When it’s time to finally hang up the cleats, every athlete who steps onto a playing field dreams about going out on top.
On Saturday afternoon, that’s exactly what Harvard running back Treavor Scales did.
The senior capped his collegiate career with his best-ever performance, rushing for a career-high 177 yards in the 129th edition of The Game against archrival Yale.
And Scales’ last-ever carry was one he will never forget.
With just over a minute to go and Harvard clinging to a one-score lead, the Crimson faced a third-and-13 that it needed to convert in order to avoid punting the ball back to its opponent. Harvard turned to Scales, who found a hole between center and right guard and exploded down the right sideline for a 63-yard score that gave Harvard its sixth-straight victory over the Bulldogs.
At the end of the run, Scales triumphantly raised both arms high in the air and let it all sink in during the split-second before he was mobbed by his teammates.
“All of those sentiments, all of those ‘thank yous’ you can’t express on a daily basis, that’s what was going through my head,” Scales said. “I just had so many things to be thankful for and it all just [hit me], right there.”
The run marked the culmination of a senior season in which the halfback reached the 1,000 yards plateau for the first time, averaged 6.0 yards per carry, and led the Ancient Eight in rushing yards and touchdowns 13.
“It’s been a heck of a ride,” Scales said. “Everything [fell] into place for me. This season, the stats weren’t a result of individual effort. It was clearly something that involved everybody on that offense and the coaching staff as well.”
The impressive season capped a decorated career for Scales and cemented his name in the Harvard record book. The senior’s 1,002 yards this year was the tenth-highest total in program history, and his career total of 2,823 places him fourth on the Crimson’s all-time rushing list. Meanwhile, Scales’ 13 rushing touchdowns were the third-most in a Harvard single season and his 29 career rushing scores are tied for the second-most in team history.
“[Scales] is an inspirational player,” Harvard coach Tim Murphy said. “He’s just a first-class kid who’s had a tremendous career.”
The rise to the top has been a steady one for the running back who was the Ancient Eight Rookie of the Year in 2009 and was named second-team All-Ivy League in each of his first three seasons despite playing the first two of those years behind star Gino Gordon.
And as he shined on the field, Scales also continued to lead off his teammates off of it.
“He’s a guy that so many players on our team look up to,” Murphy said. “He’s an emotional guy, he’s a fiery guy, and he’ll back it up. He’s such a fierce competitor and he has the respect of everyone.”
That much was on clear display during a senior season Scales bookended with his two best performances, beginning with a 19-carry, 173-yard, two-touchdown game against San Diego. He followed that up with 136 yards and a career-high four scores in a 45-31 win over Brown and hit the century mark in the squad’s next two Ivy contests—against Cornell and Princeton—as well.