This is part two of Rhino Charge’s interview with Hanover Rhinos co-owner Adam Bostian.
You can read part one here.
George Marinos sat down with Adam to discuss his catastrophic knee injury his senior season of high school, and the choices he had to make regarding his career at South Western.
GM: When we last spoke, you were discussing the knee injury that put your senior season in jeopardy in 2002. You had a big decision to make regarding whether or not to have surgery and miss most of the season. What was the week like following that injury? Did you take awhile to make the decision, and how hard of a decision was it?
AB: I was devastated. I thought my career was over. I couldn’t end it that way, so I iced and rehabbed and got back out and only missed one game.
GM: You had some scholarship looks before the injury. How did the injury effect those opportunities?
AB: Oh, those opportunities were gone. I still visited some campuses, but once they hearD reconstructive knee surgery, they kinda blew me off. Now, this was 15 years ago, and technology has come along way.
GM: Do you ever regret the decision to put off the surgery?
AB: No. I wanted to play and be part of the team with my friends.
GM: After week one, when did you first find out you were cleared to play, and how exciting was the news?
AB: I was pumped, but we had to go all the way to Hollidaysburg, so I had a lot of time to think about my knee, and what if I get hit. All bad things going through my head, I almost didn’t play, but I had to think of something else, so I focused on the game, got tapped up and played, but the first time I sprinted down the field, everything in my knee was popping and clicking and I was waiting for it to give out. It never did, and as the game went on it, got better and better.
GM: What was that first hit like that night, and did you give it or take it?
AB: I gave it. Took on a lead blocker and and dropped him.
GM: Could you explain to our readers what that feeling is like for an athlete when he’s not sure of the health of his own body when he’s in a game?
AB: You can’t think about getting hurt, because if you do, you don’t play the way you normally do. you can’t play timid or scared. You have to go hard all the time.
GM: So you were successfully able to put the injury out of your mind altogether once that ball was kicked off?
AB: I think I was a little timid the first few plays, but as I pushed myself, I realized I can still do what I normally do.
GM: What were the expectations for that team coming in to the season?
AB: To win a lot of games and win the division.
GM: Was there a buzz in the community about the belief that this team could do just that?
GM: You guys started the season off with a really tough schedule. The team played one of the best ever Gettysburg teams tough, and lost by 1, then you traveled out to district 7 near Pittsburgh, and lost to another playoff bound team. What was the feeling amongst your teammates after those two games?
AB: We didn’t give up on ourselves we new it was going to be tough. But we didn’t quit.
GM: South Western dropped the third game to fall to 0-3. How deflating were the moments after the game?
AB: I don’t think it was real deflating. We played 3 tough teams that ended their years among the top in the state, I believe. After being 0-3, we had to play for pride, and after every game, we left everything on the field.
GM: Right, because districts only took 8 teams then.
You got your first touchdown as a senior in that game, a 1-yard run in the second quarter. How great did that feel, and what do you remember about the play?
AB: It felt like a weight was lifted that I could still run the ball, even though it was on a part-time basis, and still be a productive player as a fullback.
GM: Susquehannock was the opponent the next week, your first home game as a senior, and first as a varsity starter. Describe the feeling you had the moment those gates swung open and you came onto the field with your teammates to the noise of the crowd, and the band playing the fight song.
AB: The first home game, I walked out last, and alone. I was focused, and wanted to keep my head right and not get too hyped with the crowd and the lights. But it was hard not to get hyped.
GM: Do you remember what was going through your mind as you walked out there in full uniform?
AB: This is my time to prove that I can still do this with nothing holding my knee together but a brace and tape, no ligaments. I needed to prove it to myself more then anything. I wasn’t going to let it hold me back.
GM: You guys rocked and rolled that night. You led the team in rushing with 79 yards, and Ty Stahl returned a kick for a TD. What was that night like?
AB: That night, everything just clicked. We played a near perfect game, we all did our job. Getting that first win was a relief, that we can win games. We all slept good that night, but we knew we had to harder to keep the ball rolling.
