To most members of the Harvard football team, three years of being an All-Ivy selection would mark a solid collegiate football career. For senior running back Treavor Scales, there is still more to achieve.
During Saturday’s season opener against the University of San Diego Toreros, he began to deliver for a fourth straight year, running for a career-high 173 yards and two fourth-quarter scores to lead his team to a 28-13 victory at Harvard Stadium.
The win, which was Harvard’s 12th straight in season openers, showed exactly how much is ahead for the football team, specifically for offensive power Scales.
Though Scales has been a major player for the Crimson for the entirety of his career, heavily contributing to last year’s Ivy League Championship team with 816 yards, he felt somewhat unsatisfied with his 2011 performance.
“Last season wasn’t everything that I wanted it to be,” Scales said before Saturday’s game. “I had certain expectations that I didn’t necessarily meet. So this year was a whole new approach as to how I went about preparing for games, how I went about preparing for practice, and how I go about just enjoying every moment of the season.”
Sluggish in the first three quarters, the offense finally rose with strong blocking by senior center Jack Holuba and the offensive line, which allowed Scales’ finesse and tact to shine.
“Those guys have been together for such a long time, we’ve built a rapport,” Scales said. “They continue to get better and better.... It’s great to have an experienced group up front.”
With just nine and a half minutes to go, senior quarterback Colton Chapple began a drive that would lead to the first of two Crimson touchdowns in a five-minute span. First, two completions to junior wide receivers Ricky Zorn and Andrew Berg pushed Harvard to San Diego’s 39-yard line. Then, Scales closed the drive with a series of short rushes to the end zone.The score put Harvard ahead, 21-13. To seal the win, the home team needed simply to retain possession and fend off the Toreros’ offense. But Scales wanted more.
His next touchdown came shortly after, at the 4:27 mark, on a career-high 66-yard charge.
“[Chapple] said, ‘Guys, one first down and we got the game,’” Scales recalled after the game. “And I looked at him in his face and said, ‘No, we’re scoring a touchdown.’”
Scales delivered his promise on the first play of the drive. Running right, Scales saw nothing but green grass ahead of him as the only cornerback in his vicinity had his focus on Berg.
“When it opens up like that you’ve got to take advantage of the opportunity, and as long as we keep that attack mode on as an offense, we’re going to be successful,” he said.
That attack mode will be key as Scales and the Crimson begin Ivy League play next week at Brown. His play this weekend proved that he has the power to electrify his team towards a win, having set multiple personal records in just one game when his team needed a standout performance. Scales averaged 9.1 yards per carry on his 19 carries, a new career-high.
Last season Scales averaged 4.8 yards per carry on 170 rushes and scored eight touchdowns. The backfield stability he provided earned him second team All-Ivy honors.
Even after an impressive junior campaign that ended with a historic win over Yale and an Ivy title, Scales came back and worked to improve his game in the offseason.
“Treavor is preparing to have without a doubt his best season here. His strength has increased a lot.... And obviously, this being his fourth year playing and basically starting, he has a really good grasp of the offense,” senior tight end Kyle Juszczyk said before the game. “He’s not only a great running back, he takes a lot of pride in his pass-blocking abilities out there, just leveling defensive linemen.”
Scales appeared in fine form Saturday, and he will need to be if Harvard is to claim the second straight Ivy championship as projected before the season began.
Coach Tim Murphy showed no doubts that the senior will be able to live up to expectations.
“When healthy, [Scales is] the most complete back in the league and a proven four year player,” he said.
As Chapple echoed, “He can do it all."