Sports

Immaculata’s Tashawn Bower (’13) Heads to NFL Conference Final with Vikings teammates

bc81d0d08fc608d97f81_sompixtashawnbowersack.jpg
Immaculata graduate Tashawn Bower '13 moves in on Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff to make his first career sack in the NFL Nov. 19; the Vikings won the game 24-7. Credits: Courtesy Minnesota Vikings
7d82610dfd8eda8b1f50_sompixvikingsthecatch.jpg
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs leaps for a pass from quarterback Case Keenum which he ran in for a touchdown with no time left on the clock to clinch the win. Credits: Courtesy Minnesota Vikings
8081fb8179eb88a439bc_sompixvikingssideline.jpg
Tashawn Bower was 10 yards away on the sideline when Vikings teammate Stefon Diggs caught the winning pass from quarterback Case Keenum. Credits: Courtesy Minnesota Vikings
b9de3749d16fe1e868a2_sompixtashawnbowerspartan.jpg
Tashawn Bower was a standout on the Immaculata High School football team, graduating in 2013 and moving on to LSU, graduating in 2017 before signing with the NFL Vikings. Credits: Courtesy Immaculata High School
251edb6e226f7de2b801_sompixnfltashawnbower__1_.jpg
Viking defensive lineman Tashawn Bower signed with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent in May, 2017 after playing collegiately at LSU for 4 years. Credits: Courtesy Minnesota Vikings
bc81d0d08fc608d97f81_sompixtashawnbowersack.jpg

 

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Just five years removed from an outstanding football career at Immaculata High School, defensive end Tashawn Bower and his Minnesota Vikings teammates are one step away from Super Bowl LII, thanks to what has been dubbed the “Minnesota Miracle.”

It was to be the final play of the game; the Vikings were on the short end of a 24-23 score in last Sunday’s NFL playoff against the New Orleans Saints.

Vikings quarterback Case Keenum took the snap, dropped back, and lofted a pass down the right side of the field. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs leaped up and snatched the ball out of the air with both hands near the sideline, landed on his feet, dodged a tackle, stayed in bounds and took off, crossing into the end zone ahead of the Saints’ defenders and a stream of Vikings’ teammates ready for an end zone celebration.

Sign Up for E-News

The 61-yard walk-off touchdown put the Vikings into the NFL National Conference Championship against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday in Philadelphia. Game time is 6:40 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Fox network.

The winner of the Vikings/Eagles championship game will play the winner of the AFC Conference game between the New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars in Super Bowl LII at the Vikings' stadium Sunday, Feb. 4. 

The 22-year-old NFL rookie watched the play unfold looking up at the big screen that hangs from the ceiling of the Vikings’ US Bank Stadium, the newest indoor stadium in the NFL – and one of the loudest, by design.

Others peered upwards with him while other teammates crowded along the sideline; Bower was about 10 yards up field when Diggs made the miraculous reception.

“When I saw Diggs catch it, the angle they had on the TV, I saw he was inbounds, all the way, I just kept shouting ‘keep going, keep going,’ it was just crazy,” Bower said. “It got ridiculously load, it’s just something that you can’t explain, you don’t see this in the NFL.”

While the majority of his teammates streamed out on to the field, Bower remained behind because he knew the game wasn’t yet over.

“I was hanging on the sidelines; the game can’t end on a touchdown,” he explained, “you have to kick the extra point and I wasn’t going to be the one to say, ‘hey, we have to run another play.’ I just let everyone do their thing until they got it together.”

There was no attempt to kick the extra point; Keenum took the snap and took a knee. Game over. Final score: Vikings 29, Saints 24.

That’s when the on field celebration ratcheted up.

“We’re all jumping up and down, trying to figure out what just happened, we just couldn’t believe it so,” Bower said. “There were so many emotions, the guys were just going crazy. It all means so much to us.”

The team took it all in, celebrated for just a day or two, and then it was back to business, according to Bower.

“We practiced Wednesday and Thursday, with a light practice scheduled for Friday, nothing too physical,” the 6’5”, 250-pound lineman explained.

“We’re trying to take care of our bodies, recovering from the Saints’ game, so that we’re all right, all rested and ready to go,” Bower added.

“After a big win like last week, all your emotions are going crazy, but once you get into the work week, you can’t look back and reflect, you have to focus on Philly and what we need to do to prepare for them,” he added.

Though he may not get to visit with them, Bower expects several friends and family members from New Jersey to cross the Delaware River for Sunday’s game at Lincoln Financial Field.

He was unable to secure any extra tickets, as is the case for most regular season games.

“My friends have been texting me, but people know it’s not the easiest thing to do for a game of this magnitude,” Bower said.

Bower is the second graduate of Immaculata High School to play in the NFL; he was preceded by Theo Riddick ('09), who played collegiately at Notre Dame before he was drafted in 2013 by the Detroit Lions, where he continues to play.

Bower and Riddick both played for Immaculata Coach Pierce Frauenheim.

Bower finished his senior season at Immaculata with 95 total tackles, 16 tackles for losses, 11 sacks, seven pass breakups and three forced fumbles. He was rated a four-star recruit by ESPN.com, and ranked as the No. 11 best defensive end in the nation and the No. 4 prospect in New Jersey by ESPN.

 ESPN.com’s top 150 listed Bower as the No. 132 prospect in the nation.

