Penncrest defensive back Brent Roller, left, breaks up a desperate 4th down pass play intended for Springfield’s Dan Dickinson.
Penncrest defensive back Brent Roller, left, breaks up a desperate 4th down pass play intended for Springfield's Dan Dickinson. (Robert J. Gurecki)

MIDDLETOWN — Joe Volciak had probably the best high school football game of his life and all he did afterward was shower praise on his Penncrest teammates.

"The offensive line did a great job opening lanes all night with giving me the room to run,' said the senior fullback/receiver/defensive end. "(Quarterback Dan) Fisher, (running backs Rashad) Johnson and Justin Batipps are all great players, and I'm just glad I could help.'

Volciak was very charitable with his kudos Friday night, but his acts of kindness stopped there. As far as Springfield is concerned, he was a pretty mean dude.

Volciak was a two-way machine, rushing for 65 yards and hauling in a 26-yard play-action pass from Fisher for a touchdown. On defense, Volciak registered a handful of tackles in the Lions' convincing 19-6 Central League victory over the Cougars.

Penncrest running back Joe Volciak, center, tries to shake off Springfield defenders John Ferguson, left, and Ricky Sterling.
Penncrest running back Joe Volciak, center, tries to shake off Springfield defenders John Ferguson, left, and Ricky Sterling. (Robert J. Gurecki)

It was a historic win for Penncrest, which is 5-0 (4-0 Central League) for the first time since 1964.

"It's an awesome feeling to be 5-0,' lineman William "Buddy' Moat said. "It's because of all the hard work we've put in from the first day.'

Speaking of awesome, Volciak appeared to be the forgotten man out of the backfield. He took a misdirection or counter 23 yards to set up the Lions' first touchdown in the second quarter. He also had a run of 26 yards in the first half.

"We saw that their safeties were biting on the run,' said Volciak, referencing the Lions' ability to amass big chunks of yardage with a few surprises out of the backfield. "We just have the will to win right now. We're tired of losing here.'


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Volciak is another weapon opposing defenses will have to account for going forward. A fast, downhill runner, Volciak was difficult to track down in open space. That was evident on the touchdown reception. Fisher faked a handoff to Volciak, who sprinted up the middle of the field and was left wide open for an easy six points.

"(Volciak) has probably been our most valuable player,' coach Rick Stroup said. "He's been playing awesome. He probably leads the county in sacks, averaging about two or three a game. I don't know if he had any tonight, but he got a lot of pressure.'

Springfield’s Chris Mallee, right, is about to be tackled by Penncrest’s Joe Volciak, left.
Springfield's Chris Mallee, right, is about to be tackled by Penncrest's Joe Volciak, left. (Robert J. Gurecki)

Off to their best start the Lyndon Johnson Administration, the Lions are flying high... and, wow, they're defense is fun to watch. Volciak was far from the only standout. There is Moat, a 5-8, 250 rock-solid tackle, linebackers Diego Zubieta and John George, and junior end Andrew Benecke, all of whom helped solidify a rush defense that gave up 27 yards on 31 carries. In the secondary, save for one busted coverage that resulted in a 35-yard reception by Springfield's James Harris, the Lions' DBs were stellar. Angelo Lochetto had an interception of Cougars sophomore quarterback Charlie Carbin (5-for-12, 58 yards)..

Penncrest showed again Friday night why it owns the top-ranked defense in Delaware County. Averaging a paltry 124.25 yards per outing entering the game, the Lions limited the Cougars to 85 total yards of offense.

The Lions should have had their third shutout of the year, but a questionable decision on fourth down, deep in their zone in the waning moments of regulation, gave Springfield's offense excellent field position. Brian Allen took a snap from out of the shotgun and ran into the end zone from five-yards out with 1:29 to go.

John George caught his first touchdown pass of the season to give Penncrest a 19-0 lead. Fisher was an efficient 14-for-21 with 110 yards, working around two first-quarter picks.