NEW PARIS — A pair of National Trail football teammates will continue to be teammates this fall at the college level.
Malachi Short and Dalton Mason will be playing at Urbana University, a NCAA Division II program, this fall. The Blue Knights are a member of the Mountain East Conference with teams from Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.
“I’ve coached football for about 40 years and I’m always thrilled to have a player or players that move on. It’s kind of like a feather in your cap. It’s always good to coach people who go on. It makes me feel great. It really does,” National Trail football coach Mark Hoffman said.
Hoffman said both have enjoyed success while wearing the orange and brown.
“Both of these guys have been really successful for me. It makes my job and coaching a lot easier,” he said. “Malachi was like my coach on the field (and) Dalton is going to be hard to replace this year.”
Both played offensive and defensive lines for the Blazers.
“I really chose Urbana because of coach (Tyler) Haines and the way he’s going to put the program together. How he’s talked talk to me about how they’re going to try to win the conference this year,” Short said.
Last season Urbana finished 5-6 and in the middle of the conference.
Short said he enjoyed his time at National Trail.
“It was nice. I liked it. I really wouldn’t want to change any other way because you know, everything happens for a reason,” Short said. “It just felt right for me.”
Short said Hoffman played a key role in helping him become the player and person he is today.
“I really respect him. He’s really turned me into who I am today and he’s brought me to what I learned and everything,” Short said.
Short said he plans to major in sports management and a minor in exercise science.
Short added he has wanted to play football at the college level for as long as he can remember.
Ever since I was little, I really wanted to play for Ohio State though, but I’m not at that level, so Urbana is really good fit for me,” he said. “Everything I wanted.”
Mason said chasing dreams was one of the reasons he chose Urbana.
“My big reason was we kind of have a motto around here, “small town, big dreams,” and I think that really ties into what Urbana has got going down there,” Mason said. “It’s a small town. Everybody’s there just to play football, get through it, everybody’s got big hopes, conference championships, everything like that. So I think it plays well from where I come from, and kind of keeps me at home with where we are now.”
Mason also dreamed of playing football beyond high school.
“Well, you know, to me it never really mattered what level I played at. Personally, I never imagined myself playing college football. It was always a dream, but I was always watching guys on TV, you know — ‘look how good this guy is and how good that guy is.’ I’m not at that level. So when they came to me and offered me a spot, it was such a big surprise and it was really cool, but it never really mattered to me what level I played on. College football’s just always been like a big dream.”
Mason said he wouldn’t trade his time at Trail.
“You know, my four years here at Trail, they were an experience for sure. My freshman year I came in and probably didn’t get a lot of playing time, and then my sophomore year through my senior year I came in as a starter and I kind of always looked at myself as like a leader for the team and everything like that. We might not have come out with as many wins as we wanted over the four years, but it was definitely a great time. I wouldn’t change it.”
Mason said he is undecided about his major, but is looking into business or being a firefighter.
“I’m not exactly sure right now what I’m really going to do after high school. I have my fire card right now, so I’m going to be a firefighter/paramedic after college. But, I figured a business degree, you can go about anywhere with it, so it’s a good option no matter what I was trying to do,” he said.
Urbana is scheduled to open the season on Thursday, Aug. 30 versus West Liberty.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH