Big School 6A-4A:
Dion Bryant, sr., RB, Milton Hershey — If we had our vote, Bryant would win Performance of the Year. The electric senior put on a show for the ages in his final varsity game, eviscerating Red Land for an absurd 468 yards and seven touchdowns. He carried the rock an impressive 39 times. No other running back has come close to these numbers this year. Bryant will not get to show off his talents in the postseason; the Spartans’ season came to an end after a 4-6 campaign.
Jontae Morris, sr., RB, Cedar Cliff — It’s almost becoming mundane. Morris lines up behind the quarterback, takes a couple handoffs and finishes two hours later with 200 yards and a couple scores. The Colts senior did so again with a 228-yard, three-touchdown performance on 18 totes to lead Cedar Cliff (8-2, 6-1) to a 35-0 win over Mifflin County and a first-round home game in the District 3 Class 5A playoffs.
Jeremiah Hargrove, so., WR/RB/DB, Carlisle — The Thundering Herd (7-3, 4-3 Commonwealth) are back in the playoffs and have Hargrove to thank. Showing off his versatility, the receiver-turned back cranked out 110 yards and three scores (his second straight game with three TDs) on 14 carries to lead Carlisle to a mild 28-20 upset over CD East in comeback fashion, clinching the seventh seed in the District 3 Class 6A field. Hargrove scored on runs of 16, 2 and 40 yards.
Mehki Flowers, sr., WR, CD East — The Panthers were upset by Carlisle 28-20, but the future Penn State Nittany Lion torched the Herd despite torrential rains. Flowers finished with 194 yards on four receptions, an incredible 48.5 yards per grab, including a 92-yard catch that didn’t even end in the end zone. He scored a first-half TD on a screen he took 65 yards to the house.
Devin Shepherd, jr., RB/LB, East Pennsboro — The Panthers played spoiler Friday, drilling Mechanicsburg 43-0 to knock the Wildcats out of the playoffs. Shepherd did more than his fair share, scoring four times — three times on the ground — while rushing 11 times for 84 yards yards. His first TD was a 6-yard plunge early on, completed a 16-yard TD run that included picking up his own fumble at the 2, added his third rushing TD from 23 yards out and capped his day with a fumble recovery in the end zone on a blocked punt. He also had 5.5 tackles (2 TFLs).
Jacob Kauffman, sr., RB, Lower Dauphin — Kauffman helped the Falcons punch their ticket to the District 3 Class 5A playoffs, in one of the most surprising stories of the season. Kauffman scored on two long runs, added a 73-yard run and finished with 226 stripes on 27 carries. His 65-yard TD in the first cut Palmyra’s lead to 7-6, and his 67-yarder in the third put them up for good before LD finished off a 28-14 victory.
Richie Kowalski, sr., RB, Palmyra — It’s not often you see a running back eclipse 200 yards in a loss. Kowalski deserves a tip of the cap after his 17-carry, 204-yard performance in the Cougars’ 28-14 defeat at the hands of Lower Dauphin. He scored both Palmyra TDs, including an opening 77-yard score and a 3-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.
Marquese Williams, jr., RB, Bishop McDevitt — Williams closed out the Crusaders’ run to the top seed in Class 5A with a 193-yard, four-touchdown showcase to beat Hershey 49-0. McDevitt is 8-1 entering next week’s playoffs.
Amari Kerr, jr., RB, Shippensburg — The Greyhounds concluded a 10-0 season for the second time in the last three tries, popping Greencastle-Antrim 27-6. Ship rushed for more than 300 yards, with Amari Kerr chipping in 119 of those yards on 12 carries. He also scored on runs of 35 stripes and 5 yards.
