2021 District-3 Top 20


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Oct 13, 2001
Here is updated information to go with previously posted notes (2020 review-2021 preview) of a few months ago. There are changes with a better understanding of personnel including transfers and scheduling.

What makes this season different from almost any other season in the district is all the power teams are playing each other early. Additionally, this season sees District-3 teams moving beyond district borders to play some of the top teams in other districts.

Here’s are some of the top inter-district games; Governor Mifflin plays Episcopal Academy, McDevitt plays LaSalle, York plays Coatesville, Manheim Central plays Perkiomen Valley, Harrisburg plays Pine Richland, Berks Catholic plays Malvern Prep, Manheim Township plays Spring Ford, Cumberland Valley plays Spring Ford.
Here are some of the top inter-conference games; Central Dauphin at Wilson, Manheim Township at CD, Berks Catholic at CD, Cumberland Valley at Manheim Central, Central York at CV and Exeter, Cocalico at Cedar Cliff, Wilson at Governor Mifflin and Exeter.

How’s that for mixing it up with the rest of the state and district powers!

This is a year like the WPIAL of old where you’d be in real trouble judging a team by their record alone.

2021 District-3 Top 20
(last year's ranking in parenthesis)

1 Governor Mifflin 8-1 5A (1)
District 5A champion and last year’s Silver Medalist (if you believe the game with Pine Richland was the true final!?), starts off the 2021 season where they left off last year at the top, with one of the best running backs in the country in Nicholas Singleton (6-0, 205, sr, 107/1311ry, PSU commit) and his wingman fullback Trey Rock (6-1, 215, sr, 33/248). No one could stop Singleton last year. Against the best teams played, meaning Wilson 6-1, Exeter 6-2, Berks Catholic 5-3, Mechanicsburg 9-1 and 5A state champion Pine Richland 11-0 who have a combined won-loss of 37-7, he gained 915 yards on 88 carries. That’s 10.3ypc! Wilson held him to 165 yards (7.9ypc). Pine Richland did the best job holding him to 108 yards on 25 carries for a 4.3ypc average. Unique players like Singleton plus a decent core returning allow the Mustangs to hold their lofty rankings to open the 2021 season.
QB Delsin McNeil (5-10, 170, jr) should be the new Qb (?) with many other positions up for grabs. Aidan Young (6-0, 205, jr), Ayden Martin (5-11, 180, sr) and Braylon Stewart (6-2, 180, sr) will have major roles on offense and defense. Last year’s freshman TE/DE Bailey Ziolkowski (6-5, 190, so) will have to be worked in somewhere with spot appearances last season. Veteran TE/DE Nate Goodman (6-5, 235, sr, 17 tackles) will hold down one flank while DTs Jose Landrom (6-0, 240, sr) and Daxsen Washington (6-0, 250, sr) return to the trenches. Trey Rock is back at LB with Aiden Martin (5-11, 180, sr), Zander Zahasis (6-0, 195, sr), Eden Johnson (5-11, 190, sr) and Braylon Stewart (6-2, 180, sr) giving them an outstanding LB/Safety group. Singleton and Alonzo Anderson (6-1, 170, sr) return to the secondary where there are few worries with GM’s athleticism. NG Jamani Smith (6-1, 310, sr), Joey Laffey (6-0, 220, sr) and Jonah Naugle (6-3, 305, sr) are veteran lineman who got time last year or started. OL/DL Aidan Young (6-0, 205, jr) is highly regarded. The DB is stacked with line backing looking good as well. Another outstanding sophomore from last year returns in LB Clayton Reynolds (5-10, 195, jr).
No doubt the Mustangs graduated a pile of people especially the lines but return good numbers on both sides. Quarterback Connor Maryniak may prove to be a big loss as he was a fine all-around athlete who was instrumental getting them to the 5A state final. Sophomore Delsin McNeil who played in 7 games will likely do the same, running the Mid Line hopefully as well as Maryniak. A year after losing to Pine Richland in the 5A semi-final 48-44, the Mustangs still look like the team to beat in D3’s 5A classification and perhaps beyond. But….!....they must get past two of the top teams in the district with the season opener at York followed by their home opener to Wilson. Rarely have three of the best teams in the district met in the first two weeks of the season.
2 Central York 10-1 6A (2) Here’s another district champion and Silver Medalist who also returns a unique talent in senior quarterback Beau Pribula (2156, 68%, 34/7; 519ry, 14 Tds). Also back is his top receiver Parker Hines (6-0, 180, jr, 27/358) plus Treyshawn Smith (6-2, 180, 3/54, sr) and TE/DE/T Joseph Sevison (6-4, 225, jr). Raquel Dewitt (5-8, 180, 35/328, sr), Imeire Manigault (5-9, 175, jr, 14/177) and FB/MLB Trenton Dunnick (6-2, 230, jr) look to be the primary backs. They look ok along the line with seniors Zach Gaffney (6-0, 255, sr) and Alex West (6-0, 295, sr), plus juniors Danny Pham (6-1, 295) and Cody Gillio (5-11, 255). Top tackler and well underrated LB Carter Glassmyer (6-1, 220, 94 stops, missed 2 games, sr) is back with equally understated MLB (or DE) Trenton Dunnick (6-2, 230, 28 stops, sr) and Brandon Watson (5-11, 195, 17 stops, sr). Dewitt and Nigier Dewitt are back in the secondary with Kyaire Fulp. Central lost a wealth of firepower to graduate but many others got playing time. Whether they return enough to keep up with a loaded York High is the question, particularly as the schedule is aggressive. They open on the road at Exeter and Cumberland Valley to face their old coach Josh Oswalt the first two weeks of the season, then Hempfield in the home opener. Then comes another road trip against what should be a York-Adams challenger in Red Lion who has to be chomping at the bit after losing to Central in last year’s opener 55-0! Last year’s record setting offense averaged 49ppg and allowed 14. The team the year before scored 42ppg and allowed 12. With a 10-year, 5-year and 3-year records of 74-36, 40-14 and 27-6, look for the Panther’s to again field a big and explosive team with a quarterback like Beau Pribula under center to allow some of the new parts on defense to jell.
