- Created: Thursday, 28 October 2021 05:45
By RICK PETERSON
Washburn University defensive end Braden Rose isn't likely to make the switch to running back any time soon.
But the 6-foot-1, 255-pound junior did record the Ichabods' second-longest touchdown of the 2021 season last Saturday, scooping up a Central Oklahoma fumble in the closing seconds and rambling 75 yards for Washburn's game-clinching TD in a 29-17 road victory over the Bronchos.
Rose admitted he was out of gas by the time he reached the end zone, but said that was a small price to pay to achieve what he called the biggest moment of his football career.
"I definitely didn't have a lot left,'' Rose said. "It took everything I had to get the touchdown because obviously I don't do that type of running all the time, but the experience of a lifetime scoring that was what kept me going.
"That's No. 1 for sure. That's definitely a play I'll never forget.''
Ironically, Rose's 75-yard TD with nine seconds remaining came just three minutes after James Letcher Jr. recorded Washburn's longest scoring play of the season on a 90-yard kickoff return as the 6-2 Ichabods rallied from a late 17-16 deficit.
Rose's highlight-reel score was part of another strong performance by the Washburn defense, which has not allowed an opponent to score more than 20 points over its current three-game winning streak.
Going into Saturday's 1 p.m. MIAA home game against 2-6 Northeastern State at Yager Stadium, Rose has registered 22 tackles (16 solos), with 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries.
"It's a great time, just having the camaraderie of our defense as a whole,'' said Rose, also a standout thrower for the Ichabods' track and field team. "I feel like we all get along very well and it's just fun playing with your brothers out there, making plays and getting things done. I love our defense.''
Rose, a former state high school champion in the shot put and javelin, said that the Ichabods used the COVID-canceled 2020 season to get closer as a team, which is paying dividends this fall.
"I think that whole year was just a year to get through it all because obviously we didn't know what was going to happen, we didn't know when we were going to play again,'' Rose said. "But at the same time everyone showed up every day, everyone came back to practice, came back to weights and I definitely think that showed that everyone wants to be here.
"It definitely built that closeness for us.''