Thursday, August 28, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #1 Brandon Chadbourn

1. Brandon Chadbourn

Bishop Guilfoyle 

6"1 190 SR. Quarterback/Safety 

2013 Offensive Stats - 863 passing yards. 10 touchdowns. 1,036 rushing yards. 12 touchdowns.
2013 Defensive Stats - 45 solo tackles. 8 interceptions.

The Scoop - Bishop Guilfoyle comes into the 2014 season with sky-high expectations. Guilfoyle has multiple players on preseason all state teams, they are in several preseason state rankings, and they rank #1 in our LHAC and District Six rankings as well. The Maruaders are just flat out loaded on paper, and a big reason why is their quarterback, Brandon Chadbourn. Throughout this 20 player list, I struggled and reshuffled many times with the order, but Chadbourn kept coming up at number one throughout all of my rough drafts. The future Villanova Wildcat is a special player, and he is due for a very big season.
                  Chadbourn is given a lot of responsibilities for this offense, and he seems to thrive with the added pressure. Not only does he orchestrate a solid passing game, he led BG in rushing yards last season. He has a smooth running style with a great burst once he hits the edge.. His versatility causes fits for opposing defenses, and opens up the BG offense to many different chances. Chadbourn is also a top notch Safety and is one of the best players around at the position. He always seems to be around for the big play, and his 8 interceptions are evidence of that.  It could be one of those memorable seasons for Bishop Guilfoyle, and Chadbourn is one of those players that help make those  kind of seasons possible. Get out and see this team, they should be fun to watch. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #2 Caleb Kephart

2. Caleb Kephart 


5'8" 175 SR Running Back/Linebacker
2013 Offensive Stats - 1,438 rushing yards. 19 touchdowns. 12 catches 231 yards. 4 touchdowns 
2013 Defensive Stats - 58 solo tackles. 3 TFL.  1 sack. 3 fumble recoveries. 

The Scoop - Caleb Kephart has been one of the best running backs in the area for the past two seasons with career marks 2,633 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns. There is every reason to believe this can be another big time season for the Portage back. Kephart has surprising strength for his stature, but also has the good speed to get it to the outside. Like many backs that have a lot of success, Kephart's vision really sets him apart and he avaerages an impressive 9.8 yards per carry in his two seasons as the featured back for the Mustangs. Kephart added 12 catches last season, and that brings in another element to his game. Kephart is a home run threat, and is a big part to their kick return game as well. Defensively, Kephart is an instinctful linebacker that is always around the ball. He should be an anchor again for this defense.Portage is expected to have another big year, and it could be one that sees them make a run to Mansion Park, go check out these Mustangs and watch Kephart go to work. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ten Games to watch: Week One 8/29-8/30

10. Everett at Chestnut Ridge
Friday 7:00
Everett will look to make some noise after a somewhat disappointing 4-7 season. The Warriors have some talent in place, and they will have an added emphasis on a strong ground game under new coach Jerry Fabian. It will be interesting to see Kyle Shaeffer's role in this offense as he is certainly the team's primary playmaker. Jacob Jay is a solid back himself, and I would expect both of them to see a bulk of the touches on offense. The main question surrounding Everett, will they have a line in place to block a strong Chestnut Ridge defense fronted by Matt Wiley and Noah Osman?  
The Lions did graduate some good players from a 9 win team last year, but they have more than enough around to be a really good football team in 2014. Many are thinking Bedford in District 5, but I'm intrigued by Chestnut Ridge. I want to see how they develop a quarterback, and see which direction the offense goes this season. 

My call - I think this has the chance to be a close game, because I do believe in the play of Shaeffer and Jay. Everett is always a physical football team, and they will not back down to Ridge on the road.  Chestnut Ridge has a strong team, and I think the main thing is we are still unsure if they can be just OK or a really good team.  I think they take that first step to being a really good team in this one and pull away from Everett in the second half. 

Lions 28 Warriors 14

9. Shade at Berlin
Friday 7:00 Snyder's Sports Complex
Shade is looking to make a third straight trip to the district playoffs, a rarity for a school that has struggled on the gridiron for many years. The Panthers have developed some confidence as a program, and they are being given a huge opportunity for a statement by getting league favorite Berlin in week one. Are the Panthers ready for this kind of showdown? They just may be as they only graduated 5 seniors from last year's district semifinal team, and return nearly the entire line that produced a solid rushing attack in 2014. 

