By BRIAN FABRY
You can’t keep Walter Rosher down.
Rosher, a senior running back for Old Rochester, missed more than half of the 2021 season with a broken collarbone. Toss in the COVID-19 season, and Rosher has been battling uphill to be on the field for the past two years. But he made sure opponents, teammates and coaches knew he was back with a vengeance.
Last week, in his comeback game, Rosher rushed for 162 yards and four touchdowns on only 20 carries in a 34-20 victory over Bishop Stang in the season opener for the Bulldogs.
“Pregame jitters for sure, but once I got in there on the first play, it all came back, it felt good to me and I picked up where I left off,” said Rosher. “Each player on the team was pushing me but Jackson Martin, he’s a fullback with me and is a good friend of mine, he had a great attitude to get me back — we can make it a great season.”
In the months prior to the big road triumph, Bulldogs head coach Bryce Guilbeault had a conversation with the senior captain and his family.
“I talked to his mom, his dad, and Walter and (Walter) was upset with the way the season ended. He was having a great year, but then the broken collarbone,” said Guilbeault. “Once he was cleared to go, I told him he needed to hit the weight room to gain back what he lost. He is much stronger than he ever was and was maniacal about it all offseason.”
Rosher did not disappoint the coaching staff as he went from a stitch under 180 pounds to 205 to start his final year on the gridiron.
“I would say it was rough and frustrating at times, especially not being able to play and be with my team,” said Rosher. “I was always looking forward and putting in the work, trying to stay healthy, and make a good season out of this.”
Going back to the COVID-19 season, Rosher started off with an injured hamstring, but rattled off two excellent games to lift the Bulldogs to the South Coast Conference championship game. The campaign was only six games long, but before kickoff, the varsity rookie sophomore was diagnosed with the virus and ruled out for the game.
In 2021, Old Rochester won the SCC title and Rosher was able to contribute 900-plus yards on the ground along with nine touchdowns, but fell to the injury bug again midway to the title with damage to his collarbone.
“We had guys step up and it certainly helps the depth coming into the season, but Walter was only able to play like four games and losing him kind of changed things as the season went on,” said Guilbeault.
Expectations are higher this season for Old Rochester after last season ended with a tough 21-14 loss to Pentucket in the Div. 5 quarterfinals. Somerset Berkley will be formidable for SCC supremacy this season.
“Looking forward to the season, great team, great set of guys. Big hopes as I think we can make it very far and the end goal is to win every game. That’s how I look at it,” said Rosher. “But it’s game by game and we try not to look too far and focus on what is next for us.”
What is next is another road trip in a nonleague game Friday night against Dartmouth (1-1).
The sky’s the limit for Rosher, and his head coach knows this is just the beginning.
“Walter was certainly frustrated with last season, but he is a competitor,” said Guilbeault. “He always knew he would have his moment and we are excited to see it and I know he’s excited to show everyone he’s back.”
NAME: Walter Rosher
SCHOOL: Old Rochester Regional High School
AGE: 18 (Sept. 2)
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6-1, 205 pounds
POSITION: Running back; inside linebacker
FAMILY: Dad (Walter Jr.), Mom (Cynthia); Siblings: Trinity, Corey Karlberg; Rachael Karlberg; Kayla Mellor; Kaitlyn Mellor.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Senior captain for this season; two-sport athlete, runs track in the spring.
FAVORITE PERSONAL MOMENT IN SPORTS: Celebrating a touchdown
FAVORITE COURSE IN SCHOOL: Architectural Design
LEAST FAVORITE COURSE IN SCHOOL: English
FAVORITE PIGOUT FOOD: Lasagna
FAVORITE TV SHOW: Peaky Blinders
FAVORITE MOVIE: I Am Legend
FAVORITE MUSICIAN: Sleepy Hollow
FAVORITE VIDEO GAME: Call of Duty — Modern Warfare
FAVORITE SMARTPHONE APP: Spotify
FAVORITE TWITTER ACCOUNT TO FOLLOW: Old Rochester Football – @OldRochesterFB
FAVORITE PRO TEAM: New England Patriots
FAVORITE ATHLETE: Devin McCourty
HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR A GAME: Try to hydrate, tend to eat smaller meals, more snacks, talk with coaches and players on game plan. Get into a game mindset.
IF YOU COULD BE SOMEONE ELSE FOR A DAY, WHO WOULD IT BE: Bill Belichick
CAREER AMBITIONS: College, would love to play football at the next level.