By Tarik Kafel
Special to GoHolyCross.com
Sport is black and white. There is the victor and the defeated. Everyone remembers the champion, yet the runner up is often lost and forgotten. Every year someone wins, enjoys their moment on top, and then it is time to get ready for next season. This cycle is what draws winners and losers together; regardless of last season's finish, there is always a want for more, a want for more of last year's results or one more chance at being crowned champion.
The Holy Cross Crusaders are no exception. The defending Patriot League champions are coming back strong and are striving to repeat. In fact, two of the returning players, Bill Edger and Sean Lamkin, are back as fifth year seniors looking for another shot at a title. "I felt like I still had something left to contribute," says Edger, who led Holy Cross in receiving with 818 yards in 2009. "Coming off the success of last season, even though we could have ended on a high note going out, I just didn't want to stop playing. I love it too much."
While Edger enjoyed every second of the 2009 season, he also knows how frustrating it can be to miss out when you are hurt, for he missed his entire freshman season due to injury. Lamkin experienced the same frustration, his coming from last season when after a hot start (his seven tackles and interception against Georgetown earned him AT&T Crusader of the Week honors) he missed all but the first three games due to a knee injury. "I really didn't want to end on that, although we did win the Patriot League," says Lamkin. "I just felt like I still wanted to play, and I still had something in me. When I had the opportunity to come back I jumped on it, and I would do it again. It was worth all the hard work coming back from the knee injury."
Edger and Lamkin's love for football was not met without sacrifice this year. Each had to take a semester off from college life in order to be eligible to play this season. Both are Economics majors and each worked as interns last spring. Edger worked for an insurance company and Lamkin with an investment firm.
Lamkin's love for football started in sixth grade. Growing up in Jenks, Okla., he started playing soccer at a young age. It wasn't until sixth grade when he started playing backyard football with his friends that he realized he had to switch to the gridiron. In high school he helped lead his team to the state championship in 2003, received All-District Honors his junior and senior year, and served as captain and received All-Metro honors in his senior season. Lamkin decided to take his studies and hard hitting to Worcester, where he feels Holy Cross has the perfect blend of academics and athletics.
Lamkin has worked hard since his freshman year, starting off as a backup linebacker and member of the special teams unit. After receiving far more time at outside linebacker in his sophomore campaign, Lamkin became a full time starter as a junior. He played in all 11 games and finished the season with a team high of 71 total tackles and 56 solo stops, earning him second team All-Patriot League honors. Such an outstanding progression in three years of college football made it so tough for Lamkin to end on a short, though impressive, three game stint during the 2009 season.
Edger was born into a football family and grew up in Hainesport, N.J. His father played at West Chester University and was inducted into the West Chester Hall of Fame, and his brother currently plays for the University of Rhode Island. Edger attended St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia, Pa., where in his senior season his team won the Catholic League Red Division Championship and ranked 20th in the nation at season's end.
After missing his entire freshman year, Edger saw action in all 11 games in his redshirt year at wideout and special teams. Edger improved much in his third year, ranking third on the team in receiving yards and touchdown catches. After leading the team in receiving yards last season, he believes he offers something special as a fifth-year player. "You just have a little more knowledge about everything going on," says Edger. "You know how to take care of your body. You know the offense, and in Sean's case, he knows the defense. You are just able to help the other guys, and because you are a veteran, you know a little more than a lot of the other guys."
Lamkin also feels he will be a leader both on and off the field. "I just hope I can lead by example," he says. "Whether it be by watching film or always being focused during practices and meetings, I hope that I can set an example." He will be followed closely as he serves as one of the Crusaders' tri-captains this season.
Regardless of the outcome of this promising season, both players know they already made the right decision in coming back. "Coming back from injury has been hard, but I think it's all been worth it," says Lamkin. "At the end of the day I would do it all over again. If I could come back for a sixth year, I would do that too." Everybody wants more, but in sport whoever wants it the most comes out on top. And once you have already won once, everyone else is out to take you down. Bill Edger and Sean Lamkin are exactly what the Crusaders need this year: individuals who have tasted success, but are willing to lay it all on the line for that one more chance.
This story originally appeared in the September 4 edition of the Holy Cross Game Day Program, for the contest between the Crusaders and Howard. To order a copy of the program, visit the online store.