Berlin should be eager to get back on the field after a humbling 42-14 defeat in last season's district championship game. The Mountaineers will center their attack around their sensational running back, Braden Fochtman. The junior running back already has prolific rushing numbers, and his career will be watched closely from here on out to see if he can break any kind of records, you know posting a 2,000 yard season as a sophomore will certainly put you on a lot of people's radars. Berlin is a good team beyond their star back, as they are pegged as one of the favorites in the WestPac and District 5. 

My Call - Last year's game resulted in a 49-0 victory for Berlin, but I believe it can be closer in 2014. Shade is a year older, and they have some big game experience. The key against Berlin all year will be to slow down Fochtman, because it will be too hard to stop him altogether. Still, Berlin has a good defense that shut down Shade last season and it could very well happen again.

Mountaineers 35 Panthers 7

8. Forest Hills at Bishop McCort
Saturday 7:00 Point Stadium 

Forest Hills enters the 2014 season as one of the favorites to win District Six AA, and it is for easy to see why. Don Bailey will call on Joe Donoughe to run the show for the third straight season, and the senior playcaller is most certainly one of the best QB's in the entire area. The Rangers had their struggles in 2013, but with an offense filled with weapons, a line with more experience, and still that same Ranger coaching staff, this will be a much improved team from their 7-5 mark last season. 

Bishop McCort is coming off one of the worst seasons in school history, but will now turn the page with a new coach, Jerry Davitch. McCort has talent, no doubt about it, but will they be able to piece it all together? They had talent but were unable to get it done in 2013, perhaps a new start is something the team needed. Levi Cook is a promising young quarterback, and should have the offense operating strongly. The defense is expected to be a strength and it could carry them early on in this season. 

My Call - When McCort and Forest Hills get together, chances are you are going to see a good football game. Both programs have been so consistent through the years, and even last year when McCort had an abysmal season, it was still a great battle in week two when these teams got together. Forest Hills is clearly in better shape right now, and they should walk into the Point Stadium and walk away with a win. Period.  Still, I think McCort is up and coming with plenty of sophomores and freshmen expected to contribute. It could be a chance for the young Crushers to prove themselves.

Rangers 31 Crimson Crushers 14

7. Ligonier Valley at Northern Cambria
Friday 7:00
Ligonier is coming off a disappointing end to the 2013 season, after a big 6-0 start the Rams ended with five consecutive losses, including a pair of 46-6 decisions to close out the year. They will have to try to find a way to replace Alec Bloom's production in the offense. Jordan Jones is a guy that should see a lot more chances on offense, as he is a big 6'4" target himself.  The offense is going to depend a lot on Collin Smith's play. The kid has all the tools and got some experience last year, and I really think he is the next big thing in the Heritage Conference. 

Northern Cambria had an up and down 2013, but showed some promise later in the season. The Colts actually edged Ligonier last year 35-34, and will look to carry that game plan into this year. Northern Cambria will have to turn to a trio of juniors to carry the offense. Joey Olish looks to be a solid receiver, and Tyler Pershing is a promising quarterback that can move.  Adam Weiland will be the main man getting carries.  They should be able to score the ball, but the defense is something "new" coach Frank Paronish needs to improve.

My Call - This is a huge game with a big opportunity for both teams to get off to a big start. Having the game at home will be big for Northern Cambria, and with Paronish returning to the sidelines should put a buzz in the air.  Ligonier on the other hand could be a surprise team in this league. They lost so much and they are turning to a sophomore QB to run the show, but the kid can really play. I think he has a big day in his first start at QB and leads Ligonier to a win. 

Rams 28 Colts 14

6. Conemaugh Township at Windber 
Friday 7:00 Windber Stadium
Windber has a big alumni night planned, and it will kick-off the final year of the currently configured Windber stadium before it is rebuilt. It will be an emotional night, and a very fun atmosphere, and let's hope it stays clean between these two rivals after last year's debacle with the local police and some coaches. On to the game itself, this should be a good one. Neither team is in their usual form, but there is some talent and exciting players for both sides.  Windber will look to replace all of their big skilled position players, but with a quarterback like Jake Podrasky having some varsity experience at QB and an athlete like Jared Maurizio running the ball, the Ramblers should be fine on offense.

Conemaugh Township is "young" and I don't always like that term because these kids have a three to four year window to play high school football, but in this case it really does fit. Township expects to play a lot of their sophomores and some of their freshmen, it will be a team that learns on the fly, and I think it is a group that will be exciting to watch grow over these next few years, starting on Friday night.

My Call - I think with all the hoopla surrounding the game will put in some extra motivation for Windber. Still, Township will love to spoil the party. This is one of the better rivalry games around, but it sometimes can get overlooked.  I think Windber is going to gut this one out, and I think they actually have a few more play-makers.