3 Bishop McDevitt 6-0 4A (7) McDevitt’s absence from the playoffs last year was glaring given the deep talent they had shown on both sides of the ball scoring 40ppg and allowing 8. But the playoff math left them short although they held a #4 ranking in the state at the time. This year sees most of last year’s team back in the fold. They have a stable full of running backs, some of the best in central Pennsylvania featuring last year’s sophomore standouts Marquese Williams (5-10, 190, 53/254), Cyncir Bowers (5-10, 175, 25/232) and freshman Ty Kephart (5-11, 190, 29/154). Notre Dame just offered Williams last week. The receiver corps is stacked with big time talent in seniors Kamil Foster (6-0, 190, 25/498) and Mario Easterly (6-0, 175, 35/268). Last year’s quarterback Lek Powell had an exceptional career and season, throwing for 1591 yards (6 games!), completing 67% of his passes with 20 touchdowns while throwing ZERO interceptions. That’s a lot to replace. But they have a kid who just completed middle school with his first offer (Michigan) in freshman Stone Saunders (6-1, 185). Coach Jeff Weachter calls his arm elite. It was announced August 11th that he’ll start. The line will be powerful led by one of last year’s super sophomore in Gabe Arena (6-5, 265) and Dimitri Chacon (6-4, 334). Other sophs from last year are Luke Nye (6-0, 270), Ty Jennings (6-5, 260), Luke Sellers (6-1, 260), Kam Zeangle (6-0, 255) and Ethan Straining (6-3, 235). Add Isaiah Robinson (5-11, 310, sr) and Odezhon Troublefield (6-0, 270, sr) to the returning starters/co-starters group to see they’re set there. Last year’s starting or pt sophomores at linebacker were Kade Wearner (6-0, 190, QB/LB), Tyshawn Russell (6-2, 180, LB/DB), Zach Hare (6-1, 215) and highly regarded Riley Robell (6-1, 225) who is also a top wrestler. They’re joined by seniors Jamani George-Heron (6-0, 225), Nate Kinsey (6-2, 215), Douglas Bardo (6-2, 225) and Ryan Russo (6-2, 210). All were starters or got time last year. The secondary is veteran featuring Kamil Foster, Ty Kephart and Mario Easterly from the offense. This is a team that on paper again looks like one of the top teams in the state. The problem with last year’s team is they lacked a good barometer opponent, decisively defeating teams with a combined record of 14-29, none above .500. Unfortunately, Covid cancelled games against city power/rival Harrisburg and St. Mary’s Ryken (1-4) of Maryland that would have revealed more. Tough year for the Knights but still a measuring stick playing and losing to OLGC 17-9, St. John’s 35-20, Zaga 12-9 and DeMatha 42-24. With the Crusaders appearing stacked at every position, all eyes will be on the freshman phenom to see what he can do. Any kind of decent quarterbacking (and health!) should see the Crusaders challenge for another state title. The schedule like many district three teams this year is front loaded, opening at home to LaSalle (5-1) of the Philadelphia Catholic League and Middletown (4-2) before playing at Harrisburg (4-0).
4 Wilson 6-1 6A (5) Once more the Bulldogs graduate most of the line and their quarterback, forcing the offense to rely on a running game. As mentioned in previous write ups, because they lacked a deep threat but had a superior athlete at quarterback in Kaleb Brown (PWO Penn St), the offensive burden fell largely on him, masking the diminished pass threat by leading the team in rushing with 746 yards. Fortunately, they have another superior athlete in Jadyn Jones, their bruiser of a fullback (6-0, 220, 75/519, sr) who will carry the load at least early. Gavin Lenart (5-9, 195, sr) is also a hard tackle and fierce hitter at LB with Jadyn Jones. OL’er back are Kyle Hassler (6-1, 260, sr) and highly regarded OT/DT sophomore Jack Dendall (6-1, 255). Jon Ramsey (6-2, 220, sr) will be the TE/LB with Josh Drake, TJ Flite and Sean Dendall are likely to fill the receiver positions. Gannon Brubaker (6-0, 190, jr) appears to be the new Qb with a rising star in Cam Jones (5-11, 180, jr) playing a larger role this year on both sides, especially offense where he could be worked in almost anywhere including quarterback. Eli Rodriguez (5-11, 255, sr) will spearhead the DL rebuild. Rodriguez, Jadyn Jones and Gavin Lenart are three of the top players in the LL. And they have lots of bodies that got time and a talented sophomore class to work with. Wilson lost but 21 games the last ten years and have 57 straight non-losing seasons. They enter this year on a 6 game winning streak. So look for them to again represent despite opening with Mid Penn mugger Central Dauphin (98-27 last 10) at home, then Governor Mifflin (86-30 last 10) down the road in Shillington then Exeter Township (78-33 last 10), also on the road.
5 Central Dauphin 5-1 6A (6) Central Dauphin returns a special player in quarterback Max Mosey (990py, 63%, 13/5 ratio, 33/161ry), back for his senior season and third year as a starter. His stats followed a sophomore season where he threw for 2062 yards at 61% with a 15/3 ratio. Max is the real deal and could come out smoking following the embarrassment of last year’s 42-15 shellacking by Central York in the district semifinal. He and the team! Much of his supporting cast is gone including running back Tim Smith (78-580r, 16-245p), wide-out Malachi Bowman (24-372p, 12-212r), RB/WR Shamarr Joppy (36-372r, 13-132p), FB/LB Dan Ficca (26-132r) plus the entire starting LB corps of Paul Clark, Smith, Ficca and Joppy. But, this is CD where they typically reload. Maybe with less fire power but always contending. OL/DLs Tommy McGovern (5-11, 230, jr), Kyle Yeager (6-4, 290, sr), Myles Wallace (6-1, 230, sr), Aaron Clark (6-0, 245, sr), Jamaal Belamy (6-2, 280, sr), Ben Stewart (6-2, 280, sr)….(italics = starters, co-starters) are back with Carson Cassel (6-1, 245, jr), Nate Rosa (6-2, 280, jr); perhaps one of their better lines with talented underclassman moving up. TE/DE Darrion Thomas (6-0, 225, sr) teams with last year’s D-Line (above) for a formidable front. O and D skill include Randy Ruby (5-11, 185, sr), Zion Allen (6-0, 180, sr) and Juice Selby (5-11, 185), a hard hitting bunch that return to the secondary with Safety Sam Sauers (6-0, 200, jr). DB/LB Xander Toland (5-10, 180, jr) and LB Tyrell English (6-0, 200, sr) return. They open with a front loaded 4-pack playing Wilson, Berks Catholic, Manheim Township and Harrisburg who combined have a 95-29 record the last three years. If they manage those four games, four of the remaining six are on the road, including conference challenges at State College and Cumberland Valley.
