The Slippery Rock University football team is on a roll, and several former District 10 stars have made hefty contributions along the way.
After a victory over perennial powerhouse California on Saturday, The Rock is 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the PSAC West and needs only a win over 0-9 Seton Hill to claim the division title and earn a spot in the PSAC Championship Game.
General McLane grad Kevin Kulka and Strong Vincent grad Robert Joyce have made the most significant impact among the five Erie County grads on the Slippery Rock roster.
Kulka, a 6-foot 1-inch 235-pound redshirt junior, has excelled from his defensive end spot. He ranks seventh on the team with 36 tackles (17 solo), but he has been a force in run support and in the pass rush. Kulka has 8 tackles for loss on the season for 33 yards. He also has 31⁄2 sacks for 22 yards in losses and has seven quarterback hurries. Kulka has forced a fumble and broken up a pass.
Kulka has been extremely consistent for The Rock. He has at least one tackle for loss in six of Slippery Rock’s nine games, including each of the past four. In The Rock’s 35-17 win over Cal, he had five tackles, including 11⁄2 tackles for loss, added two quarterback hurries and broke up a pass.
Joyce, a 6-foot 2-inch, 218-pound redshirt senior tight end, had one reception, but he scored from 14 yards out on the catch, extending Slippery Rock’s lead to 35-10 midway through the fourth quarter. Joyce now has eight receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns in seven games. He also has four tackles on special teams.
Another Strong Vincent grad, sophomore defensive back Kevin Green, has made solid contributions. He has 11 tackles and one bass breakup on the season. He had a season-high three tackles against Mercyhurst and Cal.
Slippery Rock High School grad Tony Papley, a 6-foot 1-inch, 260-pound senior defensive lineman, has 51 tackles, including 10 for losses.
Other for D-10 players on the roster include Strong Vincent grad Brandon Akins (junior wide receiver), McDowell grad Josh Santillan (freshman linebacker), Mercer grad Nathan Brest (freshman lineman), Hickory grad Mike Grata (sophomore linebacker), Slippery Rock grad Dylan Neal (freshman defensive lineman) and Grove City grad Erik Record (freshman linebacker).