Peel back on the field
Published 8:18 am Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Brandywine football player Vinny Peel scored a touchdown on a five-yard run in last Friday’s 46-6 win by the Bobcats over Comstock.
But Peel’s biggest individual victory came on Sept. 24.
On that day, Peel’s emotional week took a turn nobody expected.
Peel, who suffered what appeared to be a serious neck injury on Sept. 19 against Parchment, was cleared to play football.
“I went to (the hospital) in Niles Saturday (after the Parchment game) and they told me I had a bulging disc at the bottom of my neck,” said Peel. “They had me in a neck brace until Thursday. I then went to see a neurologist on Thursday and I took x-rays. The neurologist said (the hospital) was wrong and he didn’t see anything wrong with my neck whatsoever. He said it was more likely just a sprain or a stinger.
“My emotions were definitely fluctuating during the week hearing from different people. My aunt is a nurse and she was helping me through it. Saturday (after the Parchment game) I felt I might be done for the season.”
Peel wasn’t alone in that thought.
“We all thought he was done for the year,” said Brandywine football coach Mike Nate. “The report we got out of (the hospital) was that he had a bulging disc, but he went to see a neurologist and that wasn’t the case and they released him to play.”
Against Comstock, Nate used Peel at quarterback, running back and on special teams. It didn’t take long for Peel to make an impact in the game.
His tackle on special teams a little over three minutes into the game pinned Comstock back at its own six-yard line.
“That got me pumped up,” Peel said about his special teams tackle. “After that play I was in a zone the rest of the night and ready to play.”
Peel finished the night with a long list of accomplishments. He returned a punt 29 yards in the first quarter. He returned a kick 25 yards in the fourth quarter. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder also played quarterback and running back and completed 3-of-5 passes for 60 yards and rushed for 45 yards on 10 carries.
“Vinny can play all the positions, tailback, wide receiver, quarterback and safety” Nate said. “He played a role (against Comstock). We’re happy to have him back.”
Just a junior, Peel contributed on kick returns and at running back as a freshman on the varsity. Last year, Peel was second on the team in receiver yards and he played some at tailback. His play helped the Bobcats earn a playoff berth the last two years.
“The big thing is that I’m looking to play somewhere to help the team,” Peel said. “I prefer wide receiver or running back, but if they need me at quarterback they can throw me in there. I hate being on the sidelines watching the team. I’m here to play for them.”
Brandywine will need Peel to help them claim a fourth straight playoff appearance. The Bobcats improved to 3-2 with their win over Comstock.
“I feel like the rest of the year I need to be here and be a team leader and keep the team up no matter how much adversity we face.”
Physically, Peel is ready to play even a greater role in future games.
“My neck is feeling good,” Peel said after the Comstock game.