"Alec has the potential to be a big-time quarterback," Paul VI coach John Doherty said. "He worked extremely hard in the offseason to prepare himself, and it's paid off. He knows he still has room to improve and will continue to get better."
As a sophomore, Vignola started four games at quarterback as Paul VI struggled through an injury-marred 2-8 season.
But Paul VI has worked its way back among South Jersey's best programs this season. If the Eagles can get past Cherry Hill East on Saturday - no small chore, as East has won two in a row and is playing with great confidence - they will be 5-0 entering a showdown with No. 3 Timber Creek on Oct. 19.
"We definitely have been under the radar a little bit," Vignola said. "But now we're coming out in the spotlight and we have to work even harder."
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Vignola, who lives in Sicklerville, is 48-for-68 passing for 625 yards. He has been the triggerman of a Paul VI offense that features running back Dior Hightower (52 carries, 396 yards) and wide receiver Zach Grant (16 catches, 195 yards), a Temple recruit.
Vignola said he has made the most improvement from last season in the mental aspects of the game.
"It's just been a lot of film study, learning defensive tendencies," Vignola said.
Vignola, who played most of his youth football career in Pine Hill, said he always has been a quarterback.
"I like the responsibility that comes with it," Vignola said. "It all lies on your shoulders. You have to be a leader, on and off the field."
Contact Phil Anastasia at email@example.com or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," on www.philly.com/jerseysidesports