6 Manheim Township 5-2, 6A (11)
This is a team that despite graduations must be feeling positive with the way last year ended. They began the year with two straight losses, losing to LaSalle 35-27 and Wilson 31-28, before ratcheting it up to win their last 5 games, entering 2021 on a high note. Any team would be a factor with return/receiver Anthony Ivey (5-11, 180, 23-546p, 8 TDs, jr) back for his senior year. Anthony is 6 points waiting to happen on any possession! He’s listed as the 20th best in the nation depending on which site you view. He committed to Penn State with almost the entire country wanting him including LSU, Pitt, Auburn, etc. This season sees them with decent numbers returning on defense with 8 starters and co-starters back. Offensively, the receiver corps is Ivey, Elijah Fonseca (5-10, 150, 11/26, sr), Michael Heckman (5-10, 155, 12/218, sr) and Isaiah Jones RB/CB (5-9, 155, 5-8, 160, sr). The primary back is senior RB/LB Matt Torres (5-7, 190, 24/136). The line returns seniors C Mike O’Hara (5-11, 220), OT/DT Carter Rusnak (5-11, 250), OT/DT Wes Hoffman (6-4, 245), and OT/ DT Brady Rager (5-9, 265). OG/DT Sam North (5-11, 260, sr), OT/DT Alex Romano (6-0, 265, sr) and TE/LB Matt O’Gorman (5-9, 190, sr) are also back. Jackson Roach (6-1, 200, sr) will be OLB, perhaps DL with OLB/DE Quinn Kavanaugh (6-2, 210, sr), Gavin Glass (6-1, 190, jr) and Tyrese Washington (6-2, 215, sr) with his 49 taackles. The secondary’s losses were minimal making that a team strength.
They’ll be looking for a quarterback with first year starter Evan Clark (6-3, 210, 1505p, 340r, 70%, 18/0 ratio) graduating. He’s a preferred walk-on at Penn State and one of the top single year starting quarterbacks in Township history. One of the best kept secrets in the district is their under publicized tradition recently in developing quality signal callers. One possibility is committing to well-regarded sophomore Hayden Johnson (5-11, 175). It appears they have their backup with McCaskey transfer Eli Rodriguez (5-10, 160, soph, 60 tackles) penciled in and possibly starting in the secondary or linebacker. Nick Good (5-11, 175, soph) also transferred in from Red Land and may start at linebacker. Township’s schedule suggests a fast start opening at home to mystery team Central Dauphin East (0-7, key transfers at Qb, receiver), then four consecutive road games at Dallastown (1-6), Central Dauphin (5-1), Spring Ford (6-1) and Cocalico (4-4). The last three are favorites or co-favorites to win their respective conferences.
7 York (Wm. Penn) 7-1 6A (12) Until Central York grabbed everyone’s attention last season advancing to the PIAA 6A final, the York-Adams league had taken a back seat to the Mid Penn Conference, the Lancaster Lebanon League and the Berks Inter County conference as well. West York, Red Lion, Central York, Dallastown, Delone and York Catholic have had their moments for sure. Even York High back when Matt Ortega (Coatesville) ran the program fielded good teams. But no one got over the hump the way Central York did last year. But if York can get past serious speed bumps like Red Lion and of course Central York in conference action, the Bearcats might just make a run with their explosive offense that averaged 38ppg last year. There are holes to fill for sure but they return key offensive players in quarterback Sam Stoner (6-0, 200, 66/127-52%, 1268yds, 16/2 ratio, jr), and one of the top running backs in central PA in Jaheim White (5-9, 190, 138/1332, 16Tds, jr). That’s 9.7 yards per carry. The receivers can fly in Ja’Nas Simms (6-1, 180, 21/347, 16.5yds per catch, sr) and Jaquez Simmons (5-7, 130, 16/241, 15.7 yds per catch, jr). The O-Line took some hits but return their outstanding tackle Joden Nelson (6-4, 280, UConn, sr), OG Montress Jackson (5-10, 220, jr), DE/OL/MLB Steven Roland-Washington (6-0, 220, sr) and JaMari Sanchez (6-1, 230, sr). The D was hit hardest losing OL/DL Shakir Wright (6-2, 325) and Saumir DeShield (6-1, 240), 3 linebackers and half the secondary. Like all of last year’s successful teams, they played a lot of people. And because participation numbers are up, the expectation is they’ll fill vacancies. The scheduling should tell all as they play two of the top programs in the state the first three weeks of the season, opening with Governor Mifflin at home Aug 27th then at Coatesville Oct 10th. Wow! The Coatesville game will be a great opportunity for locals to see a field flooded with talented athletes and exciting teams. They close out the season on the road against Central York.
8 Manheim Central 3-5 5A (unranked) Last year’s team was a full rebuild having graduated 20 starters and their record setting quarterback Evan Simon (8038py, 930ry, Rutgers). The result was their first losing season since 1971 (3-7) with a super young team that returns almost intact. (Info from the great guys at Lancaster Online). Qb Judd Novak (6-0, 160, sr) had a strong first year, especially over the last 6 games completing 61% (65/107) for 1114 yards with a 16-3 ratio. The first three were a different story, completing 32 of 62 (52%) for 466 yards with a 5 to 4 ratio. Two 7-point losses at home to Solanco (3-4) 42-35 and Conestoga Valley (6-2) 41-35 prevented more. And that’s how the season went, putting up a lot of points with a defense that often came up short. But they ended strong, beating previously unbeaten Hershey (5-1) 24-21 in the finale. Besides Qb Novak, they return most of the skill people led by running backs Jaden Weit (6-0, 190, 47/281, jr), Larry Marley (6-0, 190, 63/261, sr) and Justine Hefferman (5-11, 180, 40/153, sr). Also back is leading receiver Owen Senseng (5-10, 165, 31/675, 21.8yds per catch, 11Tds, sr) and Brady Harbach (5-10, 170, 16/179, jr). They’ll have a nice line returning in Center/DT Ryland Fittery (5-11, 245, sr), OT/DT Gage Watt (5-10, 280, sr), OT/DT Tyler Fahnestock (6-1, 200, sr), OT/DE Wyatt Kupres (6-1, 230, jr), OG/DT Cole Groff (6-0, 250, jr) and TE/DE Logan Saunders (6-1, 190, sr). They return 8 starters to the defense with as many co-starters going both ways from their corresponding offensive positions. LB Rocco Daugherty (5-10, 190, jr) stood out with 47 tackles as a sophomore last year. Because the town of Manheim eats, sleeps and breathes football (think Aliquippa, Southern Columbia, Clairton), look for a HUGE response to the historic losing season with a group looking to make a statement and even some scores. All that sounds good until looking at the schedule to see they open with District-3 power Cumberland Valley and always competitive Hempfield at home before hitting the road for three weeks at Susquehanna Township, Perkiomen Valley and Wilson before coming home to Warwick. Because the remaining four aren’t auto wins, they need to come out of the first six 4-2 at worst. But there is good point potential since four of their opponents are 6As that should win some games this year.
