Williams’ kids are all right

Sunday October 17, 2010

WILLIAMSTOWN

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary doesn’t run photographs

with all of its definitions. Were it to run photos with the

definition of “precocious,” don’t be surprised to see pictures of

Alex Scyocurka and Darren Hartwell with it.

By definition, precocious is either “exceptionally early in

development or occurrence,” or “exhibiting mature qualities at an

unusually early age.” However you define it, both Scyocurka and

Hartwell have made themselves into key cogs for the offense of the

Williams

College

football team.

Scyocurka is especially precocious. He’s a freshman running back

from Longmeadow who was a standout at Longmeadow High School and

Phillips Exeter Academy.

Former Williams coach Mike Whalen said Scyocurka had talent, but

one had to wonder how much he’d get on the field with 2009’s top

running back in NESCAC, Ryan Lupo, back for his senior year.

All Scyocurka has done is provide an outside threat to Lupo’s

more between-the-tackles run game. And on Saturday, the freshman

rushed for 128 net yards on only 11 carries. It included a 59-yard

touchdown run, the longest by a Williams running back since Kevin

Flynn went 65 yards against Wesleyan in 2007.

“It’s a good feeling to finally break the ice. It’s a big

transition from high school to

college,” Sycocurka said after the

game, “It can be frustrating at first, trying to mesh things up and

get the timing down with the line.

“When you break out that first big touchdown and get that

100-yard game, it’s a good feeling to get that behind you and

hopefully there will be more to come.”

Scyocurka came into the game having rushed for 150 yards in

three contests, good for a 4.4-yard per carry average. He was

certainly Sundance to Lupo’s Butch Cassidy. Saturday was

Scyocurka’s day in the spotlight.

His 59-yard touchdown run was a thing to behold. Scyocurka took

the handoff from Pat Moffitt and followed his blockers down the

right sideline.

“We had our wide receivers spread out to the right which was

basically an off-tackle to the right [play],” the freshman

recalled. “It was supposed to go inside the tackle. I was just

patient, everyone came crashing inside and I was able to dip it

outside. Our receivers are so big, they bullied their cornerbacks.

There was that big seam, I saw it and I busted through it. It’s

easy when the line makes holes like that.”

Hartwell is a sophomore, but when it comes to his Williams

football career, he’s not much more

experienced than Scyocurka. Hartwell didn’t catch a pass as a

freshman and the 6-foot-3 receiver from North Reading only caught

one pass in the 2010 opener.

Hartwell’s abilities were on full display one week later when he

caught 5 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns in Williams’ win

over Trinity. He hasn’t stopped as he now has 448 yards receiving

on 15 catches.

Hartwell caught touchdown passes of 83 and 89 yards against

Trinity. His 92-yard TD catch on Saturday was 3 yards shy of the

school record as Matt Student caught a 95-yard scoring pass from

Sean Keenan in 1999.

“It’s definitely a big psychological boost,” Hartwell said of

his catch. “We wanted to come out firing. It was big for us,

getting our offense going.”

Unless he doesn’t play in the final four Williams games, it is

likely that Hartwell will etch his name into the record books. His

3 touchdown catches ties the school record for most touchdown

catches in a game. It’s the second time Hartwell has done that and

he joins four other players.

Two more touchdown passes and Hartwell will own the record. Ryan

Friend, Class of 2003, caught 8 TD passes that year.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Hartwell said. “Our offense has really

been clicking. Pat Moffitt has been having a great start to the

year. Hopefully we can keep it up.”

Spoken like a precocious Williams

football player.