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Lions Sports

Worrilow plays his own tune

OHara Varsity - 2001 Season
Posted Thursday, September 02, 2010 by Terry Toohey


Delaware County Daily Times (Primos - Upper Darby, PA) - Friday, November 16, 2001
Author: TERRY TOOHEY ; ttoohey@delcotimes.com
CHESTER -- On a team loaded with free spirits, Widener offensive guard Tom Worrilow may be the freest spirit of them all.

He's the guy who keeps the Pioneers loose during pregame warmups, has broken up serious moments with a well-timed joke and has been known to regale incoming freshman with tales of his colorful life.

"I like to keep things loose," Worrilow said yesterday as the second-ranked Pioneers (10-0) prepared for tomorrow's NCAA Division III playoff opener against Dixie Conference champion Christopher Newport (5-3) at Quick Stadium (Noon). "I like to have fun."

More often than not, at someone else's expense. Nothing is out of bounds for the 6-1, 250-pound senior from Cardinal O'Hara.

That may be the understatement of the year.

"There's no doubt about that," Widener offensive line coach Nick Sama said. " Tom is a loose sort of cannon, but in a good way. He really keeps things loose on the field. In a real tense situation he'll say something that just breaks everyone up.

"He loves telling stories to the freshmen. He tells them everything, from things he did in school to stuff he did with his family. He's been there and done that and not afraid to say so."

Surprisingly, Worrilow gets it from his mother, Mary Rose.

During Senior Day ceremonies prior to Widener's 69-26 romp over Juniata, Mary Rose Worrilow had tears rolling down her face as she and her husband, Tom Sr., escorted their son to midfield. As mother, father and son walked off the field, Mary Rose Worrilow turned to her son and said, "Now go out there and kick their butts."

Well, so much for sentimental moments.

"That's my mom," the younger Worrilow said. "She's a real free spirit. She's always yelling and saying stuff. My dad is more serious."

The only problem with being a free spirit, especially in football, is that many people unjustly label you as a slacker. The jokes and funny comments often are viewed as a way for a player to get out of either trouble or work.

In Worrilow 's case, nothing could be farther from the truth. He is by no means a shirker. Worrilow worked hard to win a starting job by his junior year and has worked even harder to maintain his spot with the first team.

That diligence paid off earlier this week when Worrilow was one of six Widener players to earn first-team All-Middle Atlantic Conference honors.

"I don't goof around all the time," Worrilow said. "I know when it's time to have fun and be loose and when it's time to be serious. You have to pick your spots."

The best spot for Worrilow has turned out to be Widener. He could have gone to Catholic University, Lebanon Valley or Delaware Valley, but he chose Widener because he liked head coach Bill Zwaan and he liked the Pioneers potential.

"My dad told me that wherever I went, make sure it was the right place," Worrilow said. "I could have gone to Del Val or Lebanon Valley and maybe started right away, but I would not have been on a successful team.

"It came down to Catholic and Widener, and Catholic was in the playoffs my first two years in college. But this turned out to be the right place for me. I was starting by my junior year and look what we've done."

The Pioneers are 22-2 in Worrilow 's two seasons as a starter. Widener went 12-2 last season and reached the NCAA Division III semifinals. The Pioneers are 10-0 this season and ranked only behind defending national champion Mount Union in the American Football Coaches Association Division III Top 25.

Much of the credit for Widener's success has gone to All-America receivers Michael Coleman and Jim Jones, and quarterback Mike Warker. However it has been the play of the grunts, Worrilow , center Rob Schneider, guard Larry Bender, tackles Clement Joachim and Andy Clark and tight end Mike Kelly who have paved the way for an offense that ranks fourth in scoring (45.7) and seventh in total offense (496.2).

Worrilow , Schneider, Bender and Kelly started last year. Joachim and Clark replaced a pair of all-MAC tackles in Jeff Faust (first team) and Bill Woodburn (second team).

"I was amazed at how quickly we came together as a unit," Worrilow said. "I thought it would take us a couple of games to mesh. But Mike Warker coming here kind of forced us to come together quickly. When he came here, suddenly quarterback wasn't the question mark, we were. Suddenly everyone was asking if the offensive line would be as good as last year. It forced us to get better and come together as a unit."

That cohesiveness can be seen on a daily basis. However, don't be shocked by what you see or here. Like Worrilow , the offensive line is a fun-loving group.

"As I've told the coaches many times, I've played football for 12 years and I've been a lineman that whole time," Worrilow said. "I've never had a carry, never caught a pass and never returned a punt or a kick. I play the game to have fun. I'm serious when I have to be serious, but I'm out here to have a good time, too, and nothing is more fun than winning."

Terry Toohey is the assistant sports editor of the Daily Times.

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