Ramblers 27 Indians 20

5. Homer Center at Penns Manor
Friday 7:00
Homer Center has a lot to prove going into this year, as being the defending champs can be a burden. The Wildcats lost a good bit of their power running game with Newhouse graduating along with a good bit of the line, still they have a few players in place to keep themselves in contention for a second straight Heritage Conference title. Aaron Berezansky should get some credit for operating a district six championship offense at QB, and Ean Lee is a returning 1,000 yard rusher.  Homer Center's cupboard is far from bare, and I think they want to prove they are still capable of winning at a high level this year. 

Penns Manor is a team very similar to Homer Center, and matched their season for the most part until the head to head meeting. Penns Manor was hanging, and all the sudden Homer Center turned it on and left the Comets in the dust. Penns Manor can play with them again, but it will be a new group of kids making the plays. Bailey Mumau and Steven Dumm are two kids I expect to have big years in Bill Packer's offense. Like Homer Center, replenishing the line and defense is something they will be trying to do.

My Call - All in all, this can be a very good football game as it was for the most part last season. Both teams will be counting on their skill players to break some big plays as they look for consistency in their offenses, and I give the nod to Homer Center in that regard. Lee is a good back, Berezansky can make plays, and Matt McAdoo is someone to keep an eye on in this offense.  I like what Penns Manor is capable of down the line, but week one I think Homer is better equipped to take this one, even on the road. 

Wildcats 30 Comets 21

4. Bishop Guilfoyle at Richland 
Friday 7:00 Herlinger Field
All it takes is one year to have a complete role reversal. Richland was the team with the strong senior class, the star players, the expectations...they had it all. Now it is time to start it all over again. Richland will essentially suit up an entirely brand new team this year with 20 starters gone from last year's LHAC championship team. Jonny Kutchman is a quarterback that Coach Brandon Bailey likes a lot, and he should have the offense moving well. Dom Farina and Colby Warshel are guys that should help spread the field and allow Richland to continue to play how the like to, still there will be so many new faces everywhere else. Only one lineman back and only a few kids come back on D, this team may be pretty good in a few weeks, but week one certainly presents a lot of question marks. 

Bishop Guilfoyle on the other hand is the team with all of the expectations to not only win the LHAC, but to win the district as well. Brandon Chadbourn is the star of the show, and the Villanova recruit is a special player and makes things happen all the time. Sam McCloskey is his partner in crime, and the senior back is someone that is capable of making big plays happen himself. The Maraduers have it all with very skilled offensive players, a tough group of defenders, size, speed, talent, looks great on paper, but it will be fun to see them do it on a Friday night with the focus all on them.

My Call - Could this be a passing of the LHAC torch for this season?  I'm sure Richland would not like to think that way. The Rams have bred a winning mindset, and their kids won't back down from the predicted league favorite, but it does come down the guys on the field, and Guilfoyle simply is ahead right now. It has been fun thinking of what this BG team is capable of this season, and I think a lot of us are ready to see it in action.  I like BG to make the statement in this one.

Marauders 42 Rams 20

3.Central Cambria at Johnstown
Friday 7:00 Trojan Stadium

I think this game is so important for both teams, and it can really lead to big things for the team to come out on top. Johnstown has a lot to prove, and there is just no way around that. 6 combined wins over the past two years is simply not good enough, and nobody in that program will deny it. Johnstown has all the tools to have one of the best teams in the league, and Friday can be a great chance to show they put the past two seasons away, and the 2014 version of the Trojans is a better all around product. Jeremy Updyke is a good QB that has the luxury of the district best receiving corps, and I don't think that's disputable. Johnstown has some kids that can go up and make the play like Kareem Gibson, Willie Robinson, and Kevin Brandon. Johnstown has to have the offensive production they are capable of, and that will just put less pressure on their defense.

Central Cambria is a team with an equal amount to prove. Sure they made the playoffs, but sitting at 5-1 and finishing 6-5 cannot sit well with this group. They have a great start with Will Seymour running the show. He is one of the best players around, and he will battle for this team. Kerry Kirsch is an exciting back that can make some plays, but overall Central Cambria is not the biggest quick strike offense. Seymour and company should be at their best when they are controlling the line of scrimmage and rolling the time of possession. I think they have a team capable of that, and they should be an improved group all around from last year.