Bower was a four-year starter at LSU, playing 40 games, with 7 starts in the 2015 and 2016 seasons; he finished off his senior year in spectacular fashion against the Louisville Cardinals, with 3 sacks against Heisman Trophy quarterback Lamar Jackson in the 2016 Citrus Bowl.

Despite a stellar collegiate career, Bower was not drafted by any NFL team, and signed with the Vikings as a free agent in May, 2017, went to training camp two months later and overcame the odds to make the 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent.

He is listed third on the Vikings’ depth chart at right defensive end behind starter Everson Griffen and Stephen Weatherly.

Bower made his NFL debut on Oct. 29 against the Cleveland Browns, seeing action on special teams. He recorded his first career sack on Nov.19, tacking Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff for a loss; the Vikings won that game 24-7.

Bower’s family lives in Livingston.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Piscataway

Valeski: Placing Police Officers in Schools was Planned for Two Years

February 21, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - In the midst of a media firestorm today, Dr. Victor Valeski, East Brunswick Superintendent of Schools, fielded questions from local and national journalists regarding the placement of armed police officers inside each of the district's K-12 buildings.  The move seemed to many as a "knee-jerk" reaction to the fear generated by the massacre of ...

Obituaries

Christina C. Sweet (Diaz) 79 years, died Monday January 1, 2017 at Robert Wood Johnson University ...
Read more
- Nov 15, 2017
Phillip A. Petracca, also widely known as Filippo Neri in the Italian-American Radio and ...
Read more

Wreath Laying for Local Vietnam Hero Lost 50 Years Ago Today Held in Piscataway

February 18, 2018

Childhood friends of Soldier & Family Join Mayor Brian C. Wahler, Township Councilmembers, RU Army ROTC Cadets, Local American Legion & Lake Nelson Residents Today at Park Named After Veteran

PISCATAWAY, NJ – On Feb. 18th, the 50th anniversary of the passing of Jeffrey R. Byrne, a Piscataway-raised 19-year-old who died serving in Vietnam, childhood friends of him and his family ...

South Plainfield Middle School Student Council Thanks Supporters

The South Plainfield Middle School Student Council would like to express our thanks for the support of local businesses and organizations in our fundraising efforts.  A spaghetti dinner was hosted by the South Plainfield Elks Lodge #2298 on January 13th.  Mrs. Sharon Reuter and members of her Youth Committee and kitchen crew provided dinner for family, friends and staff of South ...

Rutgers Union Rally Planned Friday for $15 Minimum Wage

New Brunswick, NJ - On Friday, February 23, student groups, a coalition of Rutgers unions, and representatives from campuses across the nation will hold a rally and march on College Avenue to demand a $15 minimum wage.

The action, initiated by the Rutgers chapter of United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) and the Rutgers American Association of University Professors - American Federation of ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, February 22, 12:00 PM

American Legion, South Plainfield

Boy Scout Troop 207 Spaghetti Dinner

Food & Drink

Sat, February 24, 2:00 PM

Edison High School Auditorium, Edison

Free community viewing of "BAG IT" - Award ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Sun, February 25, 1:00 PM

St. David's Episcopal Church, Cranbury

Organizing for the 2018 Mid-terms: Elections, ...

Education Giving Back Government

Carousel_image_3d7e35618f05795eb00f_omstbydesignnew_jpeg

Tue, February 27, 7:00 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

“Olmsted By Design!” Free First-Person, Dramatic ...

Arts & Entertainment Green Home & Garden

Thu, March 1, 7:00 PM

Piscataway Public Library, PISCATAWAY

Empowerment for the Job Search

Business & Finance

Shouts of Racial Slurs Bring Police to Sparta Theatre

February 21, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to the New Vision Sparta Theater on Sunday night because of a woman shouting slurs in a screening of Black Panther.

Former New Jersey Assembly candidate Michael Grace was in the theater when two people started yelling racial slurs including “look at these ‘n-word’” and “can you believe these ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

Guest Column

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The ...

Let the Games Begin

I am truly awed by the Olympics.  Watching these superb young athletes on TV inspires me to renew my membership to the gym and pursue my lifelong dream of taking home the gold.  

 

The problem is that in my deluded head, I can see actually see myself standing atop the podium.  I am wrapped in a puffy designer ski coat with a huge piece of bling slung around my neck ...

The Best Way to Pay Your Child a Compliment

“Of course you’re good-looking.”  “You’re the best friend ever.”  “Who wouldn’t want you on their team?”  Is there a parent out there (including me) who hasn’t praised a child in order to make him or her feel better?  Sometimes it’s true, and sometimes we say it because we just can’t stand to see them ...

Height during childhood associated with increased stroke risk in adulthood

Researchers in Denmark studied the health records of more than 300,000 people born between 1930 and 1989 and found that those who were shorter than average height between ages 7 and 13 had a greater risk of stroke as adults. The results of this study were published in the February 15, 2018 issue of the journal Stroke.

Summary: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320922.php

Journal ...

Very Hot Tea Increases Cancer Risk

Researchers in China studying the consumption of “burning” hot tea, alcohol, and smoking habits of greater than 450,000 people ages 30 –79 for more than nine years found a five time greater risk of esophageal cancer in those who engaged in all three of the behaviors and a two time greater risk in those who either smoked or drank alcohol and consumed burning hot tea as compared ...