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

Warren

Somerset Regional Animal Shelter Offering July Adoption Promotion for Cats/Kittens

July 10, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset Regional Animal Shelter, in Bridgewater, is urgently looking for homes for its cats and kittens.

According to a release from the shelter, the population surges throughout the summer during kitten breeding season, and so the shelter is launching a special promotion to help increase cat and kitten adoptions. During the month of July, all cats and kittens that over ...

Do You Recognize These Dogs?

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Two dogs were found in Plainfield near the fire station on Central Avenue on Saturday. 

The dogs are currently with a family in South Plainfield.  If you recognize the dogs, please email TAPinto Plainfield at jpopper@tapinto.net.

A Hidden Gem in the Suburbs – Spring Academy Montessori Pre-School helps children reach their full potential by fostering an innate love of learning!

July 16, 2018

Located on a quiet residential street in Warren, NJ, Spring Academy Montessori Preschool opened its doors to the public in late November 2016.  Spring Academy wanted to fill a niche that was missing in the community -- a pre-school with a Montessori philosophy combined with an emphasis on language immersion.  Since then, parents have been coming from all over to enroll their children in ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, October 3, 7:00 PM

SCLSNJ's Warren Township Library branch, Warren

A History of the Old Presbyterian Graveyard in ...

Government Other

Obituaries

Jul 28, 1955 - Feb 8, 2018
Owner/Chef of Jaret’s Stuffed Cupcakes  Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and ...
Read more

Get Ready Warren: Fireworks, Food and Family Fun At Mt. Carmel Feast

July 13, 2018

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. – It’s time again for the annual Mt. Carmel Feast, a four-day festival full of food, music, games, rides, fireworks, and other family fun, located at Mt. Carmel Field in Berkeley Heights.

The fairgrounds will be open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, July 13 through Monday, July 16. Those four nights will include concerts, games, and ...

Somerset Regional Animal Shelter Offering July Adoption Promotion for Cats/Kittens

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset Regional Animal Shelter, in Bridgewater, is urgently looking for homes for its cats and kittens.

According to a release from the shelter, the population surges throughout the summer during kitten breeding season, and so the shelter is launching a special promotion to help increase cat and kitten adoptions. During the month of July, all cats and kittens that over ...

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 17, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

White Supremacist Actions Denounced

July 19, 2018

SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ - Two groups denounced Identity Evropa, a white supremacist group posting of fliers in multiple Central New Jersey towns. Both statements lay blame on President Donald Trump.

The New Jersey Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) and the Somerset County Democratic Committee issued statements today. 

"The promotion of a racist and ...

White Supremacist Fliers Found in Central New Jersey Towns

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Residents of Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and surrounding communities are mobilizing for action after they found posters around town promoting Identity Evropa, which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled a white supremacist group.

According to Bridgewater resident Stacey Friedlander, a member of the “Not In Our Town – Bridgewater/Raritan” ...

Viewing and Funeral Mass Set for 1-Year-Old Boy Killed in July 7 Crash, Fundraiser Established

RARITAN, NJ - A viewing for the 1-year-old Raritan boy killed on Anderson Street July 7 will be held this week at St. Ann Church in Raritan, according to an obituary released by the Bongiovi Funeral Home.

Matias Ortega-Rosales was killed on the evening of his first birthday when a vehicle hit two cars and then his family as he was being pushed in a stroller by his mother, Domitila Rosales.

Bedminster Woman Dies From Injuries After Being Struck by Car in Mall Parking Lot

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A Bedminster woman has died from her injuries after being struck by a car in the parking lot of the Bridgewater Commons Mall Monday.

Marion Kelley, 62, was struck by a vehicle while walking in lot four near the Macy's merchandise pick up area at around 3:20 p.m. Monday.

The 2017 Mazda was driven by Chinmayi Parikh, 33, of Piscataway.

The crash is still being ...

3rd Annual Meadowlands BBQ Battle a Smokin’ Success

July 18, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Seven competitors battled it out at Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment's 3rd Annual BBQ Battle on Saturday, July 14, all vying for $2,000 in prizes and most importantly, bragging rights. 

The BBQ categories of best Ribs, Brisket, Chicken, and Pulled Pork, came with a $500 prize to the winner of each category. A panel of five judges conducted a blind ...

3-Day ‘AddamsFest’ set to Celebrate Charles Addams and His Creations This Fall

WESTFIELD, NJ — It’s creepy. It’s kooky. And it’s taking over Westfield from Oct 26 to 28. AddamsFest, a town-wide celebration honoring Westfield native Charles Addams and his most famous creations, The Addams Family, will be a destination event this fall with family-friendly activities, lectures, exhibits and film screenings, the town announced Thursday.

Watch the ...

Make the Call, Save a Life

July 10, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - There is much focus on preventative opioid abuse education. Rightfully so. However, the goal in addressing the opioid epidemic is saving lives. Even if that means just saving one life. While people are becoming increasingly aware of resources relating to rehabilitative services, support groups for friends and family of addicts, and training parents for signs of opioid and ...