To be honest, this is a game I have been having real trouble with for a few days now. On one hand I want to believe Johnstown is better and this offense can be high-flying through the air. On the other hand, I trust that Central Cambria's sound 35-14 victory last year can happen again, especially with a senior running the show.  I'm going with Central Cambria in this one, and past history helps with that. Johnstown has seemed to struggle with the Red Devils, even on the best years, and even on some of Central Cambria's worst years. The fast track of Trojan Stadium should benefit Johnstown, because it seems CC's muddy field is something that played into those upsets in the past, still I'm going with the Red Devils.

Red Devils 22 Trojans 18

2. Central at Tussey Mountain
Friday 7:00
Having two defending district champions square off in week one is an excellent way to start the football season. Tussey Mountain is a team that still has some firepower from their District Five title team, while Central is a team that will look almost completely different. Even with Central's departures, nobody is counting them out of anything yet with the type of skill and depth they currently have in their younger classes, it will almost be one of those reloads, not rebuilds. Noah Benton looks like a very capable quarterback, and he has plenty of athletes to throw and hand off to in this offense. The Scarlet Dragons won't be short on talent, and they will have some new stars developed in no time. 

Tussey is a team that brings a good deal of talent with them from 2013. Quinn Barnett is a quarterback that threw for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior, and should be poised for another big year in his final go round. The Titans also boast one of the area's top players in Daniel Taylor, as he was a player that posted 25 touchdowns on offense last season. With those kind of skilled players, it's easy to figure out Tussey's strong points. The Titans did lose some key contributors, and some new guys will definitely have to take on larger roles so teams can't key on Taylor all the time. 

My Call - Tussey Mountain and Central have had two very different offseasons, but both should be anxious to get back out there, and the buzz surrounding this game should be very high. Tussey Mountain will want to prove they can hang with a AA team, as Central is bigger and stronger and they have more depth.  The Dragons still have plenty of questions marks coming into this game, but it will be good to finally see some start to get answered. Despite Tussey Mountain's presence of impact players, I think the squad from Martinsburg takes this one.

Dragons 34 Titans 22

1. Bellwood-Antis at Tyrone
Friday 7:00 Grey-Vets Memorial Field

No matter the expectations, the Backyard Brawl is still the Backyard Brawl. Bellwood and Tyrone both have different dynamics, but like any year, both are expected to compete for a district crown in their respective classes. Bellwood-Antis will look a lot different from the past few years, with a chance that this offense may be more pass oriented.  Jake Burch is a promising quarterback that handled himself well as a sophomore, and I think he is set for a couple of big seasons ahead.  The Blue Devils also have a strong group returning on defense. This is a program that always has that next man up mentality, so I think they will be ready for this one.

Tyrone is getting the nod from a few people to be the best team in District Six AA, but losing a two year starting quarterback (Erik Wagner) and a prolific running back (James Oliver) should slow therm down somewhat to start the year.  The Golden Eagles have a talented bunch in place, and it will be fun to watch them develop on the fly in such a big game with a new head coach in Jason Wilson. Garrett Hunter is the man set to run the offense, and he will be surrounded by a good group of skilled players and a solid line in place to protect him. All things considered, the Golden Eagles have it all on paper, but it will be a matter of taking that into a game situation.

My Call - Tyrone is the bigger and stronger team with more depth, but that is the case almost every year. John Hayes and his Bellwood teams play with big heart, and they are so well coached they can hang with Tyrone despite being outmatched physically at times. I look for this to be a competitive game, but ultimately one where Tyrone pulls away late. The Golden Eagles have more weapons on both sides of the ball, it's that simple.

Golden Eagles 34 Blue Devils 22

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #3 Bryce Mostoller

3. Bryce Mostoller


6'3" 240 SR Tight End/Defensive End

2013 Offensive Stats - 27 catches. 466 receiving yards. 4 touchdowns. 
2013 Defensive Stats - 41 solo tackles. 10 sacks. 

The Scoop - Bryce Mostoller turned in a a big junior season, and it was recognized as an all state performance by the PA Football Writers. The big imposing Mostoller is one of the best two way players in the area, and can have an equal impact on both sides of the ball. As a tight end, Mostoller was the leading receiver for the Golden Eagles in 2013, and shows great athleticism for a player his size. He can make big plays in the passing game, but with his size he can make equally as important plays as a blocker to propel Somerset's running game. On the defensive side of the ball is where he really stands out, as he is one of the catalysts to one of the better defenses in the area. He has the power to knock over tackles and has surprising quickness to track down quarterbacks.  Overall, Mostoller is a gamer and should see some looks for the next level. Mostoller has been receiving some interest from a few schools in the Patriot League like Lafayette and Lehigh along with 4-5 other schools, but with another big year a few more schools may come calling. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #4 Daniel Taylor

