BY STEVE HEATON
GENEVA – Gouverneur Central product Alex Bush saw an extremely successful collegiate football career at Hobart College end this fall in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament this fall. The Liberty League Champion statesmen fell to nationally ranked St. John Fisher of the Empire 8, 27-6 after posting 10 straight wins and a second straight unbeaten Liberty League season.
Hobart was ranked as high as fifth in the nation in the America Football Coaches Association poll and as high as sixth in the D3football.com Top 25.
Bush, a former Northern Conference Lineman of the Year and Watertown Times All North selection, contributed to a 24-8 Hobart record the past four seasons including a 12-1 mark in the landmark 2012 season where the Statesmen reached the third round of the NCAAs.
Bush, 6-3, 290 pound lineman, was one of 10 offensive starters to earn Liberty League All Conference honors this season as a Second Team selection. The Statesmen swept the Liberty League Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year Award as well as the conferences Coaching Staff of the Year. Senior running back Steven Webb was the unanimous pick for Offensive Player of the Year, Junior end Tyre Coleman repeated as the Defensive Player of the Year and Head Coach Mike Cragg and his assistants earned their eighth Staff of the Year Award in 14 seasons.
Bush was a big part of the offensive line which all earned all conference honors after blocking for 31 rushing touchdowns and a team record for rushing yards and allowing just seven sacks while protecting for 18 TD passes.
I was fortunate to be his recruiting coordinator and offensive coordinator and line coach since his collegiate career began. But in his four years here, I believe his best season was this season, said Offensive Coordinator Ken DeWall of Bush. Our offensive line was instrumental in our success. Going 10-1 after losing several players last season including an All American lineman just shows how much leadership our returners had. And Alex was definitely one of them. He was extremely vocal and plays with a lot of emotion. He could play all five positions on the line. This season he was very big for us at left guard creating holes for our running backs and protecting the quarterback.
Bush also drew high praise for his toughness.
Alex also battled a high ankle sprain this season but never complained and would give 110 percent playing at less than 100 percent. Hes mentally tough. And we would rather have him at less than 100 percent in the lineup than out of it. Its tough to see a senior like him leave the program, said Dewall.
Hobart led the league in scoring offense (37.0 ppg), scoring defense (13.9 ppg), total defense (293.1 yds/g), rushing defense (127.9 yds/g), passing efficiency (147.9), kickoff coverage (40.4 net avg.), opponent third down percentage (31.1), red zone offense (88.2%), and red zone defense (60%).
The Statesmen were among the top 25 in the nation in several statistical categories, including punts blocked (second with 6), yards per completion (11th, 15.4), red zone offense (15th), red zone defense (16th), and sacks allowed (17th).
In 2012, Bush played in eight games helping Hobart rush for a season-high 355 yards against Union, a season-high 322-yard day at WPI and helped clear the road for Hobart to rush for over 280 yards and five touchdowns in NCAA playoff wins over Washington & Lee and No. 24 Wittenberg.
In 2011 Bush played in all nine games as Hobart offensive linemen allowed the fewest sacks in the Liberty League, aided a season-high 313 yards in a win over Dickinson helped protect Hobart QBs for a season-high 278 yards and five touchdowns the following week at St. John Fisher.
In 2010, Bush saw action in six games and helped pave the way for a season-high 243 rushing yards against Union.