GM: Was being the leading rusher that night extra special?
AB: It was. Definitely helped (chuckles).
GM: A 43-yard scoring run highlighted your night. That had to be pretty neat, getting the crowd up on its feet, and the band playing the fight song.
AB: It was pretty amazing, because, at that moment, everyone was cheering for me. That one small moment was for me, and other guys that scored, they had their moment (that night).
GM: Was that game the highlight of the season, or was it the nail-biting win against York High two weeks later?
AB: I would definitely say York.
GM: You were once again leading rusher. Tom Bingham, the kicker, arrived with 7 minutes left in the game, after playing a double-overtime soccer game for South Western, and then kicked the game winning extra point, as the Mustangs moved to 2-5. That sounds like a pretty special day. Just how special was it?
AB: Versus York High, we played Saturday, because of storms Friday night. It was also homecoming. We had to win. We all played our asses off, because, at that point, we were just tired of losing. When Tom kicked the extra point for the win, we were ecstatic. We were wore out, and then we had to go to the homecoming dance later that night. We didn’t dance much (chuckles).
GM: Was your date ok with that?
AB: (Chuckles), at that point, I didn’t care, I was so sore, but she understood.
GM: So, what did you do the whole time?
AB: Sit (laughs).
GM: You got to be part of something that few get to do. You participated in the great rivalry between South Western and Spring Grove. What did that rivalry mean to the players on your team?
AB: Well, some of us got to know a few of their players, so of course, there was friendly trash talking, and made the game even more of a big deal.
GM: Knowing those guys, did that make it harder to lose 29-10?
AB: Any loss is hard, but we had mutual respect for each other. It was a good, clean game and they were the better team that night.
GM: As the season’s final weeks wore on, you guys fell to 2-7. Then there was senior night. It’s a moment every player that puts on the pads goes through. What were the emotions going into senior night 2002?
AB: My first thought was, no one cares about us because of our record that year, but I didn’t want to think negative. I thought about the past 8 years that I have played with these guys. About all the blood, sweat, and tears. All the memories we had on and off the field. One thought I couldn’t get out of my head, that still haunts me today, is that if my knee was perfect, we wouldn’t have had such a bad season, but who knows what the outcome would have been if I was healthy. I hugged my parents, and focused on the game.
GM: Once the ball was kicked off, was it just like another game?
AB: Yeah, but everything had more emotion to it, because it was the last time we would all play together on that field.
GM: How much fire was added to the game because of the attempt to spoil New Oxford’s first YAIAA division crown?
AB: We really wanted to be the spoiler, because all through middle school and high, we never lost to New Oxford and we wanted to keep it that way, but it wasn’t our night.
GM: The offense got off to a really great start, setting up two field goals for Tom, and New Oxford led 7-6 early in the second. Were you guys flying high over there on the sideline?
AB: We were all kind of surprised that the game was as close as it was, and we really thought that we could win the game.
GM: Then, Jose Nieves and Larry Baumgardner took over for New Oxford. How quickly did the thought of being able to hang with the Colonials go away?
GM: In the article for the newspaper, Gettysburg Times reporter Josh Martin actually said the New Oxford touchdown before the half that made it 29-6 “sapped the spirit of the Mustangs”. How true was that statement?
AB: Spot on. We did everything we could.
GM: What was that final halftime like with coach Seidenstricker and the guys in the locker room?
AB: No comment.
GM: Let’s talk about the second half. Did it become a surreal feeling at any point?
AB: We knew it was over, the game, the season. Emotions ran high, anger mostly.
GM: When the final buzzer came, what was running through your mind, and what were the final moments in uniform like?
AB: I cried like newborn baby because I knew I would never wear the uniform again. Walking off the field with tears in my eyes, the first person I saw was my dad and I hugged him, and we both cried.
GM: What did it mean to you to be a Mustang, and how proud are you of your time there?
AB: It was an honor to be coached by the staff. An honor to play with all the guys I played with. I will never forget the experience. Once a Mustang, always a Mustang.