4. Daniel Taylor

Tussey Mountain

5'10" 160 SR Running Back/Cornerback

2013 Offensive Stats - 1,434 Rushing Yards. 21 Touchdowns. 16 catches. 358 receiving yards. 4 touchdowns 
2013 Defensive Stats - 30 solo tackles. 1 sack. 3 interceptions

The Scoop - Tussey Mountain had one of their best seasons in school history last year, and Daniel Taylor was one of the big reasons why. The senior back was a part of a two-headed rushing monster last season with Darrin Sipes, but it will be all Taylor this season with Sipes having graduated. Topping a 1,400 yard 21 touchdown season will be tough, but Taylor will have every opportunity to do so. Taylor has good hands and  is a complete offensive force Tussey can ride deep into the postseason. Not only can he play offense, Taylor came up with 3 picks and 9 pass deflections at corner last season and is one of the better defensive backs in the ICC. The Titans are the defending champions, and with a guy like Taylor a repeat is in the cards. They will be tested early with a game against defending District Six AA champions Central in week one. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #5 Kareem Gibson

5. Kareem Gibson


5'10" 170 SR Wide Receiver/Cornerback

2013 Offensive Stats - 19 catches. 376 yards. 4 touchdowns.
2013 Defensive Stats - 19 solo tackles. 1 TFL. 1 interception. 

The Scoop - Kareem Gibson is one heck of a football player, and it is easy to see why the kid will be continuing his career for the University of Virginia in the ACC next season. Gibson is a complete player with a big skills set, and he can do so much for Johnstown this season. The Trojans have a big passing game planned, and Gibson can easily be one of the most productive receivers in the area with a good QB like Jeremy Updyke throwing him the ball. The Cavalier-to-be can be a very good runner, and perhaps Johnstown gets the ball in his hands that way also.  He is elusive in the open field, and has the jets to burn just about anyone.  Now we can talk about the real name of Gibson's game - defense. Gibson is a preseason all state corner for a reason. He can lock down defenders, and most offenses don't even bother throwing towards him anyway. Gibson is also a very good tackler, and is surprisingly physical given his size.  He will excel in college, and could have Johnstown as one of the surprise teams in the LHAC this season.  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #6 Braden Fochtman

6. Braden Fochtman

Berlin Brothersvalley

5'8" 171 JR Running Back

2013 Offensive Stats - 2,053 Rushing Yards. 23 Touchdowns. 
2013 Defensive Stats - 11 solo tackles. 2 TFL.  1 interception.

The Scoop - Not many football players can make it look easy, but that's exactly what Braden Fochtman does on a weekly basis. Fochtman took over as the team's primary running back last season as a sophomore, and all he did was finish 11th in the state in rushing yards, while comfortably leading the area in yardage as well. Fochtman has a smooth running style, and he has excellent vision. He knows when to make the cut, and when to turn on the jets. Fochtman is an exciting player, and has the ability to turn a little gain into a touchdown...every time. The Mountaineers' back went over the 300 yard mark in a game twice last year, and has that kind of potential in every game he plays in this season. Fochtman has a little over 2,500 career yards and still has two seasons to go, with a good start this year, he can begin to put his sights on making the state's all-time top twenty rushing list. Go check this kid out, you won't be disappointed. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #7 Joe Donoughe

7. Joe Donoughe 

Forest Hills

6'1" SR. 175 Quarterback/Safety

2013 Offensive Stats - 1,775 Passing Yards. 12 Touchdowns. 545 Rushing Yards. 13 Touchdowns. 
2013 Defensive Stats - 10 solo tackles. 5 interceptions. 2 fumble recoveries

The Scoop - Joe Donoughe is a really good quarterback. The senior from Forest Hills has a quick release, strong arm, and great mobility. Donoughe has carried this offense for two years, and it looks like everything has come together for a big season in 2014.  The Rangers have an offense with a number of weapons, and an offensive line that should give Donoughe more support in pass protection. The past two years saw Donoughe running around and improvising plays, and he is really good at that, but he should be able to sit back longer and make more crisp throws. I look for his passing numbers to really go up this season, and it could be a big year for the Rangers overall. Not only has Donoughe been one of the best quarterbacks over the past two years, he proved to be a very good ball-hawking safety capable of making momentum swinging plays. Donoughe came up with five acrobatic and important interceptions last season, and really helps form a great secondary with Blough. The Rangers are on the short list as favorites in District Six, and having an experienced leader like Donoughe really gives them a leg up on the competition. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #8 Trevon Walker

8. Trevon Walker

Mt. Union

6'4" 195 SR Quarterback/Safety

2013 Offensive Stats - 1,344 Passing Yards. 20 Touchdowns. 368 Rushing Yards. 5 Touchdowns.
2013 Defensive Stats - 12 tackles. 2 interceptions. 2 fumble recoveries.