9 Berks Catholic 5-3, 4A (14)
A typically rugged schedule reflecting their propensity to play anyone, anytime prevented Berks Catholic from being more last year. That included two of the best teams in the state and other teams that annually field strong teams. The groups consisted of Northwestern Lehigh (7-2, Dist-12) and District-3 powers Cedar Cliff (4-4), Harrisburg (4-0), Exeter Twp (6-2) and Governor Mifflin (8-1). They were not good enough to compete with the Harrisburgs and Governor Mifflins of the state, losing 61-28 and 62-7 respectively. Few were. But they were good enough for the rest beating Northwestern 56-35 and Exeter 56-28 on the road, and losing a 35-34 nail biter at Cedar Cliff’s West Shore Stadium in double overtime, stopped inches from the goal line as time expired. Minus the Harrisburg and Governor Mifflin results, they averaged 46ppg while allowing 22. Not bad for a young group. The Saints will play anyone as evidenced by recent games with Central Dauphin, Malvern Prep, McDonogh School and last year playing one of Harrisburg’s strongest teams. This season they return QB/DB Brad Hoffman (6-2, 215, 45%, 603, 8/3 ratio, jr) and RB/DB Christian Cacchione (6-2, 185, 562r, 10-292py, sr), along with WR/DB Josiah Jordan (5-11, 165,15-195ry, sr), RB/LB Aiden Gallen (5-10, 195, 15-95ry, sr), WR/LB Trace Brown (6-2, 180, 10-212, sr) and CB Isaac Pichardo (6-3, 185, sr). Also back is OL/DE Jackson Huddleson (6-2, 230, sr), OL/DE Luke Hughes (6-2, 230, sr), OT/DT Jacob Collazo (6-3, 310, sr), DE Alex Witmer (6-3, 255, sr), Ty Barrtto (6-0, 235, jr), Luke Bennethum (5-11, 230, sr), Reed Lawhorne (6-1, 225, sr) and Xavier Cifredo (5-10, 250, sr). Mark McFadden (6-2, 265), Chris Kochel (6-1, 290) and OL/DE Ryan Wethey (6-0, 215) will be missed with RB/LB Justin Small and RB Colby Newton. But, six All-Stars from the Berks 1st or 2nd D teams are back in the fold. This year’s schedule is again challenging with non-conference games against Central Dauphin, Malvern Prep and Pope John Paul II in addition to conference foes Exeter and Governor Mifflin.
10 Harrisburg 4-0 6A (3)
District 3’s top seeded playoff team Harrisburg was denied a chance at a deep run in the post season when Covid knocked them out of a highly anticipated game with 4th seeded York who went on to get crushed by Central York in the district final 48-21. Many of us in the district felt Harrisburg would have taken care of youthful York then defeated Central York. Some back and forth on that one depending on the number of brews involved. But, year in and year out, Harrisburg’s goal is always to win a state title. They enter this year with a lot of question marks because of severe grad losses including quarterback Jon McNeil (566PY, 67%), running backs Jaylon Johnson and Kiev Gregg plus OGs Nate Bruce (6-5, 325), James Murray (6-2, 250), Jamear Henderson (6-0, 240), and OT Layne Brannon (6-5, 280). Seniors Tyshawn Black (6-1, 285), Ray Irvin (6-2, 295) and Tyrell Young are back. DT Tariq Hughes (5-11, 220, sr) will help solidify the line with DE Jamari Heron (6-0, 225, sr). They return good talent but with Coach still maintaining all positions are up for grabs, assignments are still a mystery. Do know last year they had real talent particularly in their line backing corps with Anthony Day, Mahkai Hopkins, Nayguan Prather and Jamari Heron. DE Terrell Reynolds (6-2, 215, jr) could be special. Kyle Williams (6-0, 180, jr) is here or the secondary and a force at receiver. He’s talented enough to play many positions, perhaps competing with Shawn Lee for the quarterback spot. The secondary should be filled out well with Carlos Baskerville (5-10, 175), Justin Cook (5-9, 170, sr), Raytel Bryant (5-7, 170, so), Marki Strawbridge (5-8, 160, jr) and Damaris Waters. The season could be further compromised with so many graduations AND only four games played last year. Depth could be a real issue competing in the Mid Penn-Commonwealth playing Cumberland Valley, Central Dauphin, State College, Carlisle, etc….big, physical teams….and non-conference games against Pine Richland of District-7. Also play their bitter rival Bishop McDevitt. Like all the power teams in the district, the schedule is front loaded, opening at Pine Richland then Hazleton before coming home to play a loaded McDevitt team and their other bitter Harrisburg rival Central Dauphin.
11 Steelton Highspire 10-0 1A (8)
How about them Rollers, winning their third state championship in the last 14 years while going undefeated in the most trying of circumstance. They’ve had their down cycles for sure but not lately with last year’s sophomore and freshman class playing like a bunch of seniors. They look ready to make another run this year. Here are some notes, stats, etc that also incorporate 2021’s preview done a few months ago that will shed more light on them. This year sees most of last year’s team returning with the big losses being running back Odell Green’s 1549 yards, wide out Mehki Flowers (6-2, 195, PSU) 1006 yards in receptions (60, 15Tds) transferring to Central Dauphin East and WR Damein Hammond graduating with 752py.
