Does Andy Steckel ever wonder what kind of career receiving statistics he would have piled up had Eric Frees not been getting the ball 25 to 30 times a game during the last four years?
"I would be lying if I said that never crossed my mind," Steckel said, "but then our offense wouldn't be half of what it is if he weren't around."
Keeping tabs on Western Maryland's offensive production since has been challenging. While Frees is the most productive running back in NCAA Division III history, Steckel has carved a smaller niche by improving the Green Terrors' pass-catching marks. He has 107 career receptions for 2,187 yards and 23 touchdowns.
In coming to Westminster, Steckel knew the 1988 recruiting class included a potentially dominant tailback. He and Frees are both from Ephrata, Pa., and they played sandlot baseball against each other before entering high school. When they were juniors, Steckel's Conestoga Valley High won their football rivalry; a year later, Frees' Ephrata High ruled.
Ironically, their quarterback the last three years was another product of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, Mike Hamm. He's a Green Terrors' assistant coach this fall.
Frees and Steckel have shared on-campus housing since they were sophomores. Steckel said their freshman class included "at least 45 guys," but all-star linebacker Jim Webster is the only other current starter who came out of that group.