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Courtesy: WMU

#Waldo75 Day 9: Many Happy Returns

Courtesy: Nathan Palcowski, Staff Writer
Release: 08/01/2013
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The players on day nine truly have been special to Waldo Stadium over the past 75 years. These players have made their impact on special teams.  Here are the rest of the top 10 season-leading punt returns in venue history.

  • Wesley Cates (89 vs. Bowling Green, 9/28/74) – ranked No. 2

Cates scampered through the Falcons special teams for an 89-yard punt return touchdown back in 1974. At the time, Cates was the school record holder for longest punt return and is now ranked third in WMU history. With the touchdown Cates made the score 14-13, but with a missed extra point and then the Falcons offense scoring, WMU ended up losing the game, 21-13.

  • Steve Neal (84 vs. Kent State, 10/18/97) – ranked No. 3

Neal’s 84-yard punt return for a touchdown in 1997 against Kent State is still top five in WMU history for longest punt returns. The touchdown return just five minutes into the fourth quarter was the last of the 27 consecutive points WMU scored. The Broncos took care of the Golden Flashes, 50-27.

  • Leslie Gratton (83 vs. Washington, 10/21/50) – ranked No. 4

Going all the way back to 1950, Gratton had an 80-yard punt return that set up the first touchdown of the day for the Broncos against Washington. Gratton had three returns for 112 yards on the day in a 26-7 win over Washington, and his 80-yard return was then a school record.

  • Wesley Cates (82 vs. Ball State, 11/10/73) – ranked No. 5

Cates cracks the top 10 list again with his 82-yard punt return for a touchdown against Ball State in 1973. His punt return came early in the second quarter that set up the 10-0 halftime lead for the Broncos. WMU then went on to beat Ball State, 30-13. Cates overall had five returns for 105 yards.

  • Josh Bush (73 vs. Central Michigan, 11/11/00) – ranked No. 6

Bush completed a 73-yard punt return for a touchdown just two minutes into the fourth quarter against rival Central Michigan back in 2000. Bush helped the Broncos take their only lead of the game early in the fourth quarter before falling to the Chippewas, 21-17. Bush finished the day with 106 yards on seven returns.

  • Dave Hallabrin (70 vs. Illinois State, 9/11/71) – tied No. 7

Hallabrin helped the Broncos blow the lead wide open against Illinois State in 1971. Hallabrin’s 70-yard punt return for a touchdown with two minutes left in the third quarter sparked a 21-7 lead for the Broncos. WMU then went on to score two more times in a 35-7 win over Illinois State. Hallabrin ended the day with 91 yards on three returns and also helped in the receiving game having two receptions for 20 yards.

  • John Morton (70 vs. Akron, 9/07/91)- tied No. 7

Morton was able to weave around Akron defenders before being taken down for a 70-yard punt return back in 1991. The return early in the second quarter helped the Broncos secure a 21-6 halftime lead over the Zips. Morton helped WMU defeat Akron 35-12 to improve its record to 2-0.

  • Robert Mellen (69 vs. Alma, 9/22/45)- ranked No. 9

Way back when Robert Mellen was returning 69-yard punt returns for touchdowns against Alma College in 1945. Mellen’s return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter helped secure the Broncos’ victory, 21-13. Mellen had 95 return yards on four returns and was a part of a 201 total yard day for WMU.

  • Kendrick Mosley (67 vs. Central Michigan, 11/23/02) –ranked No. 10

Mosley’s 67-yard punt return for a touchdown was the only score in the fourth quarter for the Broncos against Central Michigan in 2002. The return halfway through the fourth quarter put the game out of reach for the Chippewas in a 35-13 Bronco win. The return touchdown was Mosley’s second of the season.

#Waldo75- Bronco fans, this season we are celebrating the 75th season of football at Waldo Stadium. Be sure to submit your favorite memory and/or the greatest moment in stadium history on or on twitter @WMU_Football using the hash tag #Waldo75 on either platform. The top 10 fan submitted moments will be unveiled on Oct.7, the exact day that WMU opened Waldo Stadium with a 6-0 win over Miami 75 years ago.