Last year’s team started 4 freshmen; QB Alex Erby 6-4 210 (2735py, 35Tds), LBs Jerion Perry 6-0 185 and DE Eugene Green 6-3, 210, LB Amari Williams 6-2, 205….a sophomore DE Tyshaun Holland-Ali 6-1 225 and 4 juniors; DT Andrew Erby 6-4, 275, WRs Mehki Flowers 6-2 195, Tyrone Moore 6-2 180 (27/479py) and LB/DB Davion Pryor 5-9 160). Others back include FB/DT Taeyon Brotton (5-11, 225), OT. Marlyn Davis (6-3, 295, sr) and FS Rell Ceasar (6-0, 155, so) who could replace Flowers. Those of you with some familiarity of smaller programs around the state know what a difficult group the Rollers defeated in the postseason beating D-3 Delone Catholic (6-1) 23-13; D-4 Muncy (7-2) 50-43; D-2 Old Forge (5-1) 39-36; D-6 Bishop Guilfoyle (7-3) 16-14 and D-7 Jeannette (10-2) 32-20. Those programs won 226 games and lost 62 (78.4%) the last 5 years, breaking down as follows. Muncy 39-17, Delone 40-11, Old Forge 36-15, BS Guilfoyle 54-11 and Jeannette 57-8. They start this season on the road in District 1 playing Morrisville, then home for Belmont Charter, Newport and Juniata, the latter two being veteran teams. Look for them to again challenge not only for districts but for another Class 1A state championship.
12 Exeter Township 6-2 5A (20)
Here’s a team that looks like they could be significantly improved with almost all of last year’s squad back. At 23ppg, they were a liability on defense. Because of this, they couldn’t hang with the big boys losing to Berks Conference rivals Governor Mifflin 56-14 and Berks Catholic 56-28. But on the other side, they fielded their best unit in six years, averaging 35ppg and won their last 3 games. That was with quarterback Gavin McCusker who threw 10 interceptions to 8 Tds. He also threw for 1170 yards. Not bad in an 8 game campaign. Colin Payne looks to be the heir apparent with some pt last year completing 4 of 5 for 120 yards and rushing for 76 yards. As a 6-3, 185 senior, he definitely looks the part. All of last year’s key contributors return, headed by running backs Eric Nagle (5-10, 175, 124/782ry, 7/92yp, sr), Ty Yonis (5-11, 180, 35/245, jr), RB/LB J.R. Strauss (6-2, 220, 12/132ry, 12/182py, sr) and RB/LB Tyler Yocum (6-1, 225, 23/77ry, 6/110py, sr). Their leading receivers are back in TE/DE/S Joey Schlaffer (6-6, 215, sr) with 19 receptions for 444 yards and Carson Schmidt (5-11, 170, 20/351, sr). The D returns 8 full time starters and a pile of co-starters led by LBs Strauss, Yocum and Lucas Palange (6-2, 215, sr) with 57, 71 and 56 tackles respectively. DE Richie Karstien (6-3, 220, jr) plus Kyle Lash DT/G (6-1, 210) are back with NG Jack Renski (6-1, 300, sr) plugging the middle, Joey Schlaffer (6-6, 220, jr) and Anthony Caccese (6-7, 279, sr), Jovan Hollis (6-1, 180, jr), Jacob Wolfe (6-0, 170, sr) are back with Hollis and Payne I believe in the secondary. They get the opportunity to show their stuff in the opener entertaining powerful Central York, then Boyertown before coming home to play Wilson! By then we’ll know what the Eagles have and what they’re capable of.
13 Cumberland Valley 3-5 6A (25)
Following four successful years as head coach at Central York, Josh Oswalt enters his second year after replacing Michael Whitehead who was let go at the end of 2019 following a 59-28 slate since 2013. What an emotional move for Oswalt who graduated from Cumberland Valley in 2004 and went on to play/coach at Shippensburg before taking over at Carlisle and Central York. He has a strong record of developing quarterbacks at both schools, turning Billy Burger and Eric Harris at Carlisle into legit Mid Penn Qbs. He did the same at Central York working with Cade and Beau Pribula. All that meant CV’s famed Wing-T was destined for the scrap heap. So it was a tough transition made more difficult with Covid and the abbreviated season. Plus, they were coming off rare back-to-back losing seasons. While they struggled, they didn’t cave, starting off 1-5 but showing signs at Spring Ford (6-1), losing 20-14 before winning their last two at Carlisle (3-3) 20-14 and Cedar Cliff (4-4) 24-20. The Eagles gutted out some games showing Coach had them all in. Like McDevitt, Manheim Central, ELCO and others, they played a lot of underclassman and have decent numbers returning. Coach went young at many skill positions starting sophomores at Qb Issac Sines (5-9, 180, 56/126/760/44%, 7/4, 82/125ry), RB/LB Bryce Beutle (5-11, 215), JD Hunter (5-10, 175, 59/188ry, 14/98py) and WR/DB Griffin Huffman (6-0, 185, 11/288py). All started on defense plus Qb Sines at CB along with soph DL Ridge Crispino (6- 0, 220, 23 tackles). Juniors Max Wilken (6-1, 185, 45 stops) was a key linebacker with junior and multi-talented Troy Collard (6-3, 230, 42 tackles, 6/142py, Air Force) playing everywhere; DE/L/TE/RB. And a freshman named Alex Sauve (5-11, 175) made a splash with 37 tackles. They should be significantly improved this year. But the schedule may not broadcast it starting off away at Manheim Central then home for Central York (!) and Spring Ford. How about that opener, two of the storied programs in central Pennsylvania facing off while coming off losing seasons.