The Scoop - Trevon Walker is a good old fashioned gunslinger back in the pocket. Walker rears back and fires a fast ball as good as any quarterback you will see in District Six. Walker helped lead Mt. Union to one of their better seasons in recent memory, and there is all the reason in the world to think they could possibly even top their 2013 record of 9-2 .  Walker is a strong-armed QB, but does have solid escape ability and can cover a lot of ground with his long strides. He isn't a running quarterback, but has the tools to make plays with his feet, but he's definitely at his best spreading the ball around to his receivers. Walker also came up with a few big plays on defense, and being one of Mt. Union's best players, he will see time on that side of the ball again.  Walker is so valuable to this team and he has the potential to really lead Mt. Union to a special season, as they are firmly in the ICC championship race, and also the District Six AA hunt as well. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #9 Shareef Blough

9. Shareef Blough

Forest Hills

5'10" 190 Wide Receiver/Cornerback

2013 Offensive Stats - 631 Rushing Yards. 7 Touchdowns. 34 Catches. 528 yards. 2 Touchdowns. 
2013 Defensive Stats - 44 solo tackles. 7 Interceptions. 

The Scoop - Every high school team has a player or two that has the versatility to play multiple positions, but the thing is ....very few are as good as Shareef Blough. Blough does not have a true position on offense, and I think that's the way Don Bailey likes it, because he can use him in so many different ways. Blough is a smooth runner that happened to lead the Rangers in rushing last season despite not being the team's starting running back to begin the year. Forest Hills struggled at times establishing the run, but Blough was able to open up the offense when they needed him. Blough also was the team's leading receiver, and looks just as natural running routes as he is running with the ball in his hands. He's good enough to be the team's best player at both positions. Blough led the team in interceptions, and is easily one of the better cornerbacks in the area also. His athleticism allows for him to be a factor in the return game as well. Blough can flat out play football, and he makes an impact at so many different spots throughout the course of a game. Teams have to be mindful of where he is at all times, because he is a big play waiting to happen. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #10 Deion Robinson

10. Deion Robinson


6'0" 170 Running Back/Safety

2013 Offensive Stats: 1,130 Rushing Yards. 17 Touchdowns. 26 Catches. 308 Receiving Yards. 1 Touchdown 
2013 Defensive Stats: 31 solo tackles. 1.5 sacks. 
Highlights: N/A

The Scoop - Blairsville is everyone's favorite for the Heritage Conference this season. The Bobcats seem to have it all, the experience, the veteran senior quarterback in Scott Thompson, and the play-making running back. Yes, the running back. Deion Robinson enters the 2014 season as the man in the Heritage Conference, and he is ready to show all of District Six what he can do. Robinson had a very productive junior season that saw eclipse the 1,000 yard mark rushing the ball. Not only does he get it going on the ground, he proved to be one of the better receiving running backs in the area as he hauled in 26 catches. Running backs that can do both are very valuable, and I think it is going to set Robinson up for a big year in 2014.  The Bobcat senior also showed he is a big part of their defense as he was second on the team in tackles.  Blairsville has the bulls eye painted on their back by just about everyone this season, and I think they have what it takes to back it up, and Robinson is a very big part of that.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #11 Austin Montgomery

11. Austin Montgomery


6'1" 190 JR. Quarterback/Safety

2013 Offensive Stats - 1,306 Passing Yards. 9 touchdowns. 520 Rushing yards. 14 Touchdowns. 
2013 Defensive Stats - N/A

The Scoop - Not everyone can operate a triple-option offense to perfection, but Austin Montgomery seemed to do OK with it as a sophomore. Well, more than OK. Montgomery had the Bison rolling over the opposition on the ground last season as the offense was clicking on all cylinders. Not many people expected Bedford to be a top notch team last year, but the emergence of Montgomery and the sophomore class elevated this team to a championship contender. Now this season, Bedford has a target on their back as they are fully in the conference championship picture. Montgomery can really sling it too, and that makes the running game all the more dangerous. You have to respect every aspect of Montgomery's game, and sometimes that can be overwhelming for opposing defenses. Bedford is legit, they could win a lot of football games this year - go check them out as soon as you can. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #12 Duane Boone

12. Duane Boone


6'2" 200 Defensive End/Tight End

2013 Offensive Stats: 7 catches. 79 yards. 1 touchdown. 
2013 Defensive Stats: 15.5 tackles for loss. 7 sacks. 2 fumble recoveries. 

