Mastin a grizzled vet for Wittenberg football

Centerville grad in his sixth season after missing last year with injury


Mastin named NCAC Defensive Player of the Week after intercepting two passes against Denison.

Safety Jay Mastin’s beard doesn’t quite reach lumberjack status. It’s a training camp beard that kept going.

“My goal is to have a real nice playoff beard,” Mastin said.

There was a time when Wittenberg Tigers coach Joe Fincham might have had a problem with that.

“We started having some guys that wanted them,” Fincham said. “I quit fighting it. I basically just left it at this: as long as they’re manicured somewhat and we don’t look like ZZ Top getting off the bus or a grunge band, I think I’ll be OK.”

PLAYER FEATURES: Thaddeus Snodgrass;Duncan brothersJack KayserChandler Ferko

As the second-oldest Wittenberg football player, the Centerville High School graduate Mastin ought to get some leeway when it comes to personal grooming. He’s a sixth-year player who turned 23 in January. Only wide receiver Jeff Tiffner, 25, is older.

Mastin redshirted as a freshman at Miami University in 2012, played the 2013 and 2014 seasons with the RedHawks, transferred to Wittenberg in 2015 and then missed all of last season after tearing his medial patellofemoral ligament in the first week of practice.

Now he’s back on the field and one of the top players for a unit that ranks sixth in NCAA Division III in scoring defense (9.3 points per game). Mastin intercepted two passes Saturday in a 28-12 victory over Denison at Edwards-Maurer Field and was named North Coast Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

Of course, just being back in the game is a big enough reward for Mastin.

“It is just awesome,” Mastin said after practice Wednesday. “Having to sit out all last year was terrible. It was supposed to be my senior year. I got blessed and got a medical redshirt and took it and I’m having the time of my life.”

Mastin’s suffered the injury while planting his leg during a drill. He waited a few weeks to see if he could recover from it and play in 2016.

“I found out surgery was needed,” Mastin said, “and it was going to be a long recovery.”

Mastin missed all of spring practices, too. He didn’t start running until the beginning of summer.

“Rehab was tough, but it was the guys who got me through it,” Mastin said. “A couple of other guys were doing rehab. Just being around them all offseason and just the fire and the motivation, it made every day easier.”

The knee has not been in his mind in the first four games this season. He has 24 tackles and leads the NCAC with three interceptions. The No. 14 Tigers (4-0, 3-0) return to action at 3 p.m. Saturday at Hiram (1-3, 0-3).

“We’re really proud of our defense right now,” Mastin said. “The chip all the guys have, the energy, the way we’re playing, we’re having so much fun.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Dayton Flyers: Obadiah Toppin highlights create buzz online
Dayton Flyers: Obadiah Toppin highlights create buzz online

Obadiah Toppin could be a secret weapon for the Dayton Flyers this season.  Unless the redshirt freshman’s videos keep going viral on social media.  A 30-second clip posted this week had already been viewed over 200,000 times as of Wednesday morning, and it gives some clues about what Toppin could bring to the floor for UD this season...
HS Scores 8/14: Oakwood boys card 149 in dual match

Girls Golf Tuesday’s Results Ben Logan 190, North Union 225 Greenville 217, Troy 219 Greeneview 211, Madison Plains 225 Mechanicsburg 237, Triad 238 Monday’s Results Greenville 229, West Carrollton 272 Oakwood 199, Tippecanoe 214, Miamisburg 223. Riverside 217, Fairbanks 239 St. Henry 192, Coldwater 211 Champaign County Tourney At Indian...
HS Roundup 8/14: Milton-Union edges Miami East with tie breaker

In a sixth player tie-breaker, Milton-Union beat Miami East in a dual golf match on Tuesday. Sam Zapadka earned medalist honors for Miami East with a 41 followed by Justin Brown of Milton-Union with a 45. Milton-Union won with a score of 189 and their sixth golfer Nathan Thompson with a 50. Girls Golf Skyhawk Invitational: Centerville girls won with...
Report: Zach Smith has extensive meeting with investigators for Ohio State
Report: Zach Smith has extensive meeting with investigators for Ohio State

Former Ohio State receivers coach Zach Smith met Tuesday with the group investigating how Urban Meyer handled allegations Smith abused his wife.  According to multiple reports, Smith’s attorney gave a glowing assessment of the proceedings.  Smith’s ex-wife, Courtney, has accused him of abusing her during their marriage and obtained...
McCoy: Losing Monday meant historically strange lineup for Reds
McCoy: Losing Monday meant historically strange lineup for Reds

The Cincinnati Reds lead the league in a dubious facet of the game, one classified as minutiae and something no team or manager wants to see. The Reds have used four different position players to finish out-of-hand games as pitchers — Cliff Pennington, Alex Blandino, Phillip Ervin and Brandon Dixon. Amazingly enough, those four guys have pitched...
More Stories