Three Warriors honored by PA Writers

By on January 2, 2019

Rucci selected All-State by USA Today

Warwick senior tight end Hayden Rucci took home 2018 All-USA Pennsylvania First-Team honors from USA Today High School Sports last week. Lititz Record file photos

Warwick senior tight end Hayden Rucci took home 2018 All-USA Pennsylvania First-Team honors from USA Today High School Sports last week. Lititz Record file photo

Last Friday couldn’t have gone much better for Warwick senior Hayden Rucci.

His future teammates with the Wisconsin Badgers took care of business in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, taking down the University of Miami by a 35-3 score.

Earlier, however, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end, a four-star recruit, was one of three Warrior players to be named to the Pennsylvania Football Writers’ 5A All-State Team, along with senior defensive lineman Nick Coomer, a University of Delaware recruit, and junior receiver Trey Glass.

Only 24 hours earlier, Rucci was also honored by USA Today High School Sports, which named him an All-USA Pennsylvania First-Team tight end.

“That was pretty special,” he said. “I was super pumped when I saw it and there were a couple other L-L guys on (the USA Today High School Team), so I think it’s pretty cool for the league too. And definitely, the 5A (Pennsylvania Football Writers) was another great honor.”

Warwick coach Bob Locker concurred.

“It shows how blessed we were in terms of talent that happened to come through the program,” he said, “some of it pretty much all at the same time.”

Coomer, Glass and Rucci certainly played a big part in helping the Warriors go 9-3 this fall, clinching its first Section One title since 1997 and notching their first District Three win in program history, advancing to the 5A playoff quarterfinals.

“They’re very deserving,” Locker said.

In Rucci, the Warriors had a tight end who was not only a fierce run blocker, but also someone with soft hands who hauled in 30 receptions for 646 yards (21.5 avg) and eight TDs.

“Obviously, that’s an outstanding accomplishment,” Locker said last Thursday after the USA Today selections were announced. “That ranks him essentially as the best tight end in the state of Pennsylvania, and I would agree with that. I didn’t come across anybody this year that I thought was nearly the player that he was, especially in terms of his ability to be both a run blocker and a pass receiver. I mean, he’s got tremendous hands, he knows how to separate from defenders and run good patterns, and when you combine that with somebody who has shown the willingness to be a trench blocker when called upon, those are the things that make him really special.”

Warwick’s coach said that Rucci assessed himself after each season and worked to improve.

“He’s busted his butt to get to this point in time,” Locker said.

Opposing teams’ defensive coordinators will certainly vouch for the impact he had on games.

“I’ve just been working since day one on perfecting my game at tight end in every aspect of it, with blocking and pass-catching,” said Rucci, the only tight end selected by the Pennsylvania Football Writers for All-State 5A. “And then a whole other aspect of the game, like leadership, is what I got to be more a part of this year as a captain with Coomer and (Nick) Fucci. It was a lot of fun getting that experience and learning about that.”

In all, the Warriors put up impressive stats both offensively and defensively, averaging 43.25 points and 398.5 yards per game, while surrendering an average of just 12.2 points with four shutouts.

Besides being in the trenches on offense, Coomer book-ended the D-line with Rucci, compiling a team-high 112 tackle points and four sacks. He was also named Section One’s Defensive Lineman of the Year and Outstanding Lineman of the Year.

“Nick’s just a stud football player,” Locker said. “He’s got a motor that just goes. All three (Nick, Evan and Hayden), as well as many other players on our team, the work ethic that they’ve demonstrated in the weight room, in the off-season, that’s how we had the success we did. But Nick’s just relentless in what he does.”

Coomer, one of four defensive linemen named All-State 5A, also has scary quickness for a 6-foot-4, 285-pound lineman.

“Oh man, he’s fast for being that big,” Locker said. “I think Delaware got a bargain.”

Quickness isn’t something that Glass lacks either.

That was a big quality which helped him shatter Zach Snyder’s single-season program record for receiving yards in a season, grabbing 74 catches for 1,326 yards (17.9 avg) and 15 TDs.

Section One’s Wide Receiver of the Year also set a new L-L record in the Warriors’ big 38-12 win over Wilson, finishing with 261 receiving yards and two TDs on five catches. He was one of five receivers who earned All-State 5A honors.

“Trey is just unbelievably elusive,” Locker said. “You put a ball in his hands and magical stuff happens sometimes. His elusiveness is … I haven’t really seen anybody like that come through our program before. I mean, we’ve had lots of good athletes. He brings a slightly different dimension to the game. He’s a hard working kid, very humble. It’s just really pretty cool to see.”

“I also need to point out that all these things happen because of their teammates as well,” he added. “as far as people getting the ball to Trey and Hayden. But they’re unbelievably deserving.”

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