14 Warwick 8-0 5A (4)
The Lititz gang forfeited the much anticipated district final showdown with Governor Mifflin last year because of Covid. Too bad as it was a highly anticipated game with Warwick’s balance and abundance of D1 talent. They were not unlike Pine Richland. For this season they face a MAJOR rebuild, losing D1 talents at OL Nolan Rucci-Wis and WR Caleb Schmitz-Cin, plus FB Colton Miller-college? (6-4, 220, 880 ry), his brother TE/DE Thatcher to Cornell and QB Joey McCracken-Ship (6154 career py, 65/11 ratio). So it’s truly a major rebuild after graduating their best team ever with exceptional talent over the last few years going 41-13 since 2016. Doesn’t mean they’ll be without talent. In fact, much is expected from junior Jack Reed (6-1, 180, 21/38, 320py) who started two games last year when McCracken was rehabbing. Plus, they return a nice tailback in Christian Royer (5-10, 190, sr, 56/282). RB/LB Brendon Snyder (6-0, 180, sr), WR/DB Cooper Eckert (5-9, 170, sr, 12/96), WR/CB Tanner Weik (5-11, 180, jr), OT/NG Nate Young (6-2, 245, sr), C/LB Aaron Hess (5-11, 210, 75 tackles, sr), and OL/DEs Cole Detter (6-4, 240, sr) and Cody Miller (5-11, 235, jr). The schedule looks doable but dangerous, opening with Lampeter Strasburg then road trips to CD East and Ephrata before homers against Penn Manor and Hempfield. There are a lot of 50-50 games in there!
15 Conrad Weiser 6-1 4A (15)
Conrad Weiser had an exciting team last year that tore through regular season opponents by an average score of 40-9. Problem is, teams had a combined record of 12-28 and not a winner among them. Although the Scouts have some weapons they didn’t have enough for Lampeter Strasburg in the 4A semifinal, losing in a shootout to the top seeded Pioneers 56-35. As exciting as the Scouts were last year with a dual threat like senior Logan Klitsch (6-3, 195, 1st team All Berks), look for them to be more with much of last year’s skill returning including Klitsch. He finished with impressive stats; 83/140/1336/59%, Td-Pick ratio 15/3, rushing 69/428, 10 Tds, making him one of the more underrated quarterbacks in central PA. Also back is 1st team All-Berks receiver Aanjay Feliciano (6-2, 170, sr, 28/596), Trey Dianna (5-10, 165, 10/94, jr) and Evan Traynor (6-2, 170, sr). Speedsters Cole Rothermel (5-9, 160, 27/162ry, sr) and Cam Jomes ()5-9, 165, 15/112ry, sr) return. The line lost some people, C Luke Capozzi (5-10, 200), G Max Pacheco (6-0, 255, 1st team All Berks), TE Ty Kissling (5-11, 170) and defensive standouts LBs Eric Moyer (6-0, 210, 34 tackles, 1st team All Berks) and Gabe Trevena (38 stops). They’ll build around Eric Nelson (6-2, 270, sr), Cam Swanson (5-9, 240, sr), Ethan Rex (5-10, 250, sr) and others. Super bad Brett Organtini is back at NG after collecting 48 tackles at 5-8, 165 pounds. You got to love that! The skill spots are stocked, suggesting the defense can improve. On paper they will be a force in their classification if they negotiate an opening schedule that includes Cocalico and ELCO in the first three weeks of the season. And with Wyomissing (3A silver medalist) graduating one of their best teams ever, Weiser is the clear favorite to win the Berks Inter County Section Two in its final year before merging with the Lancaster Lebanon League next season.
16 ELCO 7-1 4A (18)
Eastern Lebanon County or ELCO as its officially named and recognized has a good looking group returning from last season that on average crushed all comers by an average score of 38-13 before Lampeter Strasburg beat them 20-3 in the district final. The difference between last year’s and this is they had an established quarterback in Braden Bohannon (5-11, 180, Lebanon Val Col) who was the top rusher in the LL with 990 yards. To say he was key in the Raiders’ Veer is putting it mildly. He was a superior athlete, dividing his time between the gridiron, basketball (20ppg avg) and baseball/track. It looks like they have a solid replacement in Cole Thomas (6-0, 205, sr) who also excels on defense with 30 tackles as an OLB. He’s a power runner tho not as quick as Bohannon. With 39 tackles, Bohannon was a load at FS too, with CB Reilly Peiffer’s 37 stops. The DL loses Logan Tice (5-11, 250, 25 tackles), Ben Wargo (6-0, 240, 23 stops) and DE Owen Kahl (6-0, 195, 34 tackles). Yet the cast around the new Qb is a respectable core led by RBs Jake Williams (5-10, 160, 63/660, so) and brother Luke Williams (6-2, 200, jr, 62/451, jr) who have 25 and 91 tackles respectively as linebackers. Luke is a hitter! Aiden Fitsch (6-0, 185, 24 stops, jr) also returns to the corps and TE. The lines should be good with OT/DT Colin Daub (6-4, 285, jr), Cody Sky (5-11, 240, sr) and Nate Henson (6-1, 205, sr) back. The schedule is friendly at the start opening at home against Susquenita then Schuylkill Valley away. Then comes a game that will tell us much at Conrad Weiser.
17 Hempfield 4-4 6A (13)
The Black Knights must deal with serious grad losses but do have a core, however small, returning to keep them competitive. That starts with returning quarterback Cam Harbaugh (6-1, 210, 82/138/1173/59%, 8/1, sr). He’ll miss receivers Jadin Jimenez (28/326), David Almodovar (23/185) and RB Tanner Hess (116/663) for sure, but return WR/DBs Eli Hinton (5-9, 160, sr, 5/131) and WR/LB Tom Minnich (6-0, 195, sr, 2/18). Don’t be surprised to see marked improvement with Harbaugh after reviewing stats to see he completed 57 for 92 (61%) against the best teams on the schedule; Manheim Township, Wilson, Warwick, Cocalico and Exeter. Impressive!
Other starters back are OL Lucas Miller (6-0, 220, sr) and OL/LB Kaleb Elslager (6-0, 185, sr). DE Max Grube (6-0, 210, sr, 29 tackles) and LB Dylan Bard (5-11, 160, sr, 25 tackles) also return. So the cupboard is not bare. And there are some young ones coming up that could help along the lines in juniors Nicky Bruno (6-0, 225), Deyvid Palepale (6-1, 250), Caleb Mussmon (6-2, 250), LoShyne Stewart (6-2, 220) and Max Hostetter (6-3, 240). They look strong at the linebacker position.
Whether that’s enough will be revealed against a difficult schedule of Exeter, Manheim Central, Central York and Warwick in the first 5 games.
