The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The Panthers’ secret weapon

Stone Galloway missed the first three games this season but was able to come off the bench against McNeese State to kick a game-winning field goal. (File)

The definition of a secret weapon, according to the Cambridge Dictionary is “something or someone that no one knows about and that will give you an advantage over your competitors or enemies.”

When you think of offensive weapons on the Eastern Illinois football team, you may think of starting quarterback Pierce Holley or breakout running back MJ Flowers. Maybe even receivers Justin Thomas or Eli Mirza. You probably did not think of fifth year kicker Stone Galloway. 

Excellent kickers are vital weapons for a successful football team to have. Having a good kicker can single handedly turn losses into wins. What if I told you, just one year ago, Galloway was one of the best kickers in the FCS. 

In the 2022 season, he made 11 kicks from 12 attempts. This is a 91.67% accuracy rate, which is exceptional in collegiate play. He ranked second in all of the FCS in field goal percentage by the end of the season. Galloway was named first team all OVC for his efforts. 

Galloway was excelling before 2022 as well as he went eight for 13 in 2021 and five for seven in 2020.  

The Stone Galloway hype was still alive and well coming into 2023, but warming up for his first game against Indiana State he suffered a groin injury. 

A groin injury usually takes up to six weeks to heal, but due to Eastern’s training staff, Galloway was able to play four weeks after he was injured. He came off the bench in the final seconds of the McNeese State game to heroically kick the game winning 56-yard field goal. 

 “The trainers did an amazing job with all the different rehab to get me back on the field,” Galloway said. “We even started doing a pool exercise which really helped the process. I was originally supposed to be out four to six weeks, and I was back around three weeks.” 

Galloway also added that his groin feels great and hasn’t had any issues since. 

Galloway’s production has decreased during this season. He has gone three for 11 with two blocked kicks through four games. 

Obviously, these numbers are not ideal for the team’s success, but a groin injury will limit his kicking process. The groin is one of, if not the most important body parts needed to kick a football. Any discomfort in the groin area will throw off Galloway’s performance.  

Additionally, four weeks of rehabilitation means four weeks of limited practice and work outs. It is entirely possible that Eastern is seeing a slightly rusty and out of shape Galloway kicking on Saturdays.

Panther fans could see a more polished Galloway finishing out the last three games of the season. 

Regardless of physical wellbeing, Galloway’s self-proclaimed biggest strength has always been his mental state, specifically his confidence and faith in God.

“I’d say my biggest strength as a kicker is my mindset,” Galloway said. “You have to have short memory as a kicker. And my confidence. My confidence comes from my ability but also in the fact that my ability comes from Christ. And at the end of the day make or miss, he’s bigger than all of it and my identity isn’t placed in my performance it’s placed in Him.” 

Don’t let his down season deceive you, Galloway is still a key weapon for the Panthers. He is currently sitting fourth in the points scored category. The next three games may very well be his last in his collegiate career.

Aidan Cusack can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].

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