Seth Laub, so, RB/LB, Juniata — Laub turned wrecking ball again last weekend, grinding out 129 yards on 11 carries while scoring three times in Juniata’s 52-20 dismantling of Susquenita. Laub scored on runs of 11, 33 and 10 yards as the Indians (8-2) wrapped up the Mid-Penn Liberty Division crown behind a powerful rushing attack that netted 315 yards just in the first half, a number that propelled Kurt Condo’s club to a 45-0 lead.
Small School: 3A-1A:
Tommy Corbin, so., LB, Camp Hill — Rain provided plenty of opportunities for defenders to pad their tackling stats, and Corbin did just that, racking up 13 takedowns in the Lions’ 7-0 victory over Trinity. The triumph ended Camp Hill’s (4-6, 1-4 Capital) six-game slide and handed the Shamrocks (3-6, 0-5) a fifth straight loss.
Trent Herrera, jr., RB, West Perry — Running yards were not hard to come by in weather conditions that forced teams to the ground across the Midstate. Herrera was among those to rip off 200 or more yards this weekend, finishing with 230 of them on 23 touches (a tidy 10 yards a carry) in the playoff-bound Mustangs’ 31-28 win over Susquehanna Township. Herrera scored three times, on runs of 58, 12 and 30 yards in the first half to build a 28-14 lead.
Joey Menke, sr., RB, Boiling Springs — The Bubblers capped off a banner regular season at 9-1, beat defending state Class 1A champ Steel-High 29-28 and won the Mid-Penn Capital. Menke was front and center in Week 10, producing 169 total offensive yards (18 carries for 128 yards; two catches for 41 yards). He scored the first TD of the game on a 9-yard trot that kickstarted an entertaining victory over the Rollers.
Nolan Baumert, so., RB/DB, Line Mountain — While Baumert opted to wear No. 8 — instead of his customary No. 6 — so he could pay tribute to injured teammate Jace Hackenburg on Senior Night, it didn’t slice into his productivity one bit as the Eagles (2-7, 2-3) cuffed James Buchanan 41-13. Baumert motored for 167 yards and touchdowns covering 42, 45 and 20 yards on just 14 attempts, but he also picked off a pass for the second straight week. He’ll get another chance to flash his game next week when Line Mountain meets perennial hammer Southern Columbia in the District 4 Class 2A playoffs.
Wil Laskowski, sr., QB/DB, Upper Dauphin — Laskowski is becoming a regular among the POTW crowd and rightfully so after completing all 10 of his pass attempts for 258 yards and three touchdowns in UDA’s 48-14 thumping of Newport. Laskowski also rushed five times for 42 yards and another score for the Trojans (8-1), who victimized their seventh consecutive opponent. They’ll go for No. 8 next weekend in the District 3 Class 2A semifinals.
Chase Lentz, sr., LB/OL, Upper Dauphin — Lentz uncorked another effective performance, collecting a team-high eight tackles as Upper Dauphin rumbled past Newport 48-14. Lentz also recorded four of the Trojans’ 13 tackles for loss as Kent Smeltz’s bunch limited the Buffs to just 105 yards on the ground. Before the night was over, Lentz even had the chance to carry the football one time, gaining 3 yards.
Kameron Wetzel, jr., RB/DB, Tri-Valley — Wetzel was on his game yet again this weekend, rushing 17 times for 84 yards and an insurance touchdown as the Bulldogs (8-1) claimed the Colonial-Schuylkill Blue title by blanking host Williams Valley 14-0. Already up 7-0, Wetzel cashed in from 7 yards out with two minutes left in the second quarter to send the Bulldogs into the break up two scores. Wetzel & Co. will begin their quest for a District 11 Class 1A championship next weekend when they host Mahanoy Area.
Reece Huntzinger, jr., LB, Tri-Valley — Huntzinger definitely made his presence felt between the tall pines as he racked up a team-high 15 tackles in Tri-Valley’s 14-0 whitewash of Williams Valley. Huntzinger also recorded a pair of quarterback sacks for the Bulldogs (8-1), who limited the high-octane Vikings to a mere 131 yards of total offense.