The Scoop - It is not a great quarterback or a prolific running back leading Tyrone this season as the favorites of district six, but a powerful defensive end. His name is Duane Boone, and he is very, very good at football. Boone plays the game with an intense motor, and wreaks havoc in opposing backfields play after play. You look at Boone's stats, and then you watch his film, and you can see his does much more than what is on maxpreps page. Boone bats down passes with his long arms, he forces fumbles like it's his job, and can do so many things that it makes him one of the best defensive lineman in the area. Boone is athletic enough to stand up and drop back into coverage in a hybrid outside linebacker role, but he's also strong enough to stick his hand in the ground and bull rush a tackle right over. Boone jumps off the film if you ask me, and this Tyrone defense has a chance to be special.  Boone could also come into play on the offensive side of the ball, as they do have a new quarterback to break in this season. Expect to see him catch more than 7 passes this season.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #13 Ean Lee

13. Ean Lee

Homer Center

6'1" 187 Running Back/Defensive Back

2013 Offensive Stats - 1,153 Rushing Yards. 12 Touchdowns.  9 catches. 93 Yards. 1 Touchdown.
2013 Defensive Stats - 2 Interceptions.

The Scoop - Homer Center had a dream season in 2013 that included a Heritage Conference title and a victory over Bishop Guilfoyle in the District Six championship game. The Wildcats were paced by a thunder/lightning running approach with Mike Newhouse powering away, and Ean Lee using his speed to around defenders. Now with the graduation of Newhouse, a lot of the offense's weight will fall on the back of Ean Lee - and he will be ready to carry the load. The senior back brings a good blend of size and speed to the table, as he looks more than capable of exploding for a big season in 2014. Homer Center lost a lot of players from their championship team, and many are questioning if they will be back in the race this year. With Lee still around, Aaron Berezansky and company as well, don't expect the Wildcats to fall off the map just yet, they can still play. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #14 Logan Eller

14. Logan Eller


6'0" 200 Linebacker

2013 Offensive Stats - N/A
2013 Defensive Stats - 82 solo tackles. 4 sacks. 1 interception. 1 fumble recovery.

The Scoop - The list does not consist of very many defense-only players, but not many defenders are all-state linebacker Logan Eller. The Somerset Golden Eagles' man in the middle is one of the better linebackers in the whole state. His 2013 season earned him recognition on the all-state team, and almost every local accolade available. Eller keyed a Somerset defense that was one of the area's best, and will likely be again this season. The Golden Eagles had a big year last year, and with all that is set in place, it could be even better in 2014. Eller flies sideline to sideline making life miserable on opposing offenses. He hits hard and has a knack for the play. Eller could be making another run at an all-state season, all the while Somerset makes a deep run into the state playoffs. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #15 Sam McCloskey

15. Sam McCloskey

Bishop Guilfoyle
5'11" 190 Running Back/Safety

2013 Offensive Stats: 862 Rushing Yards. 8 Touchdowns. 231 Receiving Yards. 4 Touchdowns. 
2013 Defensive Stats: 31 solo tackles. 3 interceptions. 1 fumble recovery.

The Scoop - Bishop Guilfoyle has big plans this season, and Sam McCloskey is a big reason why. There is not much the versatile McCloskey can't do. Running the ball? Check. McCloskey was second on the team in rushing last season and helps form one of the area's most lethal rushing attacks.  Catch the ball? Sure. He also was the second leading receiver for Marauders and provides a great receiving option out of the backfield. Tackle? Yep. McCloskey helped make BG one of the toughest D's around, and he is a big hitter from the secondary. McCloskey came up with three interceptions last year also. He is just a guy that makes himself very involved in every single play, and he's fun to watch. Bishop Guilfoyle is going to be really good this season, I mean realllllly good. You'll have your chances to watch them play, take advantage. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #16 Luke Dividock

16. Luke Dividock


6'0 175 JR Running Back/Linebacker

2013 Offensive Stats - 857 rushing Yards. 7 touchdowns. 11 catches. 103 receiving yards.
2013 Defensive Stats - 64 solo tackles. 4 interceptions. 1 fumble recovery.

