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Friday, June 14, 2024

Five players to watch in Week 3 of the postseason

Each week we’ll take a look through our coverage area to highlight five gents we are looking forward to watching perform on the field.

Nick Singleton, RB, Governor Mifflin: The 2022 Penn State recruit is ranked by some as the No. 1 running back in the country. Those rankings are always debatable, but what’s not in question is whether the engine that drives the Mustangs offense is part of that conversation. Singleton, a rare combination of power and speed, is the perfect foil for a blistering running attack behind an offensive line that turns defenders into dust on the football field. Last week against Warwick, a team that is not defensively challenged, Singleton ran for a career-best 320 yards and SEVEN touchdowns, including TD runs of 55, 60 and 65 yards. He did all that on 15 carries. That’s 21.3 yards per carry. Yeah, he’s that good.

Wide receivers, Bishop McDevitt: Sorry, you can’t single out one member of this trio. The only way to think of them is as three studs who together are virtually impossible to cover for 48 minutes. Senior Mario Easterly, classmate Kamil Foster and sophomore Rico Scott are each a little different. But each can undress a high school secondary with intermediate timing routes or simply running straight down the field and tracking down a bomb. Combined, this trio has 84 catches for 1,901 yards and 31 touchdowns. That’s 22.6 yards per catch — combined. You can account for one, maybe find a way to cover two of them on occasion … but holding down three with this much skill and talent at the high school level is a nearly impossible ask of any secondary.

Kyle Williams Jr., WR/RB, Harrisburg: It was clear heading into the 2021 season the junior was a budding star for the Cougars. And after 11 games it’s pretty clear Williams is a bona-fide star that has multiple roles for a team that isn’t built on flash and chunk plays. If the Cougars had the tools to play up-and-down the field with their hair on fire, Williams would have no trouble making that happen. More impressive, though, is how he’s still managed to be a difference-making playmaker inside more of a box. That’s versatility you can’t coach. Williams leads the Cougars in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. His 11.2 yards per catch is a modest number for a Harrisburg wideout most years, but in this offense that’s a stellar number. He also leads the Cougars in rushing yards and overall has posted nearly 1,300 yards of offense with 13 touchdowns. He’s not the only weapon in Harrisburg’s arsenal. But he’s definitely the most important ingredient.

Colin Payne, QB, Exeter Township: The senior is experienced, has a live arm and pilots this offense with the efficiency needed to put consistent pressure on an opposing defense. The Eagles are balanced in the pass and run. They will take what’s given and go from there. Payne’s completed nearly 60% of his passes and thrown for more than 1,700 yards in 11 games with 18 touchdown passes and five interceptions. He’s slick at spreading the ball around, too, with four Exeter wideouts in double figures for catches. He has a 1-2 punch at wideout, but the Eagles have depth options that would be Nos. 1 or 2 on most teams. And the running game has a 1,000-yard back, so that always helps the cause.

Joey Menke, RB/OLB, Boiling Springs: This senior is getting an all-state nomination, lobbying and vote from me. He is one of the better “halfbacks” in the Wing-T to run the buck sweep — particularly from the right wing to the left side of the offensive line — I’ve seen in my 30 years of covering football in these parts. He’s patient waiting for the crack to emerge, but also if the opening is there right away he puts his foot in the ground and accelerates decisively through the hole. And here’s the kicker: you think he’s hitting the hole at top speed and then you realize when he clears into the open field he has a sixth gear that occasionally embarrasses defensive backs who appear to have the angle. He doesn’t get a ton of carries because the Bubblers have options, but the impact of his touches is like gold for this offense. And if you think he’s a one-trick pony, you would be mistaken. Sometimes I wonder if he’s a better linebacker or “halfback” for the Bubblers. Most nights it’s hard to decide.

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