Five weeks ago, Ron Garrett was just another unknown player for a Division III football team in Pennsylvania.
Today, he might be the most widely-known Division III student-athlete in any sport.
Garrett is on one of the most improbable streaks that an athlete of any collegiate level has ever recorded — and it’s turned his life upside down.
“It’s been crazy. It’s more attention than I’ve gotten in my whole career of football,” Garrett said. “When I was younger I always wanted to be interviewed but it never happened. Now, it’s coming true. It’s kind of a good way to end my senior year in college.”
The fifth-year senior has scored a defensive touchdown in five straight games, which is believed to be an NCAA record on any level. Four of his scores have been on fumble recoveries and one came off a lateral on a blocked field goal. The collegiate governing body has never recorded defensive touchdowns other than interceptions in the record books. But it will now, whenever the streak ends.
So when will it end?
“I don’t know. I didn’t expect to make it four or five,” he said. “Just try to keep playing the same way, try to be around the ball at the end of the play and if it happens, it happens. ”
Garrett came back for his fifth season after missing his junior season with a torn ACL and decided to return in 2013 since he still had to take more classes in order to graduate.
And it’s been well worth it.
Garrett, a native of Columbus, N.J. has been featured in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd and was mentioned in USA Today’s weekly college football wrap-up on Oct. 21. It doesn’t stop there though.
His highlights have been on national television shows on CBS Sports Network for the last two weeks and he was topic of conversation on ESPN’s highly-watched College Gameday program on Oct. 19. The reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Week was nominated for the Geico Play of the Year program for his TD against Misericordia and that same play also was picked as the D3Football.com Play of the Week.
“That stuff is cool. It’s interesting but it doesn’t really affect me that much,” he added. “It’s cool that the people back home have heard about it, so they reach out to me more.”
Not to be lost in all the hoopla is that Garrett’s King’s team is in the middle of the best stretch in head coach Jeff Knarr’s era, having won three in a row for the first time since 2006.
The Monarchs (3-3 overall, 3-2 MAC) control their own destiny. If they win their last four games, they will be MAC champions for the first time since 2002. But it’s not that easy.
Today, they take to the road to face Delaware Valley, winner of four of the last five MAC championships. After that, they face Lycoming, the preseason favorite, followed by defending conference champion Widener before closing out the season against city rival Wilkes. Lycoming, Widener and DelVal are also three of the four teams that are currently tied for first place in the MAC with a 4-1 conference record.
“What winning three games in a row has done is that now the seventh game of the season means something for King’s College,” Knarr said. “They still have a lot goals that when you’re 0-3 you don’t think about, but they’ve been brought back into play. And then if it’s going to stay in play, the first task at hand is obviously the team that’s won four of the last (five) championships and that will give us a benchmark of where we’re at.”
King’s (3-3, 3-2 MAC) at Delaware Valley (5-1, 4-1 MAC)
When: 1 p.m. today in Doylestown
Last Week: The Monarchs knocked off Stevenson 31-24, while DelVal is coming off a 45-30 victory over FDU-Florham.
Last meeting: Delaware Valley won 38-0 last season.
King’s player to watch: Defensive end Ron Garrett. He has notched a defensive touchdown five weeks in a row. Can his streak possibly continue for a sixth consecutive week?
Delaware Valley player to watch: Quarterback Aaron Wilmer is expected to return from an injury after missing DelVal’s last game. This season, he’s thrown for 1,072 yards and eight touchdowns to go with six interceptions.
Monarchs’ team leaders: RB Kyle McGrath 414 yards, 6 TD; QB Tyler Hartranft 1,046 yards, 8 TD, 4 interceptions; WR Dan Kempa 29 receptions, 592 yards, 5 TD (leads MAC); LB Nick Kaijala 39 tackles; LB Chad Curtice 3 sacks; three players with 1 interception.
Aggies team leaders:RB Kyle Schuberth 616 yards, 9 TD; QB Aaron Wilmer 1,072 yards, 8 TD, 6int; WR Rasheed Bailey 25 receptions, 513 yards, 3TD; two players with 2 interceptions; DB Danny Wynne 65 tackles; DL Matt Hoch 2.5 sacks.
King’s will win if… The defense can tighten up. The Monarchs are allowing 32.0 points per game, the third highest mark in the MAC. The Aggies meanwhile have the most potent offense in the league scoring 33.2 points per game.
DelVal will win if…The team hangs on to the ball. In their lone loss this season, DelVal turned the ball over four times. In its wins, the team has totaled just nine giveaways.
What to know: King’s is still in the race for the MAC championship at Week 8 for the first time since 2006. The Monarchs’ three-game win streak is the longest stretch since claiming five in a row in 2006.