Toczylousky off to the best season of his career
Four years into his time at Lycoming, Steve Toczylousky still hears a lot of “Stevie T” when a coach is trying to get his attention. He gets it. People have been mispronouncing his last name for as long as he can remember.
At this point, he likes to hear just how much people can butcher how it’s said. For the record, the senior wide receiver for the Warriors said Wednesday it’s pronounced like Tozz-lusky.
He’s heard every variation possible. He was a wrestler as long as he can remember all the way through high school at Southern Columbia where he was a state qualifier, and the iterations of his name on the PA system were never the same one match to the next.
“Every PA announcer gets it wrong,” Toczylousky said. “Even half the time when I was at home games at Southern where they knew me my whole life, they’d still get it wrong. But it can be funny.”
Fans of Lycoming might want to get familiar with how to say his surname, or at least take coach Mike Clark’s approach and stick with Stevie T. Toczylousky is having the best season of his career only two games into the season and he’s starting to realize the potential the coaching staff thought he had when he came to Williamsport.
Through two weeks, he’s fifth in the Middle Atlantic Conference in receiving yards (228), eighth in receptions (10), and second in yards per catch (22.8). Those numbers already dwarf the career totals he carried coming into the season of five catches for 48 yards. He’s been key to a group of receivers who made just 21 receptions a year ago giving quarterbacks Elijah Shemory and Chase Snavely both reliable and explosive options in the passing game.
“I feel like a different guy this year. I finally got my opportunity and I’m not going to waste my opportunity,” Toczylousky said. “Every time I get the ball I’m going to try and help my team as best I can. I’m going to try to put points on the board and make a big play. As a receiver alone your opportunities are limited, so every chance I get the ball, I want to make a big play and make something happen.”
Toczylousky has made a touchdown catch in each of Lycoming’s first two games of the season. They’re the first of his career. One was on a 60-yard bomb from Shemory in a Week 1 loss to Susquehanna when he got behind the defense. The other came last week on a beautifully-thrown ball by Shemory on a 16-yard strike in which he had separated himself from the Pride defense.
For the first time in about two years Toczylousky finally feels healthy and he finally has the speed and confidence which made him an all-state player at Southern Columbia in 2015 when he broke the school’s single-season and career receiving touchdowns record. Those records have since been broken by Julian Fleming.
After spending his freshman season at Lycoming primarily on special teams, he was set to have more of a role in the offense as a sophomore. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound receiver had his season end prematurely when he tore his right ACL while of the kickoff team in Week 3 against Albright.
Toczylousky still doesn’t know exactly how the injury happened. One doctor told him it was a non-contact injury, but even the film isn’t really conclusive as to how it happened. All Toczylousky knows is he lost the majority of the 2017 season and he was never really completely healthy at all last season.
Also, during the time he was out with the injury, Toczylousky was passed by receivers like Nick Costello, Brock Zollicoffer and John Kim because of the experience they were able to gain while he recovered from the knee injury. Even when Toczylousky came back last year, he just wasn’t at the same level he was before the injury. He caught a pair of passes against both King’s and Alvernia, but didn’t have a reception in the other eight games he played.
“A full year-plus removed from the surgery he’s probably running the way he was pre-surgery,” Clark said. “It’s one thing to be cleared to come back, but it’s another thing to play the way you want.”
“Coming into last season I was trying to convince myself I was 100 percent, but now looking back on it I don’t think I was,” Toczylousky said. “But once spring ball hit (in 2019), that’s when I started feeling like I used to and I was getting in and out of my routes quicker and it felt like my speed was really back.”
Toczylousky has proven to be a versatile asset for the Warriors’ offense for two weeks. At 6-2, he’s the only receiver listed on Lycoming’s two-deep roster at 6-feet or taller. He’s a big target capable of going over the middle or finding open space on intermediate routes. But he’s also shown the speed to be able to stretch the field vertically.
He had the 60-yard touchdown reception against Susquehanna, but he also beat the Widener defense to the post on a 47-yard reception last week which set up a 24-yard touchdown pass from Snavely to Christoff Minott.
“I don’t know that he’s going to be DeSean Jackson who is just going to run by you, but he certainly has competitive enough speed to get down field,” Clark said. “To be able to do a variety of things is great.”
“I want to be as versatile as I can just to open up my options as much as possible,” Toczylousky said. “The more versatile you are, the more you’re going to be able to make plays and the more you’re going to be able to help the team win.”