BUFFALO GAP — Seth Fitzgerald has been dreaming since age 8 of playing college football. The Buffalo Gap senior realized his dream Friday.
Fitzgerald officially announced in front of family, coaches and Bison teammates in the school’s auditorium that he has signed to play football at Division II Frostburg State University.
The announcement is a culmination of years of hard work and dedication to the sport near and dear to him.
“The first time I played football at age 8 I knew right there that I wanted to play college football,” Fitzgerald said. “That desire has driven me through the years and gotten me to where it is now reality. I can’t express how excited I am to have the opportunity in front of me.
“I want to thank God for the ability to play the sport I love, and to my parents for all their support,” he said.
Fitzgerald also heaped praise on current Bison head football coach Brad Wygant, former head coach Andy Cline and jayvee coach Bobby Hildebrand for pushing him hard to become a better player and a better person.
“Those three coaches molded me into what I am today,” he said.
At Frostburg State, which is located in Maryland, Fitzgerald is getting in on the ground floor of a new era in Bobcat football. The program joined the D2 ranks at the start of the current school year after spending 41 seasons in D3.
“This is a great opportunity to compete against guys at one of the highest levels of college football,” he said. “I will be going up against some of the best of the best, and having to compete for my spot every day. I am eager to meet those challenges. I love competition and practicing against the best. That only will make me a better player.”
And the step up to the D2 level wasn’t lost on Fitzgerald, who will receive a partial scholarship.
“I want to be part of the process over the next four years of progressing the program at this level,” he said.
Fitzgerald said early indications from the coaching staff are they plan on using him at fullback or H-back. He will have to put on some more weight to probably 230-240 pounds. He is currently at 212 for wrestling, but his football weight was 220-225.
“I don’t see any trouble getting to the weight they want. They will have me on a weight and conditioning program as well as nutrition program,” he said.
Frostburg State is a member of the 11-team Mountain East Conference, which includes Notre Dame College, Charleston, Urbana, West Virginia State, Glenville State, Fairmont State, West Liberty, Concord, West Virginia Wesleyan and Wheeling.
The Bobcats finished the 2019 season with an 8-3 record under sixth-year head coach DeLane Fitzgerald, who is a JMU graduate. Fitzgerald is the winningest coach in program history at 49 victories.
During his senior season playing for the Bison, Fitzgerald had a productive final campaign on both sides of the line. He rushed for 775 yards on 132 carries and 12 touchdowns, and also threw a pair of TD passes. At linebacker, he accounted for 113 total tackles, six tackles for a loss and one forced fumble as the Bison finished the year 6-5, losing to county rival and eventual Class 2 runner-up Stuarts Draft in the first round of the Region 2B playoffs.
“Seth’s goal has always been to play college football, and I know he will make the most of it,” said Wygant, who finished his first season coaching the Bison. “He is going to maintain that focus, and that is going to make him an excellent college player. Frostburg has got itself a winner here.”
The Bison will have two players in the upper levels of college football in the fall. Besides Fitzgerald, Carter Rivenburg transferred to Morehead State, a FCS school, after redshirting last fall at Virginia Tech as a preferred walk-on.
“I have always tried to be a role model for the younger kids,” Fitzgerald said. “I wanted to be an example for them to see what working hard and being a good student can achieve. I want them to know what I accomplished can be them one day.”