GRAFTON—Although the Grafton Bearcats football program struggled to get much going last season, one of their own is heading off to play football at the collegiate level next season.
On Tuesday, senior kicker/punter Joey Dingeldein gave his commitment to Fairmont State University for the 2020 season, in front of family and friends at the Mary Battle Studio at Grafton High School.
Speaking to reporters on why he decided to become a Fighting Falcon, he said it was a few different things that caught his attention about the respected Mountain East Conference program.
“I liked the tradition over that past couple of years that Coach Woodman and the rest of the staff has had. It’s also real close to home, so it was just a perfect fit.”
The 1st-Team All-Big 10 and Honorable Mention All-State selection said that he has been kicking for quite some time now, and he can remember when he first started getting interested in the position.
“I used to watch football with my dad and always thought that kicking and punting were pretty cool, so one day so one day I went out in the yard and started kicking. And that’s how it started.”
His head coach also saw something in him early on and praised his kicker for being such an integral part of the team over the last few seasons.
“He came to me during his sophomore season I think and said ‘Coach, I don’t want to do anything but kick,” said Grafton head coach Rich Bord. “We gave him that opportunity and it really paid off.”
Bord also talked about how the senior punter bailed his team out of a tough spot on more than one occasion, and what his value has been to the program over the years, especially last year.
“Joey was definitely a game changer,” stated a proud Bord. “He could change a field with his foot, and he did it quite often. I’ve been here a very long time and there has been no better. As far as I’m concerned, he’s punted the ball better than any kid I’ve seen at this school, and we’ve had a couple of good punters since I’ve been here.”
Although his stats were extremely impressive this past season (42.5 yards per punt with “several punts over 60 yards”, 19-for-21 on extra points, and 3-for-4 on field goals), Dingeldein knows that he has several areas to work on before he steps onto the field for FSU, which he understands will probably be “in late June or July.”
“Something that I’ve struggled with from time-to-time is not being quick or not being smooth,” explained Dingeldein about his areas of concern. “But they (the coaching staff) have prepared me very well, not only for kicking and punting for also for the mental part of the game. In practice, the team conditioning rode on a single field goal several times and having everyone hate you for the day is a lot of motivation,” he said jokingly.
The senior, who shared that he had interest from Fairmont State and West Virginia Wesleyan, among others, said that he plans on majoring in Business Management while at Fairmont State.