Shore Sports Network Offensive Player of the Year: Rumson’s Charlie Volker
It was a year of firsts for Rumson-Fair Haven, and junior tailback Charlie Volker was a primary reason.
Volker, who has been selected at the Shore Sports Network Offensive Player of the Year, became the first Bulldogs running back to ever pass the 2,000-yard rushing mark for a season when he finished first in the Shore Conference and second in New Jersey with a school-record 2,108 yards and 24 touchdowns in his first year as the starting tailback. His performance helped the Bulldogs win the Central Jersey Group II title in their first season under Bryan Batchler, who was in his first year as a head coach after previously serving as an assistant under head coach Shane Fallon, the program's career leader in wins.
Selected as the Class A Central Co-Offensive Player of the Year by the coaches, Volker helped the Bulldogs win their second state sectional title in four seasons, rushing for 93 yards and a touchdown in a 14-6 win in Central Jersey Group II over a Weequahic team that entered undefeated and allowing under three points per game. Rumson also won 11 games for the first time in school history.
“It was definitely inch by inch,” Volker said. “But we fought for it, and we earned it.”
In the semifinals against Rahway, he ran for a single-game school record 314 yards and four touchdowns, including an 80-yard touchdown run with six seconds left in the game that gave Rumson a 28-21 win. He ran for more than 100 yards in 10 of 12 games to become the Shore's first 2,000-yard rusher since Manalapan's John Sieczkowski and Central's Kalyph Hardy did it in 2011.
Volker returns as the Shore Conference's top running back next season, when he has a chance to become only the second running back in Shore history to have back-to-back 2,000-yard seasons, matching the feat of Keyport's Ken Cattouse, the Shore's all-time leading rusher, in 2002-03.