’ leadership, the Saint Francis offense rolled up 522 total yards and 33 first downs in the Cougars’ 45-38 loss to No. 1-ranked Marian on Saturday.

“He played well,” Miller said of his biggest offensive lineman. “They all did.”