Friday Night Hero: West’s Jon Crucitti
By Bret Strelow
MOUNT ULLA ó While well-traveled West Rowan senior Jon Crucitti explores his collegiate options, he continues to prove that he’s comfortable on an array of playing surfaces.
Crucitti, who hopes to compete in baseball and football at the next level, was the center fielder on the Rowan County team that reached the American Legion World Series in Fargo, N.D.
The end of baseball season overlapped with the beginning of football, and Crucitti is a returning starter for a West Rowan squad that won the 3A state championship ninth months ago.
He scored a touchdown at Wake Forest’s refurbished BB&T Field, and the Falcons reacquainted themselves with artificial turf Friday in a 48-9 victory at Mooresville.
Crucitti, who spent his first two years of high school at Mooresville, caught six passes for a career-high 126 yards. He scored two touchdowns against his former team.
“Any time we play on turf, it’s special,” Crucitti said with a smile. “We played, obviously, the state championship game on turf. Any time we get a chance to do it, it’s great.”
Crucitti leads the county with 21 receptions and ranks second with 333 yards even though he missed the Falcons’ opener.
He has spent time at quarterback and running back since arriving at West and is averaging 40.3 yards per punt this season.
He also returns punts, but Mooresville picked up a first down late in the second quarter when upback Jay Willis completed a 14-yard pass to Bakary Torrence. Crucitti charged forward and delivered a jarring hit.
“As far as being a receiver, Friday night was probably his best effort,” West coach Scott Young said. “He’s one of the most complete football players we’ve ever had.”
Crucitti had never flown on a plane prior to the Legion team’s trip to Fargo, but he still saw a lot of the country earlier in the summer.
His family passed through Atlanta and Baton Rouge, La., on a 1,075-mile drive to Houston for a football camp at Rice in June. There was a 400-mile trip in July to check out Vanderbilt, which is in Nashville, Tenn.
A 9-year-old, diesel-powered Volkswagen Beetle has passed some difficult tests.
“We’ve definitely put some miles on the family car this summer,” Crucitti said. “We’ve been getting some serious gas mileage.”
The Beetle got a break two weekends ago.
Crucitti took an official visit to Army, located in West Point, N.Y., and flew in for an afternoon game at historic Michie Stadium, an 85-year-old venue that overlooks the Hudson River. The Black Knights faced Duke and fell 35-19.
Crucitti also plans to visit Navy (in Annapolis, Md.) and Stanford (in Palo Alto, Calif.) later this year.
“I’m just trying to make the most of this time in my life,” Crucitti said. “You only get to go through this once. It’s fun to see America, and I’ve seen a good bit of it.”
West met Mooresville six days after the Army-Duke matchup, and the Falcons mishandled the opening kickoff.
Mooresville took a 3-0 lead, and West went ahead for good four plays later. Junior quarterback B.J. Sherrill faked a handoff to star running back K.P. Parks and fired a 44-yard touchdown pass to Crucitti.
“A sign of things to come for a great night,” said Crucitti, who scored again in the third quarter.
“There was a lot of emotion and intensity in our locker room, and we carried that from the first minute, despite the opening kickoff, until the last minute.”