Geneva graduate Pace Temple has hit a pair of special milestones this season as part of the Butler University football team.
Temple, a junior wide receiver, went over the 100-career catch mark in a game earlier this season against the University of San Diego. In that contest, Temple caught 8 passes for 155 yards and had 2 touchdowns.
But Temple topped that by surpassing the career 2,000-yard mark in the team's most recent game against Dayton. There, Temple snagged 7 passes for 126 yards.
In 3-plus seasons of action at Butler, Temple has 128 catches for 2,065 yards and 13 touchdowns. Just this year, he has 49 catches for 873 yards and 4 touchdowns. He has four 100-yard receiving performances this season and seven for his career. Temple's 873 yards this fall rank eighth among Football Championship Subdivision teams. He had a career-high 156 yards against Franklin on Sept. 9.
Temple's 97.0 receiving yards per game and 17.8 yards per reception rank first and second respectively in the conference.
"I'm not doing too much differently," he said. "I put a lot of focus on the offseason with working hard and trying to expand my game. I'm more confident this year with the playbook and my ability and how I go about the game week with film and breaking all that down."
Temple noted he didn't start playing the sport until the seventh grade.
"I'm still learning every year," he said. "I'm fortunate that I have a great group of guys here pushing me and helping me grow as much as I can."
Temple said he doesn't pay too much attention to the numbers he puts up each week.
"It's awesome and it's a great feat," he said of surpassing the 100-career-catch barrier in only 3-plus seasons. "I didn't really know I had it until a few days after. I don't look at that too much. I try to focus on the scoreboard and hopefully it says the Bulldogs are ahead. All of those numbers go back to quarterback Will Marty and all the previous quarterbacks I've played with and to the offensive lines that have done a great job blocking. I am proud of the numbers and hopefully I can continue to add to them."
Temple had no idea that he'd already surpassed 2,000 career receiving yards. "Again, I try not to focus on that stuff too much during the year," he said.
What is not lost on Temple is the fact he's able to play football at an NCAA Division I institution.
"It's a blessing and an incredible opportunity," he said. "I'm able to play football here and go to a school where I'm getting a great education while I do it. This has been the goal since I was a kid. I didn't know if it was going to be football, but I wanted to play sports in college at the Division I level or as high as I could go. This is a dream come true just like the cliché. Doing this has been in my head a long time. I've worked hard and have been able to get here and it's a great feeling. I also know the work never stops because this is one of my greatest passions. I love every minute of it."
Temple has a double major of marketing and finance. "I'd like to something business-related and hopefully do something that will pay some bills after college," he said.
Temple also was candid with his thoughts about trying to play the sport at the professional level.
"I would absolutely love to try it," he said. "I'm still having fun playing football. I'm extremely passionate about it. I want to be the best I can. As a 21-year-old with two games left this season and all of next season, that doesn't sound like much football left to play. Playing a few more years sounds better than sitting behind a desk. I'm still passionate and I know I still have to work extremely hard and then we will see what happens. I'm not naive about this. I understand it is a longshot for somebody that has taken a different path like me. But I'm confident in my abilities and if the man upstairs has a plan for me, I'm going to keep giving it my best effort."
Taormina at Minnesota State: Justin Taormina is another Geneva gridiron alum having a strong run at the college level. Taormina is a redshirt freshman running back on the Division II Minnesota State squad that is 9-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country heading into Saturday's contest against Wayne State. Through 9 games, Taormina has 723 rushing yards and has scored 8 touchdowns.
Aurora University Hall of Fame: A number of Fox Valley high-school alums recently were enshrined into the Aurora University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Rosary graduate Therese Plachetka Nelson, a softball and volleyball standout at Aurora, received her award from Aurora associate athletic director Nicole Pieart. Plachetka Nelson is an associate principal at Lyons Township High School. She led Aurora to the NCAA Division III Final Four in 1982 in softball.
West Aurora product Corey Breyne, a 1998 alum and baseball star, was inducted by Aurora baseball coach Adam Stevens. Breyne is a two-time all-American and four-time all-conference selection and remains the baseball program's all-time hits leader with 235. He was once featured in Sports Illustrated for his NCAA Division III record for consecutive games with at least one hit (46). He teaches physical education and coaches at a south-suburban Palos Hills middle school.
Bartczyszyn at Louisiana: Cary-Grove product Jess Bartczyszyn is a redshirt senior setter on the University of Louisiana women's volleyball team that as of press time was 17-9 overall and in first place in the Sun Belt Conference with a 10-2 mark.
Bartczyszyn has played in 99 sets (24 matches started) and has 958 assists (9.68 per set) to go with 64 kills, a .318 hitting percentage and 14 aces, along with 202 digs.
O'Reilly at Austin Peay: Another local having success on the volleyball court is Burlington Central graduate Allie O'Reilly, who is a senior libero on the Austin Peay squad. Through Friday, O'Reilly had played in 104 sets and had 328 digs (second on team). She was averaging 3.15 digs per set and had 24 services aces. O'Reilly's play has helped Clarksville, Tenn.-based Austin Peay to a 24-4 overall mark and an 11-1 record in Ohio Valley Conference play.
Off at College wants your help: Send information and/or statistics on Fox Valley-area athletes playing collegiately to Mike Miazga at email@example.com.