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REWARDING RETURN: DCC Junior, Brockway Football Player Blake Pisarcik, Comes Back From Torn ACL to Make All-State Team

BROCKWAY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — It’s a distant memory now. An afterthought.

Blake Pisarcik rarely thinks about his surgically repaired right knee, more than a year after he shredded his ACL, requiring surgery.

(Pictured above, Blake Pisarcik, a DuBois Central Catholic junior and football player and wrestler at Brockway, returned from a torn ACL last season to make the all-state team as a wide receiver this year/submitted photo)

That surgery was an innovative one, pioneered by Dr. Matthew Varacallo at Penn Highlands hospital in DuBois.

The “fertilized ACL” procedure got Pisarcik back to full activity in three months.

And set the course for a dramatic and successful comeback for the DuBois Central Catholic baseball team last spring, the Brockway football team this fall, and now on the wrestling mat for the Rovers this winter.

“I haven’t thought about it, honestly, probably since the first (football game) this season,” Pisarcik said. “That’s probably the last time I thought about it. The knee is good.”

And so has Picarcik.

Even though he was back to full activity in late November — just a few months after he stuck his right foot into the turf at DuBois High School during a game against the Beavers in early September of 2022 and felt his right knee buckle — he didn’t return for the remainder of the football season or the wrestling campaign.

Pisarcik was back on the field for the DuBois Central Catholic baseball team during the Cardinals’ run to the PIAA Class A title game for the second consecutive year.

Now a junior at DuBois Central Catholic, Pisarcik was determined to make his mark following the injury.

He certainly did.

Pisarcik caught 72 passes for 1,163 yards and eight touchdowns this fall in his return to the football field.

His speed was the difference-maker, as well as his fearlessness and determination.

Pisarcik’s comeback was complete and he was rewarded with a spot on the Coaches’ Select All-State team a second-team wide receiver in Class A.

“It’s truly amazing,” said Brockway coach Jake Heigel. “I mean, you always wonder how someone’s going to rebound from that, if they come back too soon or too hard or too fast. There’s so many factors that weigh into it and you always have that in the back of your head. He rose to the occasion. The entire offseason he was a leader, whether it be in 7-on-7s or in the weight room.”

Heigel said he had to resist the urge to limit Pisarcik.

The coach and his staff finally decided to let him loose.

“We just had to take the reins off,” Heigel said. “We had to let him go be a player and it became very clear, not just to the coaches in District 9, but to the coaches in the entire state, that Blake is a special talent.”

Pisarcik said that didn’t happen overnight.

While the healing was quick and relatively smooth, the work required to get that knee sound and back on the field was not.

It was an arduous process and one that Pisarcik tackled head on.

“It took a lot of work,” he said. “My goal was to get better every day. I saw the progress throughout the season.”

It was difficult for Pisarcik to sit and watch his friends and teammates play the 2022 season after he suffered the injury. The Rovers marched all the way to the D9 Class A championship game, where they lost to Port Allegany.

Having the season he had in 2023 — and getting the all-state recognition for it — was satisfying to Pisarcik, he said.

“I just remember that D9 final,” he said. “I sat on the sidelines just watching. I watched everything and it was hard. It felt good to be able to come back and have the kind of season that I had.”

Pisarcik said he had no idea what to expect when he stepped back out on the football field. He set no goals for himself. Took things one day, and even one play, at a time.

“I’m really proud of how I played,” he said. “I played 10 times better than before the injury.”

Pisarcik has also seen improvement on the wrestling mat this winter at 160 pounds.

He’s 16-8 this season with seven pins after going 16-17 as a freshman while splitting between 152 and 160 pounds.

Pisarcik placed third in his weight class at the recent District 9 Wrestling League Tournament.

It was a valuable experience for Pisarcik, who got a sneak peak at some of the competition he will face in the district in February.

Pisarcik said it also showed him what he needs to work on going forward.

“I get gassed really easily,” he said. “I can go for two periods, then it comes to the third period, I’m just done. I need to work on my stamina a little bit. Everything else I think is pretty solid.”