ON A MISSION
Stancavage overcomes injuries to lead Northwest into District 2 postseason.
Jack Stancavage was a bit apprehensive. After participating in approximately 10 plays on opening night this year against North Penn-Mansfield, the Northwest senior fullback wasn’t sure if he wanted to report with the rest of the team the following Monday.
He took the weekend to think about it, talked it over with his father and the Northwest coaches. The apprehensiveness was still there, but Stancavage figured hewould give it another shot.
Now the fear is gone and tonight, he’ll play an integral role as the Rangers host Lackawanna Trail in the District 2 Class A championship game.
Stancavage’s concerns had nothing to do with his ability or playing time. It had to do with his right knee. He tore its ACL twice in back-to-back seasons.
The first was a contact injury while working on the scout team halfway through his sophomore season. The second injury came on a non-contact play during a scrimmage the week before the start of his junior season.
Both injuries required surgery and a lengthy recovery process.
“The first one, one of the other guys fell on me and my knee bent up to my face,” Stancavage said. “The second one we were scrimmaging Athens. I don’t know what happened. I went to cut and my knee buckled and I went right to the ground.”
Stancavage didn’t know his ACL was torn during his sophomore year and played half the season with the injury. With the second injury, he had surgery threeweeks later.
“It took a little over a year to return to football activities after the second one,” Stancavage said. “It was so much tougher than the first one. After the first one, everything kind of felt like it recovered quicker. The second one, I was out of commission for a fewweeks.”
Stancavage admitted that he did think about giving up football all together.
“After the second one it did run through my mind,” Stancavage said. “I was thinking that it happened again and was it worth it. I thought about what if I tore it again, what am I going to do? About a month later I figured I may as well keep going and give it one more shot.”
Northwest coach Lon Hazlet was more than happy to have Stancavage back for his senior year. Though he missed all of his junior season, Hazlet knew that Stancavage had the drive to get back on the field.
The coaching staff monitored Stancavage’s workload closely. When he reported to the weight room he initially squatted and used the leg press machine without any weight. When he ran, the staff watched, and if the knee was bothering him or something didn’t look right, they backed him off a bit.
Slowly but surely, the strength in the knee began to return.
“We didn’t play him in our scrimmage. He played a limited basis on opening night,” Hazlet said. “The second week we increased him a bitmore. After that he came to me and told me he wanted to play a little more. We eased him in sowe had a comfort level. He started playing more and we were giving him the ball a bit. He has made a world of difference for us.”
Stancavage has carried the ball in eight games, rushing for 171 yards and four touchdowns. He averages 4.9 yards per carry. But his primary role is opening the holes for tailback Jake Anderson, who has rushed for 1,416 yards and 14 touchdowns.
“I was a little apprehensive at the beginning of the process,” Stancavage said. “As practice went on I got a feel for it. The first game I was really afraid.
“The first game I played a bit in the beginning but took myself out. After playing more it felt good and I could see it was working. It hurt a bit but nothing major. That comes with the territory when you have two surgeries. From the second game until nowthere are no worries. I feel great.”
Northwest fullback Jack Stancavage plays an integral role for the Rangers after tearing his right ACL in back-to-back seasons.