18 Central Dauphin East 0-7 (unranked)
The big news at East High is Qb Tony Powell (6-4, 215, sr) transferring in from Middletown. He was out last year with an injury after throwing for 1415 yards as a sophomore with 18 Tds. He’s the real deal. Also in via transfer from Steel High is one of the top receivers in the country in Mehki Flowers (6-2 195, 60/1006, 15 Tds, PSU). He’ll team with Tymere Thornton (6-5, 215, sr) to give them a feared passing attack. Three veteran lineman return in Andre Howerton (6-2, 275, sr), Cameron Livingston (6-1, 265, sr), Travis Armstrong (5-11, 230, sr) to give them great potential for a solid ground game (and protection) realizing Flowers is out there on the flank. Other starters or co-starters at OL/ DT were Izaiah Scott (6-3, 240, sr) and Marcario Clark (6-4, 230, sr). Aidan Chandler (5-10, 185, Sr.) also goes both ways at RB/CB with LB Justice Jennings (6-0, 200, Sr.) also returning. Flowers will join Chandler in the secondary. Longtime assistant Lance Stone takes over as the new coach for Aaron Blanding who retired after 8 seasons. Stone is a McDevitt grad and served as a McDevitt assistant prior to taking over Steel High’s defense last year. Like most of the large schools in the district, East also plays a front loaded schedule with Manheim Township in the opener on the road followed by home games against Warwick and Cedar Cliff.
19 Cocalico 4-4 4A (unranked)
Cocalico started off last year on fire, going 4-1 with a 35-19 win against Manheim Central. Then it fell apart playing better comp losing to Warwick 49-14, Manheim Township 41-7 and Hempfield 51-28. It was quite a reality check playing literally the big boys of the LL with their super quick but light Flex Bone attack. The backs are good but on the small side featuring Anthony Bourassa (5-8, 170, sr, 757ry), Brycen Flinton (5-9, 150, sr, 201ry ), Stephen Flinton (5-0, 165, sr, 468ry, 353py) and FB Austin Vang (5-8, 180, jr, 77ry) and projected quarterback Blayke Taddei (5-10, 165, sr). With the Flex, the line size isn’t as great an issue tho it is sizeable enough headed by South Carolina commit Ryan Brubaker (6-6, 285, sr). Others back are Chuckie Drain (6-1, 230, jr), center Jared Stauffer (6-3, 230, sr), Damien Wolf (6-0, 190, sr) and Chase Tucker (6-2, 220, jr). LB Luke Angstadt (5-9, 185, sr, 63 stops) and Austin Vang (51 tackles) are key starters returning to the defense. They return 18 or 19 starters but need a quarterback to manage the option attack. Big things are possible for the Eagles if they survive a brutal schedule up front playing Berks-II favorite Conrad Weiser with Wyomissing in a full rebuild, Cedar Cliff with their strong back and Governor Mifflin and their great back!
20 Lampeter Strasburg 9-1 4A (10)
LS is probably one of the best kept secrets in central Pennsylvania, winning consecutive district titles after defeating Berks Catholic 35-21 in 2019 and ELCO 20-3 last year. One of the reasons for their success is stability at the top where John Manion has been the head coach for 23 seasons with a 177-83 mark and only one losing season. That all came to an end with a 39-35 loss in the state semifinal to Jersey Shore (lost to TJ 21-14 in final) and Coach Manion retiring! Longtime assistant (2001) Victor Ridenour takes over after being D-Cord the last four years. This season will be a significant rebuild on offense, graduating record setting quarterback Sean McTaggart. He was the heart and soul of the team, throwing for 1866 yards (57%), with a 27/4 ratio and rushing for 400 yards on 90 carries with 5 more TDs. Berkeley Wagner (6-1, 185, sr) who started two years ago is the apparent successor. Three primary running backs also graduate, Drew Harris (92-447r, 6-59p), Alex Knapp (58-407r, 13-415p) and Owen Fikkert (38-248r, 9-109p). The receiver corps loses Ian Herr (23-506) and Austin Stoltzfus (13-414). TE/DE Beau Heyser (6-2, 235, 26-531, jr) is back as their leading receiver. The D also returns a strong nucleus featuring DL/LB Nick Del Grande (6-4, 260, jr, 69 tackles Coastal Carolina), DE Beau Heyser (44 tackles) and Evan Sellers (6-0, 260, jr, 29 tackles), DE Eric Lakusa (6-1, 220, sr, 22 tackles), FS Berkeley Wagner (6-1, 185, 69 stops). The schedule while not daunting opens with three teams not played last year. They open with Warwick who has a chip on their shoulder per covid denying a district finals appearance against Governor Mifflin last year. Then Penn Manor and Conestoga Valley making the schedule appear doable early.

Carlisle 3-3 6A (23)

The Herd returns a bunch of players centered around their O-Line of Eli Carothers (6-1, 260, sr), Hayden Mahr (6-1, 240, sr), Layton Schmick (6-2, 285), Thomas Nelson (6-4, 300, jr) and Charlie Dib (6-0, 245, jr). Junior Qb Ezeekai Thomas (6-0, 180) is a work in progress (18/63/164, 1 Td-4 Picks) starting as a sophomore in the Commonwealth. Not a good idea! But he can run, rushing for 455 yards on 88 carries. Last year’s D-yield was best since 2005. Sleeper team! Especially if they develop any kind of a passing attack. Tough opener at Mechanicsburg.
Susquehanna Township 2-5 3A (unranked)
Has some big stuff on the lines and good team speed to reverse last year’s campaign featuring OL/DL Freeman Wilson (6-2, 255, sr), Jamall Minifield (6-6, 330, sr) and Aubrey Carter (6-3, 265, sr). “Hanna” use to be a load, going 77-43 from 2006-2015 before sputtering to 24-25 the last 5 years. Winnable opener at Kennett and three straight homers to Milton Hershey, Manheim Central and Ship will test and reveal.
East Pennsboro 3-4 4A (unranked)
Return 4 to the OL/DL averaging 6 ¾ and 260 lbs, headed by Justin Moore 6-6 360 and Jacob Dein 6-3 260. That’s a nice duo to clear a path for Sy Burgos (5-7, 175, sr) who rambled for 1150 yards last year in seven games. He’s one of the top sprinters in the Mid Penn. Open at Suburban then home for a test against New Oxford.
Shippensburg 4-3 5A (unranked)
Like Cocalico, Lampeter Strasburg and a few others, “Ship” is one of the best kept secrets in the state, going 106-47 (69%) from 2007-2020. They look to replace 3-year starter Eric Manning who threw for 826 as a soph, 1054 as a junior and 955 last year. Good numbers return especially on defense that will be headed by Minnesota commit DE Anthony Smith (6-7, 275, 43 tackles, 14TFL, 9 sacks, sr). Could start out 3-0 at Hershey, at Big Spring’s vet group then home to Dover.
