Montrose grad heads to college playoffs

ROB VOLK

ROB VOLK

Montrose graduate Robert Volk is headed to the FCS playoffs Nov. 30 as a member of Sacred Heart University’s football team.

Volk, #87, is a senior majoring in Business Administration. He plays tight end for the Pioneers.

The Pioneers completed its magical run, winning the Northeast Conference Championship and a berth into the FCS playoffs following a 42-25 win over Robert Morris Saturday, Nov. 16 in Moon Township.

A year removed from a 2-9 record and a last place NEC finish, Head Coach Mark Nofri and the Pioneers will play in the FCS playoffs for the first time in program history.

“I am so excited for these kids and the work that they put in,” said Nofri following the game. “They changed the whole attitude and culture of SHU football. They guys played hard for 60 minutes and that’s all you can ask for. It was a great win today.”

Junior running back Keshaudas Spence (Dorchester, MA) ran for 111 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown. Sophomore quarterback R.J. Noel (Lowell, MA) added 74 yards on the ground on six carries, including a 35-yard TD run in the third quarter. The rookie QB completed 10 of 19 passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns.

Senior wide receiver Robert Dim (Sicklerville, NJ) caught three passes for 90 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown. Junior wide out Tyler Dube (Southington, CT) added three receptions for 63 yards and a score.

The Sacred Heart defense racked up six sacks, 12 tackles for loss, and three turnovers. Senior safety Alex Aitkens (Wood Ridge, NJ) and linebacker James Rentz (St. Augustine, FL) both snagged interceptions.
Sacred Heart will play the Fordham Rams in the first round of the FCS Playoffs Saturday, Nov. 30 at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcasted live on ESPN3.

Sacred heart and Fordham have never met on the playing field.

Coach Nofri was named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, given to the Football Championship Subdivision Coach of the Year Wednesday by The Sports Network. He led the Pioneers to a 10-2 regular season record on their way to the Northeast Conference Championship and a berth into the FCS Playoffs.

Picked to finish last in the conference after a dismal 2-9 season in 2012, Nofri and the Pioneers completed the biggest turnaround in the country this season (+8 wins), defeating teams by an average of 20 points per game. SHU had not won more than five games since 2008.

The 2013 Pioneers scored 423 points in the regular season, second most in school history and clinched the NEC Title with one week to play in the season.

Nofri was the interim coach last season, following 18 years as an assistant coach at Sacred Heart. Earlier this season, quarterback R.J. Noel (Lowell, MA) was named a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award, given to the best first-year player in the FCS.

At Montrose Area High School, Volk lettered in both football and basketball. He was named Captain of the football team and played in the Lions Club All-Star Game in 2010, and the basketball All-Star Game.

He is the son of Robert and Christine Volk, Montrose.