1. Emmaus Last Season: 10-2 (EPC South Division Champions) Playoffs: Beat Liberty 23-13; Lost to Freedom 42-12 Returning Starters Offense (9): RB Sone Ntoh (Jr. 5’10 205); *RB Lubens Myers (Jr. 5’11 165); *WR Josh Artis (Sr. 6’4 200); TE/FB Noah Breidinger (Sr. 5’9 220); OT Gregg Johnson (6’4 270); OG Austen Kasaczun (Sr. 6’1 260); *C Andy Roche (Sr. 6’0 235); *OG Matt Nimas (Sr. 6’1 260); *OT Mike Reeves (Sr. 6’2 220) Returning Starters Defense (9): DT Matt Nimas (Sr. 6’1 260); DT Joey Barno (Sr. 5’8 240); DE Grant Ritter (Sr. 6’2 245); *LB Noah Breidinger (Sr. 5’9 225); *LB Blake Reed (Sr. 6’0 195); LB Ben Maehrer (Sr. 6’0 200); LB Sone Ntoh (Jr. 5’10 205); CB Lubens Myers (Jr. 5’11 165); SS Josh Artis (Sr. 6’4 200) * = All Conference pick in 2016 Returning Leaders Passing: Blake Reed: 9-32, 178 yards, 2 TD 0 INT Rushing: Lubens Myers: 197 carries, 1,208 yards, 16 TDs Rushing: Sone Ntoh: 128 carries, 905 yards, 17 TDs Receiving: Josh Artis: 34 catches, 554 yards, 6 TDs Defensive: Noah Breidinger: 94 tackles, 10 TFL Emmaus is the preseason favorite, returning 18 starters from a team that went 9-1 in the regular season and won their first outright conference championship in football since the early 1972. First year head coach Harold Fairclough (2010 state championship at Allentown Central Catholic) completely revamped the Emmaus program, winning far beyond what anybody expected in year one. An injury to quarterback Derek Shaeffer in the last game of the regular season dashed any hopes of a District XI championship, but the Green Hornets come back loaded for bear ready to build off of their 2016 momentum. The Offense: Sophomores Sone Ntoh and Lubens Myers combined for over 2,100 yards and 30 TDs last season and are one of the best running back combos statewide in 6A. The juniors should lead the Emmaus offense in 2017 and both are 1,000 yard threats and could push 3,000 yards as a duo. Ntoh is probably the better college prospect as a running back, while Myers future is probably at corner. Ntoh is a bull in the inside run game an can put it into gear in the open field, while Myers stretches the field and has the straight line speed to take it to the house if he gets a corner. Expect them to put up massive numbers behind an offensive line that returns all five starters, including three All EPC picks from a year ago. The unit averages 250 across and is super physical at the point of attack. The passing game has a major safety blanket in senior receiver Josh Artis, an FCS prospect who is a huge mismatch at 6’4 200 with great hands and athleticism. Artis is a two-time slam dunk champion at the Stellar Catch a Rising Star basketball tournament, and he really showcases those ups and athleticism on the football field. The key on offense will be senior quarterback Blake Reed. Reed filled in for Shaeffer last season after not taking a varsity snap on offense in 2016, and the rust showed. With a full offseason and camp to develop as a QB, Reed’s development will be the difference between Emmaus being a good team and a team that can really do damage come playoff time. The Defense: Emmaus led the EPC in sacks as a team last year, and brings back 9 starters on defense, including All EPC linebackers Noah Breidinger and Blake Reed. Reed is an edge rush specialist (though his QB duties may take away from his impact on defense) while Breidinger is a classic, downhill run stopper at middle linebacker who made 94 tackles as a junior. Myers has the tools to be one of the best corners in the eastern part of the state, and Artis is a rangy, ball hawking safety, who can deliver a blow in run support. They’ll need to fill the corner spot opposite of Myers, as more teams have gone spread in the EPC, strong play in the secondary with guys on an island is huge. The defensive line lost its leader in Kyle Carraher, but brings back the rest of its starters. They have a ton of size. Emmaus may also show more 3-4 this year to get a lot of their talented linebackers on the field. Expectations: On paper, this is the best team in the Lehigh Valley and the 6A favorites in D11. With a pair of 1,000 yard running backs, an impact, Division I wide receiver, an experienced offensive line, the best linebacking corps in the Valley, and a coaching staff that has won everything under the sun, this has all the makings of the best year in school history for the Green Hornets.