The Scoop - Portage has one of the best 1-2 punches in all of district six, and Luke Dividock is part one. Sometimes overshadowed by Caleb Kephart, Dividock actually could be the go-to-guy for a lot of teams - he is that good. The junior back has already managed to rush for 1,501 yards in the first two years of his career while not being the primary running back, and that right there should tell you what kind of running game Portage possesses. The Mustangs have a lot of pieces in place to make a run for a trip to the district final, and Dividock's play will be a big reason why.  Not only is Dividock a solid back, but the young Mustang proves to be one of the best linebackers in the WestPac.  All around, pound for pound, Dividock is a very good and underrated player.  Check him out this year, as Portage should be making noise all season long.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #17 Will Seymour

17. Will Seymour

Central Cambria

6'0" 220 SR. Quarterback/Safety

2013 Offensive Stats: 1,220 Passing yards. 6 Touchdowns. 696 Rushing Yards. 14 Touchdowns. 
2013 Defensive Stats: 39 total tackles. 1 interception. 1 fumble recovery.

The Scoop - Just watch a minute of Will Seymour's highlights, and you will see right away he is not your everyday running quarterback. Seymour is built like a power running back, and can flat out run people over. Central Cambria was in cruise control last season at the early part of the schedule, and Seymour was a big reason why. Still CC faded down the stretch, but I think the Red Devils could be a dark-horse to win the Section I crown of the LHAC. A lot of talk is about Guilfoyle and Forest Hills, but do not sleep on this team. Seymour is a special player, and can keep them around in any game. His physical style of play translates well to the defensive side of the ball also.  If he chooses to continue his playing career into college football, whatever team he ends up with is getting one heck of a football player. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #18 Matt Wiley

18. Matt Wiley

Chestnut Ridge
6'2" 200 Running Back/Linebacker

2013 Offensive Stats: 1,127 Rushing Yards. 13 Touchdowns.
2013 Defensive Stats: 132 Total Tackles. 1 interception. 1 fumble recovery.

The Scoop - Sometimes you may forget about Chestnut Ridge. After all they are independent, and play a different kind of schedule. So maybe you never heard of Matt Wiley - well, now you have heard of him. Wiley plays middle linebacker like a man possessed and hits you, and then he hits you some more. The Lions' man in the middle is one of the area's best linebackers as he seems to gravitate to the ball and makes big play after big play. Not only is Wiley a superb linebacker, but he led Chestbut Ridge in rushing and will do the same this season. He averaged 6 yards a carry, and may have to take on a bigger role without Beau Bosch playing QB.  You might want to check out Ridge this season, and you won't be disappointed. I'd recommend the Bedford game in particular, because that game is going to be a battle. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #19 Grant Syster

19. Grant Syster 

Purchase Line
5'10" 187 SR. Running Back/Linebacker 

2013 Offensive Stats: 1,593 Rushing Yards. 14 Touchdowns. 
2013 Defensive Stats: N/A

The Scoop - Here is another player you may not know about, but you soon will. Grant Syster is trying to put Purchase Line back on the map this season, and he might just do it.  The Heritage Conference could be more wide open than ever this season, and perhaps the Dragons make some serious noise. Syster is a very good running back, and I mean really good. He may not be the fastest or shiftiest back on this list, but he has great vision. He can hit the hole and is seemingly one step ahead of the defenders every time. He is a workhorse back that plays the game with a physical style. Syster is a good stand up Defensive End/Outside Linebacker hybrid, and can really come up and make big plays in the backfield. Again, maybe Purchase Line might not have been a team you were planning on watching this season, but I bet you didn't know the have a player this good.  Go see this kid, he can play. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

D6SN Top 20 Impact Players for 2014: #20 Eric Sherkel

20. Eric Sherkel

Moshannon Valley
6'0" 180 JR Quarterback/Safety

2013 Offensive Stats: 940 passing yards. 11 Touchdowns. 1,150 rushing yards. 13 touchdowns.
2013 Defensive Stats: 17 Tackles. 4 Interceptions.

The Scoop - Sherkel is definitely one of the better players you probably never heard of, but you will after this season. Sherkel is the Superman for the Black Knights offense - no seriously, check out that Superman dive in his highlight video. The dual-threat QB that runs the Mo Valley offense is a silky-smooth open field runner with the ability to make the big throws. Moshannon Valley is looking to work their way back into the playoffs, and behind Sherkel's play, that seems to be a real possibility. His talents do not stop on the offensive side of the ball, as he could probably be listed as one of the best defensive backs in the ICC. Sherkel is the real deal, make your way to Houtzdale, PA if you get the chance this season.