Mechanicsburg 8-1 5A (17)
The Wildcats return a pile of players and most of their OL/DL including the monster Talbot Reed-Jaquay (6-7, 330, sr) and Michael Jones (6-6, 275, sr). Problem is replacing super star (generational?) quarterback Micah Brubaker who finished the year passing for 1796 yards (67%, 18/5/ratio) and 707 yards rushing with another 15 TDs. Good measuring stick opener at home against Carlisle’s Thundering Herd.
Middletown 4-2 3A (16)
Things are always optimistic in Middletown with their usual array of talent, none more obvious than TE/DE Tajae Broadie (6-4, 240, sr, Syra, Pitt, Cin, Minn, UConn, etc) and a good core of returning starters, especially on the line where 4 return. The big question marks are with the new coach Scott Acri and the loss of senior Qb Tony Powell (6-4, 215, sr) who transferred to CD East. Open at home to Lower Dauphin then at Bishop McDevitt. Note: Coach Brett Myers retired after an 8 year run of 73-22 and 3 consecutive state finals appearances following stints as head coach at Pottstown and Exeter.
Cedar Cliff 4-4 5A (26)
Cedar Cliff is looking for a quarterback but return a typical Colt O-Line led by seniors Claude Godineaux (6-3, 310), Logan Heiple (6-2, 230) and Gabe Kocher (6-2, 230). Hunter Garced (6-3, 265, sr) is the big return on defense. Key to all this is the return to health of Rb Jontae Morris (5-11, 170, sr) from a ACL vs Berks Catholic game #1 last year that kept him out entire season. They open at Red Lion.
Boiling Springs 4-2 3A (27)
Have to give the Bubblers a mention hanging with Middletown last year, a huge step up in performance and going 4-2 with a young crew. Qb Colin Lunde and Rb Joey Menke are back plus good ones on the OL in Hunter Coyle (6-2, 280) and Dalton Ackley (6-0, 230, jr). Open at home to Littlestown who can be a tough nut to crack from the York-Adams.
Littlestown 4-3 3A (unranked)
0-2 start 4-1 finish with a big armed quarterback returning in Xavier Benner (6-3, 190, sr, 527py), top target Nate Thomas (6-3, 195, 16/232, sr) and three linemen of which two are 1st teamers in the York-Adams-3; Bryce Redding (6-2, 245, sr) and Reece Huth (5-10, 200, sr). Logan Lanning also back, 5-10, 210. Open at Boiling Springs.
Red Lion 5-2 5A (19)
Graduated duel threat quarterback Randy Fizer (870 yards-67%, 1057ry), a large part of an offense that scored 36ppg, their second highest average in over 20 years. That will be difficult to replace although most skill are back. Ryley Knaub (6-2, 175, sr) appears to be the starter after limited action last year. Serious D-front grads including C/DTs Kairen Gordon-Bey (6-2, 275, 24 tackles), Zane Clever (6-3, 330, 22 tackles), LBs Jae’mon Braxton (6-2, 235, 35 stops) and Davante Dennis (6-6, 215, 25 tackles). They open at home to Cedar Cliff, then trips to Waynesboro and Chambersburg before coming home for Central York.
Octorara 6-2 4A (30)
Came close last year with a 22-19 loss to LL-4 champ ELCO and loaded for bear again with most of that team back. Last year’s team was their first winning season since their inception in 2009. They went from 2-8 to 6-2, upgrading their offense 10ppg and the defense 9ppg. But, these guys are fly weights with but two starters over 210 pounds! Open at Kennard Dale.
New Oxford 6-1 5A (21)
The Colonials won the York Adams-2 then lost to heavily favored Warwick in the 3A first round 14-12. Warwick played in a covid-shortened week, getting in no practice time. Junior quarterback Connor Beans (6-0, 180, sr,1268, 57%) is back with wide out Connor Herring (5-9, 135, 34/506py, jr) and Ben Leese (6-0, 180, sr, 33/440). This is new territory for the Colonials having back-to-back winning seasons (7-5 last year), following a seven run of 14 wins and 57 losses, including three 0-10 campaigns. Open at home to Bermudian Springs facing their vet Qb Jay Martinez and running back Ricky Pacana’s 535ry.
Delone Catholic 6-1 1A (24)
The Squires graduated their York-Adams-3 OPY Tate Neiderer, but return 4 linemen that made his 866 rush yards possible; Trent Giraffa (6-2, 220, jr), Elijah Staub (6-4, 265, sr), Sam Scovitch (6-1, 220, sr) and Alex Timmins (6-0, 225, jr). It looks like 7 return to both sides. Delone is one of the few 1As to give Steel High a run for the money with any consistency, winning two of their three games, losing last year in the district final 23-13, and winning the previous two years 39-27 and 54-19. They are one of the winningest programs in south central PA at 71-35 the last 10 years, 39-12 the last 5 and 24-7 the last 3 years. Open at Trinity in Camp Hill.
**** Sorry, I cut off York Catholic.
York Catholic 6-2 2A (unranked)
The Fighting Irish have almost their entire team back minus their excellent Rb De’Kzeon Wyche (964ry, 14Tds) and wide out Brennen Witmer (418py). And while they have a team that looks stocked with talent, Coach Depew might do better if he didn’t boast they’d win the York-Adams-III last season. Delone beat them 28-10. In 2019 he said Delone’s title was a fluke. Delone beat them that year 23-7. They have a vet line with TE Landen Eckert (6-1, 200, sr), Ryan Tully (5-9, 250, jr), Nick Casagrande (5-9, 210, sr) and Wyatt Wells (5-11, 200, jr). The Qb is a work in progress in Levan McFadden (6-0, 200, 37/97/38% - 780py, 11/1, jr). So if the coach can button up and the Qb improve his passing percentage, they might be able to hang with Delone. I guarantee you they will be eagerly awaiting the Irish in McSherrystown under the lights October 22nd.
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Well-Known Member
Gold Member
Oct 13, 2001
I cut off York Catholic at bottom below Delone Catholic under "others". Sorry. Nice little deuce.

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