Big School 6A-4A:
Dillon Wakefield, sr., RB, Big Spring — The No. 10 Bulldogs, at long last, have won a playoff game in just their second ever appearance. Wakefield led the charge with 23 carries, 214 yards and three touchdowns in upending No. 7 Conrad Weiser 49-35. His first TD was a 3-yarder late in the first half, and he added scores of 31 and 11 yards. He also had six tackles (two for loss), a pass breakup and a blocked punt, plus he punted twice for a 52-yard average.
Eli Hasco, sr., LB, Big Spring — Despite the more than 909 combined yards between the two teams in Big Spring’s 49-35 upset of Conrad Weiser in the first round, defensive performances were not hard to come by. Hasco was flying around the ball and recorded 14 tackles (11 solo), two tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery as the Bulldogs forced three turnovers.
Talon Balluscio, jr., RB, Northern — The Polar Bears won their first playoff game since 2015, fending off Octorara 28-22 in the District 3 Class 4A opener. Balluscio ran for 137 yards and scored on a 2-yard run early on to stake Northern to an early lead.
Jacob Kauffman, sr., RB, Lower Dauphin — The Falcons lost to Cedar Cliff 31-18 in the 5A first round, but Kauffman did everything in his power to keep upstart LD in the game. He ran for 158 yards, added 74 yards receiving and scored on a 74-yard reception and a 20-yard run.
Aidan Mencia, sr., RB, Waynesboro — Mencia and Waynesboro more than doubled up No. 12 Daniel Boone 42-20 in the Class 5A first round. The senior put up one of the best rushing performances in the district this weekend, scoring twice and finishing with 200 yards on 18 touches. One of those touchdowns went for 35 yards.
Ethan Dorrell, jr., QB, Cedar Cliff — The Colts had to rely on their passing game a little more than normal in a tight 31-18 first-round win over Lower Dauphin. Dorrell came through just fine, finishing a tidy 13-of-17 for 163 yards, two touchdowns and an interceptions. He connected with Trenten Smith five times for 99 yards and a 61-yard score, plus hit Mike Armanini for a 3-yard TD.
Anthony Smith, sr., DE/TE, Shippensburg — The future Minnesota Gopher did a little of everything as a team effort propelled the Greyhounds (11-0) to a 43-16 win over New Oxford in the Class 5A first round. Smith scored a second-quarter TD on a 2-yard run and finished with three carries for 18 yards. He added another 18 yards on a reception. And he finished with two sacks on defense.
Terrell Reynolds, jr. LB, Harrisburg — Reynolds became the Cougars’ single-season sack leader Saturday, recording No. 19.5 in the midst of a 36-7 Class 6A first-round win over Carlisle. That’s more than Cougar greats like Micah Parsons, a first-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in the spring. Reynolds also added a blocked punt that rolled out of bounds for a safety as Harrisburg’s defense smothered Carlisle, allowing just 42 rushing yards and 104 passing while forcing three interceptions.
Zachary Harr, sr, RB/DB, Juniata — Harr inflicted plenty of damage Saturday afternoon, piling up 208 offensive yards in Juniata’s 41-12 triumph over Bellefonte, a victory that gave the Indians their second straight District 6 Class 4A championship. Harr rushed for 175 yards on just 10 attempts, scoring touchdowns that covered 19, 16 and 58 yards, respectively. He also caught a pair of passes for 33 yards as Kurt Condo’s squad collared its seventh straight victory and set up a scrap for a regional championship with Pittsburgh’s University Prep.
Small School: 3A-1A:
Joey Menke, sr., RB, Boiling Springs — Led by Menke and their vaunted Wing-T rushing attack, the No. 7 Bubblers won their first home playoff game in program history, thumping Lancaster Catholic 56-10 in the District 3 Class 3A opener. Menke scored two times to blow the doors off the Crusaders on runs of 74 and 38 yards, finished with 152 yards and crossed 1,000 for the season. The Bubblers had 340 rushing yards.
Tajae Broadie, sr., RB, Middletown — Broadie put up a 20-carry, 174-yard, three-touchdown performance to lead the fifth-ranked Blue Raiders over No. 4 West Perry 35-21 in the Class 3A first round. It was Broadie’s best performance of his career. He scored on runs of 2, 38 and and 13 yards, all in the middle two quarters. Broadie also added a team-best fiver receptions for 34 yards.
Logan Williard, jr., RB/LB, Williams Valley — Williard left his mark on Friday’s 35-25 come-from-behind victory over Nativity BVM, racking up double-digit tackle totals and returning an interception 27 yards for a score that helped ensure Williams Valley’s appearance in the District 11 Class 1A championship game. Williard totaled 10 stops as the Vikings downed Nativity for the second time in three weeks, but he also authored one pancake block from his fullback position, rushed once for 2 yards and hauled in a 5-yard reception.
Brady Evans, jr., WR/DB, Williams Valley — Williams Valley’s big-play wideout definitely influenced the Vikings’ postseason opener, as the 6-foot-3 Evans caught six passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns as Tim Savage’s bunch advanced to the District 11 Class 1A title game. Evans sandwiched touchdown balls thrown by Isaac Whiteash covering 45 and 19 yards around a 56-yard heave from halfback Alex Achenbach as the Vikes erased first-half deficits of 6-0 and 12-7. Evans also swiped a late Nativity BVM pass to close out Williams Valley’s latest win.
Alex Achenbach, so., RB/DB, Williams Valley — Achenbach enjoyed one of his typically productive outings in the opening round of the District 11 Class 1A playoffs, accounting for 268 yards from scrimmage and two scores as Williams Valley eliminated Nativity BVM 35-25. While Achenbach rushed 32 times for 159 yards — his TD run was waved off — he also caught a 53-yard touchdown pass and tossed a 56-yard TD throw as the Vikings scored 28 second-half points. Achenbach also recovered a Nativity fumble.
Kameron Wetzel, jr., RB/DB, Tri-Valley — Wetzel exploded in the Bulldogs’ 47-0 conquest of Mahanoy Area, rushing for 203 yards and three touchdowns on just 11 attempts as Tri-Valley eased into the District 11 Class 1A championship game. While Wetzel’s first touchdown run covered 60 yards, he’d go on to add a pair of 5-yard TD rushes as Jeff Sampson’s squad won going away. Wetzel also registered three tackles on defense.