1. Dylan Rabuck, RB, Williams Valley: Trying to figure out which is more impressive for the 6-0, 190-pound senior, the 42 touchdowns rushing in 13 games or being less than 100 yards from a 3,000-yard season? The big boys up front share in those accomplishments, but the burst in the open field is all Rabuck. A big part of the offense for the undefeated Vikings, but he’s not a one-trick pony. Williams Valley has some other weapons and they might need them with Rabuck battling a bad wheel (ankle) for this one.
2. Nazir Burnett and T’nyis Becker, WR, Bishop McDevitt: The dynamic junior duo at wideout for the Crusaders has become a force paired with fellow junior Chase Diehl at quarterback. Burnett and Becker each have 52 catches this season for a total of 1,951 yards and 19 touchdowns. Burnett averages 21.3 yards per catch, while Becker checks in at 16.2 yards per grab. They are two very different receivers and McDevitt uses them in a variety of ways. The common denominator is either one can take it the distance in a hurry. Keeping them both in check is a very tall ask of any defense.
3. Christian Arrington, LB, Cumberland Valley: Every strong defense needs a playmaker in space to seal the deal and for the Eagles that’s Arrington. The parts around him are good enough that he can roam around and look for the big-splash plays that have the most impact. The Eagles have surrendered more than two touchdowns in a game only three times this season, so getting to 21 is a tall order against CV. Arrington leads the team with 46 solo tackles, nine tackles for loss and is second on the team with a pair of sacks.
4. Brady Fox, RB, Middletown: Despite battling some nagging injuries at times this season, Fox has still proven to be one of those game breakers this season. And he’s definitely banged up these days, but it’s really hard to tell once he steps on the field that he’s not at 100 percent. He’s the all-time leading rusher in Middletown school history with more than 4,000 career yards. The key to that has been his vision in the hole, understanding fully his blockers and turning 12-15 yard runs into long touchdown gallops. His patience waiting for the hole to develop is something you can’t teach.
5. Malachi Young, QB, Steel-High: You need some help around you to be an elite quarterback, and Young has some weapons as a supporting cast. But his consistent play at a high level has been the key for the Rollers offensively. His ability to extend plays and get those weapons the ball is vastly underrated. His completion percentage is a solid 63 percent, he’s thrown for nearly 2,000 yards and has nine touchdown passes in the last two playoff games. His arm and playmaking ability could be a huge difference maker in the state quarterfinals.