Game day. It can`t come fast enough for Chris Schubert.
After all, there aren`t too many things Schubert enjoys more than playing football, something he`s done and done well for the past 15 or so years.
Then again, if this particular game day could be delayed a little while, well, Schubert might be just fine with that, too.
You see, today when Oberlin College hosts Allegheny at 1 p.m. at Savage Stadium, Schubert will play his final game for the Yeomen, his final game as a college football player and, maybe, though he hopes not, he`ll play the final, honest-to-goodness game of his life.
Talk about mixed emotions.
"(Thursday) was our last padded practice," Schubert said. "I didn`t think about it then, but that could have been my last padded practice ever."
Last padded practice. Last game as a Yeoman, Last game as a college player. Last game with his teammates and friends - his "brothers," as he calls them.
"It has definitely flown by," Schubert said of the last four years. "It`s been like a blur."
Fitting, since that`s exactly what Schubert has been to many an opposing team as a star wide receiver and return specialist for the Yeomen.
Among all the lasts inherent in today`s finale is one constant -- the lasting impression Schubert, an Oberlin High School graduate, will leave on the Oberlin program and the North Coast Athletic Conference.
(bullet) He needs 168 all-purpose yards today to become the NCAC`s all-time career leader. He averages 212 all-purpose yards a game this season, good for first in the NCAC and third in the NCAA, and has averaged 164.4 all-purpose yards per game for his career. He is Oberlin`s all-time leader in that category.
(bullet) With just 48 receiving yards he`ll move into second all-time in the conference.
(bullet) He already ranks fourth all-time in the league in career receptions with 196.
(bullet) He holds Oberlin career records for receiving yards (2,484) and receiving touchdowns (23) and career return yardage for punts (648) and kickoffs (2,484).
Asked if he`s thought much about what life on the football field will be like without Schubert, Oberlin coach Jeff Ramsey said: "I try not to."
"He`s been such a high-production player," Ramsey said. "It`s more than that though. His presence on the field alone makes everyone feel confident that no matter what, we have an opportunity to win. Because he`s that kind of a player."
Standing only 5-foot-9 and weighing in at 185 pounds, Schubert, who runs a 4.6 40, has been remarkably durable, missing just one game his entire collegiate career. That was Game 10 his freshman season, which he missed due to a broken collarbone.
"I always expected to play," he said. "I never really expected to do everything I`ve done so far. When it`s all said and done, I didn`t really think I`d be able to do all that."
Ramsey, however, did.
"I was blessed with seeing the kid play when he was young -- when he was 10," Ramsey said. "Even then you`d say, â€˜Who is that kid?` He`s improved every year. Look at his numbers and it`s amazing to see what he`s done."
As a freshman, Schubert caught 27 passes for 416 yards (15.6 average) and two touchdowns. He also returned a kickoff 90 yards for another TD. His sophomore season, those numbers grew to 65 catches for 777 yards (12.0) and six TDs. This time he had a 97-yard kickoff return for a TD and earned first-team All-NCAC honors.
Last season he scored nine touchdowns on 49 receptions for 620 yards (12.7) and returned a punt 77 yards for a score. He was second-team All-NCAC. This year he has 55 catches for 671 yards (12.2) and six TDs and has returned both a punt and a kickoff for TDs.
"What makes him so good is the way he enjoys playing," Ramsey said. "When you enjoy playing, you enjoy working and you enjoy learning about the game. He gobbles up everything he can about being a wide receiver. -- Of course, it helps to be fast and it helps to have good hands and to be able to move your body the way he does."
The learning will obviously help if Schubert, a sociology major, goes into coaching, something he has a definite interest in. His father, Woody, is Oberlin`s wide receivers coach.
For now, though, Schubert still has playing on his mind. And not just in today`s season-ender. Schubert wants to try to keep playing at the next level -- as a pro.
"It`s definitely tough coming from a small school," he said of his chances. "It`s also tough being 5-9 and 185 pounds. But coach always says if you`re good enough, they`ll find you."
When today`s final game has come and gone, Schubert plans to take about a week off before getting back to work, where he`ll work on improving his speed and strength.
"I think the way that he works and he plays, somebody might give him a chance," Ramsey said. "I don`t know where, I don`t know who and I don`t know at what level - NFL, Canada or Arena - but he`s a guy who can play. He is a talent."
Whatever the future holds, Schubert knows he wouldn`t trade the last four years for anything. Not only did he get to play the game he loves, he got to do it in front of his hometown, in front of his lifelong friends and in front of his family and, especially, his parents, who have seen all his games.
He`s got those new "brothers," too, with whom he says he`ll always stay in touch. He even met his girlfriend at Oberlin.
Sure, a few more wins would have been nice, but even that is looking up. After 1-9 and 3-7 seasons, the Yeomen need a win today to post back-to-back .500 seasons for the first time since 1960. They`d also be 5-2 in the conference, another height the program hasn`t reached in years.
All in all, a pretty good run.
"It`s been a ride," said Schubert.
Contact Kevin Aprile at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.