By Dave Morrison
It was one of the true highlight plays of the year.
Woodrow Wilson’s Jace Colucci took the punt at his own 15, found a seam and jetted own the home sideline before cutting back toward the middle of the field. At about the 25-yard line he leaped a George Washington defender – jumped right over him – and went unimpeded into the end zone.
Cut the highlight reel.
Not necessarily so for the star of the short film.
No, his an almost equally athletic play again the same George Washington team in a game where he caught four passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns. A scrambling McMillen found Colucci in full stride at about the 25-yard line and he out-raced the defense for an 89-yard touchdown.
“I just caught it and took off and it was like I caught another gear,” Colucci said. “The punt return would definitely tie for second but I believe the one where I came across the field and Maddex (QB Maddex McMillen) rolled out and caught me, I thought that was the best one because I stayed with the play.”
Colucci recently signed to continue his football career at Glenville State.
For the season Colucci caught 29 passes for 558 yards and seven touchdowns. He averaged 19.2 yards per reception.
Colucci started his career at Westside in Clear Fork but transferred to Woodrow Wilson this season.
“When I came up here I bought into the program and coach (Street) Sarrett and coach (Dave) Ray and all the coaches brought me in and were like ‘if you actually want to play you’ve got to do what you have to do.’ That just pushed me harder and I ended up having a better season than I thought I would at Woodrow Wilson.”
Colucci’s output was not a surprise to McMillen.
“At practice we could see how fast he was and what kind of athlete he was so it didn’t really surprise me,” McMillen said. “Jace is a really good player and fun to play with him and it was a great experience.”
Fellow receiver Keynan Cook called Colucci “a leader.”
“His senior leadership helped a lot,” Cook said. “He had experience over all of us, him being a senior.”
When it came to making a choice of colleges it was another tough decision but the Pioneers ended up being the clear-cut winner.
“Glenville’s coaches seem very serious about what they do,” Colucci said. “They made me feel like family, like I wasn’t just there for sports, that I was here at an actual home, that I could call this place home. So Glenville seemed like a great option for me.”
Understand that Colucci was a man with options. The University of Charleston was reportedly interested in Colucci as a track and football athlete. There was a possibility he could parlay his basketball skills into the a next-level career.
In fact, it was the basketball route Colucci always thought he would take.
“Growing up I always tied to make myself believe that I liked basketball more than football,” Colucci said. “As I got older I started to realize how good of a football player I truly was. I’m not saying I was a bad basketball player or anything like that, I just feel I’m more versatile as a football player.”
It is that versatility that will serve Colucci well at the next level, where he can line up at different receiver positions and can also be a standout on special teams.
He has had five return touchdowns in his last 13 high school games.