Prevailing Through Adversity

Heavyhearted Terps try to continue winning in honor of Pete DeSouza.

On Sunday, Ralph Friedgen went to the hospital to visit his injured right tackle, Pete DeSouza. To his surprise, he was beat to the punchy. Twenty players were already waiting to see their teammate.

DeSouza’s mother had asked the Maryland head coach to make sure not a lot of players visited with her son still in pain and undergoing treatment. But have you ever tried to stop a football team?

Following the Terps’ 24-21 win over Boston College Saturday afternoon, the team dedicated their win to their teammate, who stayed on their minds and in their hearts throughout the weekend, which according to Friedgen, rallied the emotions of his football team.

“It’s a testimony to our players that they able we able to focus in and win a game on the road, playing different positions, dealing with adversity and still be concerned about Pete,” Friedgen said.

Quarterback Danny O’Brien, who many consider to be DeSouza’s best friend, played with a heavy heart over the weekend. His lesson from all of this: any play could be your last. O’Brien’s career passing effort versus the Eagles demonstrated just that, which he dedicated to DeSouza.

“The theme all week had been playing every play like it was your last play. For that to actually happen to Pete this season kind of made it a lot more real to me,” O’Brien said. “It just makes you appreciate being able to go out there with the guys you spend all year with and play the fun game of football on Saturdays.”

While Friedgen was reluctant to announce his team would dedicate the rest of their season to DeSouza, it goes without saying that is the unequivocal intent of the Terps.

“Anytime you have to play for an [injured teammate], it’s going to be on your mind; it’s going to be a tough situation,” left tackle R.J. Dill said. “Pete would want us to keep fighting and get it done for him. Not getting it done without him would just hurt him even more.”

The team hopes to rally together once against Saturday against Wake Forest. A surge of emotion and motivation, according to wide receiver Kerry Boykins, should spark the time, just as it did last weekend.

“With Pete’s situation, it’s very motivational for us because we want go out there and play for him. He wants to be out there so bad with us, and we’re going out there, giving an extra 10 percent effort just because we know how bad he would want to be out there.”

DeSouza suffered multiple fractures in both legs following a scooter accident Thursday evening. He was released from the intensive care until his blood pressure had stabilized and Friedgen said he was doing quite well.

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