Maybe Charlie Volker should be nicknamed the Rumson Rocket.
Volker rocketed 80 yards for a touchdown with 6.8 seconds left in regulation, giving Rumson-Fair Haven a 28-21 victory over Rahway in the NJSIAA Central Group II semifinals Friday night.
Volker sped up the right sideline and cut across the field. He completed his dash with a sprint up the left sideline as the Bulldogs’ fans roared their approval. Junior Connor Kelly capped the scoring with his fourth extra point.
“When you have big guys out there, they open the holes,” said Volker, who shredded the Indians for 306 yards and four touchdowns on 32 carries. “I tried to make one cut and I was gone. I didn’t want to go into overtime. The counter (play) worked all night. I stiff-armed a guy and did a backside run.”
Rumson took over at its 20-yard line with 22.7 seconds remaining after a Rahway punt. Volker staged his heroics on the next play.
The top-seeded Bulldogs (10-0) will meet Weequahic, a 34-0 winner over Lakewood, in the championship game either Dec. 6 or 7 at a site to be announced.
Volker was the toast of Borden Stadium after the game.
His teammates chanted, “Charlie, Charlie,” as they raced to their postgame huddle on the field, their fists jabbing at the air. Rumson’s cheerleaders formed a reception line for him as he headed toward his team’s locker room. Fans chanted, “R-F-H, R-F-H,” as Volker made his way toward the locker room.
Volker sped for 130 yards and two touchdowns on 17 first-half carries. He’s a 6-foot, 185-pound junior. Not even occasional showers on a 50-degree night could slow the sensational speedster.
Fourth-seeded Rahway (7-3) had one last chance to score. The Indians, however, fumbled the kickoff and Rumson junior Tucker Briggs recovered near the Rahway 40-yard line, ending the game.
Rahway pulled to within 21-20 with 3:15 left in the fourth quarter on a 17-yard scoring pass from senior quarterback Jeffery Bost to senior wide receiver Thorne Roberts on fourth and nine. A wide open Roberts caught the ball in the end zone. Freshman Jonathan Torres kicked his third extra point to tie the game at 21.
The Rahway defense set up the touchdown, stopping Volker for no gain on a smash into the middle of the line on fourth and one with 5:54 to play. Volker fumbled on the play, but Rumson recovered at the Indians’ 45. Bost hooked up with Roberts on a 37-yarder up the left sideline on the following play to the Rumson 18.
The Indians cut their deficit to 21-13 with 10:05 left in the game on a 1-yard run by Bost. Rumson senior punter Lazurus Alves fumbled the snap and was tackled for a 28-yard loss to the Bulldogs’ 1. Bost scored on third-and-goal.
Volker pushed Rumson’s lead to 21-7 with a 71-yard dash with 2:29 to play in the third quarter, taking advantage of a downfield block by senior wide receiver Billy Lyons.
With 2:50 to go in the first half, Volker again turned the artificial surface into a greyhound track, jetting 55 yards up the left sideline, sending Rumson in front 14-7.
Volker tied the game at seven with 4:22 left in the second quarter, muscling eight yards over the left side. The touchdown capped a 5-play, 55-yard drive.
Volker was stopped for no gain on the first play. Senior wide receiver Sam Shaud sped for 33 yards on a reverse left, putting the Bulldogs at the Indians’ 22. Volker gained 12 yards over the left side to the 10 and muscled for two on the following play to the 8. He scored on the next play.
With 6:53 left in the first half, Rahway senior Rajul Thomas blocked Alves’ punt and the Indians recovered at the Bulldogs’ 1. Senior Gabril Gross vaulted over the middle of the line and into the end zone on the following play for a 7-0 lead with 6:48 to go.
Rumson threatened to score on its first series of downs in the opening quarter, driving from the Rahway 36 to their nine after a 16-yard punt. Volker keyed the drive, rushing for 20 yards on eight carries.
The drive ended as Volker fumbled and was stopped for no gain on a smash into the middle of the line with 4:42 remaining in the first quarter. Volker carried on Rumson’s first seven plays, setting the tone for the remainder of the game.