Trevor Coston enjoyed a memorable night Saturday during the University of Maine’s football season opener at Alfond Stadium in Orono.
The senior safety returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown, averaging 26 yards on five returns, and also made two interceptions and three tackles.
However, it is what Coston didn’t do against Bryant that may have been most impressive.
With the clock winding down in the fourth quarter and the Bulldogs pinned in their own end, Coston stepped in front of a pass by quarterback Mike Westerhaus at the Bryant 25-yard line.
Coston had plenty of forward momentum as he ran onto the ball and he sprinted toward the righthand sideline, potentially headed for his second touchdown of the evening.
However, as Coston ran inside the 10-yard line, he saw that he faced some would-be tacklers near the goal line. He veered away and ran out of bounds at the 3.
My initial reaction was to question why Coston wouldn’t put the exclamation point on one of his best performances by trying to punch in another touchdown.
He saw things from a different perspective.
“One, it was the time on the clock,” said Coston, who knew UMaine had the game in hand and did not need to score. “I figured there was no point of trying to go take a hit or be selfish. I didn’t want to risk a fumble or anything.”
With that split-second decision in the heat of a game, Coston demonstrated poise, sportsmanship and prudence.
He has played a lot of football for the Black Bears and has had to work around a couple of significant injuries during his career. Trying to crash through a tackler into the end zone carried with it considerable risk and a potential reward that would only feed his ego.
Coston’s maturity should be applauded and, hopefully, it is a reflection of the leadership he and his fellow seniors will provide for coach Jack Cosgrove’s Black Bears during the 2011 football season.