In 2011, the Thiel football team suffered through a nightmarish 0-10 season.
One year later, the Tomcats made a major move in the standings. Granted their record was only 3-7, but it showed an amazing improvement from the previous year's winless streak. Included in that win total were exciting wins against rivals Westminster and Geneva.
A major reason for that Thiel turnaround was former Fitch standout Mike Rasor. The 6-foot, 1-inch, 230-pound offensive lineman was an anchor along the Tomcats line. In three years as a starter, Rasor was a rock at both the center and tackle spots. When asked about Rasor's accomplishments, Thiel head coach Kurt Reiser was not reluctant to brag about him in many ways.
"Mike Rasor is such a good person and football player," wrote Reiser in an email. "He was a very important part of our turnaround this year. He is an outstanding leader both on and off the football field."
One of the strongest areas of Thiel's team this season was its rushing game, which was proven in the numbers. The Tomcats totaled nearly 1,600 yards rushing this season averaging 128 yards rushing per contest. Rasor was a major reason for that rushing renaissance. He was named to the All-PAC Team and was a tri-captain of the Tomcats, which is an honor that is not easily earned.
"Being voted as team captain is the highest honor for a player in our program because you are voted to the position by your fellow teammates," Reiser explained. Coach Reiser then added that the reasons why Rasor was rewarded with one of the team captain designations were many.
"(Rasor's) work ethic in the classroom, on the football field and in the weight room provided a positive example to our young players," Reiser wrote. "He led by example and set the tone for us. He approached every game and practice with intensity and he demanded the same from his fellow offensive linemen."
Of course, being recognized for excellence is nothing new to Rasor who was a two-year letter winner while at Fitch. Rasor's high school coach was excited to hear about his former lineman's large year.
"(Rasor) is a tremendous player and a tremendous person," said Fitch head coach Phil Annarella. "It is hard to find better than him. I'm very happy for him."
The best thing about Rasor is that there is two of him. Well, actually Mike has a twin brother Dan who is also a member of the Thiel family. Dan Rasor has been a student assistant coach for the Tomcats football program the past four seasons so he was able to be on the field with his twin during his tenure at Thiel. Dan is also a member of the Tomcats' golf team and has decided to return to Thiel College as a football coach again in 2013. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about his twin brother who will be graduating soon. No doubt, the absence of Rasor will have an adverse affect on the upward climb of the Tomcat program.
"We will miss his leadership next season and his accomplishments on the field," said Reiser.
Although this former Fitch Falcon will leave a hole on Thiel's offensive front in 2013, it seems as if he will be never be forgotten.