Suffering Injury that Sidelined Him for Senior Season, PHS Quarterback Doran Primed for Sunshine Game
ONE MORE SHOT: Vince Doran prepares to pass for the Princeton High football team during the 2016 season. Last fall, Doran’s senior season was cut short when he broke his collarbone on his first play in the season opener. This Friday, Doran will get a chance to get back on the field as he plays for the West squad in the Sunshine Football Classic at The College of New Jersey. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
As Vince Doran took the field last August in the season opener for the Princeton High football team, he was poised for a big senior campaign.
Coming off a superb junior campaign that saw the lefty quarterback throw 16 touchdown passes, Doran believed he could build on that success.
“We were feeling good,” said Doran. “We had four out of five guys returning on the line so it was really a lot of confidence.”
But on his first play from scrimmage against Hamilton, Doran got sacked and fell hard on his left shoulder.
“I broke my collarbone on the first play, it felt pretty surreal in the moment,” said Doran.
“It was a broken play, getting hit out of nowhere, trying to come up, and something feels weird. Playing Pop Warner and all of that stuff, I never broke a bone or anything, not even in high school, no injuries. At first I didn’t think it was real and then Ms. Koch [PHS trainer Shannon Koch] took a look at it and it was oh wow, oh man.”
The injury ended Doran’s senior season and appeared to be the end of his football career. This Friday, though, Doran will get an unexpected chance for one more game as he was added to the West squad for the 22nd Sunshine Football Classic at The College of New Jersey.
“Another quarterback dropped out and coach [Charlie] Gallagher called me up and said ‘do you want to play’ and I said ‘sure, why not, I would have more more shot,’” said Doran, who will be joined on the West roster by Adam Musa, Marqui McBride, and Moses Mahiri with Little Tiger head coach Gallagher serving as offensive coordinator.
Early in his PHS career, Doran had to wait to get his shot at quarterback as he backed up star David Beamer.
“He set a great mentality for the whole team, it was good to follow,” said Doran of Beamer. “I learned from him in all different ways. He was a good role model to look up to coming into the program.”
Branching out by playing safety as a sophomore gave Doran a different view of the game.
“It was a good experience, getting on the other side of the ball was fun,” said Doran. “It helped me gain more knowledge about the whole game.”
Doran enjoyed a good experience as took the helm of the Little Tiger offense in 2016 as a junior.
“I felt ready, it was a rebuilding year after David and Rory [Hellstrom] left,” said Doran, reflecting on the 1-9 campaign.
“We threw the ball a lot that year so that was fun. Isaac Webb, Jakob Green, and Aidan Sarafin was a good trio of receivers, I was lucky to have them. My biggest improvement was just reading defenses, knowing when to go when they were in cover 2, knowing where to throw. Coach [Joe] Gargione really helped me, learning all of that stuff junior year.”
Last fall, Doran tried to pass on some of that knowledge to freshman Jake Renda, who took over at quarterback.
“I helped Jake on sidelines during games, making sure he kept his composure and stuff like that,” said Doran. “He was a freshman and he had to step up in a really tough time for the team.”
Doran and classmates held things together through the tough times as the Little Tigers went 0-10.
“We were just trying to have fun with everything, some games were just really rough,” said Doran. “I will remember the team camaraderie, being with each other. We had to go through a lot of downs; it brought us together.”
For Doran, playing in the Sunshine Classic is a fun way to end his football career.
“It is definitely a good way to finish things off, just wrapping it up to put the cherry on top of everything,” said Doran, who is headed to the University of Mississippi.
“I couldn’t play my senior year and now I get this shot. It is just the chance to be on the field and to get to know players from the other teams and work with them.”