Big School 6A-4A:
Jontae Morris, sr., RB, Cedar Cliff — While the Colts defense silenced Shippensburg’s running game (the only team to do so all season), Morris carved out 198 hard-earned yards on 40 carries in Cedar Cliff’s 10-7 win in the District 3 Class 5A quarterfinals. He’s now 2 yards shy of 2,000 for the year and sits at 22 touchdowns.
Connor Black, jr., TE/LB, Big Spring — The Bulldogs, one week removed from their first playoff win ever, were bounced by Lampeter-Strasburg 62-13 in the District 3 Class 5A quarterfinals, but Black shined on both sides of the ball. He was one of eight Bulldogs with a catch, finishing with three for a team-high 71 yards. He also had a game-leading 11 tackles and a half a tackle for loss.
Marquese Williams, jr., RB, Bishop McDevitt — The Crusaders blasted Northern 62-0 in the 5A quarterfinals, with Williams scoring four times in the first half on runs of 44, 28 and 10 yards while adding an early 26-yard TD haul. He finished with 124 rushing yards on just seven carries.
Stone Saunders, fr., QB, Bishop McDevitt — Saunders was hardly challenged in the win over Northern, producing an efficient 13-of-15 line for 283 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half. The first was the 26-yarder to Williams, then he hit Kamil Foster for a 40-yard TD minutes later. Saunders put the finishing touches on his day with a 73-yard bomb to Foster.
Kyle Williams, jr., RB/KR, Harrisburg — Williams scored four TDs in three ways as Harrisburg popped Hempfield 32-10 in the 6A quarterfinals. Williams opened things up with a 78-yard punt return score in the opening minutes, then added second half TDs on a 22-yard run, 17-yard reception and 9-yard jaunt. He finished with 92 rushing yards on 14 carries and 46 stripes on five receptions.
Mahkai Hopkins, jr., RB, Harrisburg — Not to be outdone, Hopkins dashed for 204 yards on 17 carries, scoring in the first quarter on an 88-yard sprint to lead the Cougars to a 32-10 victory. The Cougars finished with 314 rushing yards largely thanks to the junior.
Juniata defense — Rather than pick out one or two standouts — a difficult proposition since plenty contributed — let’s recognize Juniata’s entire defense after the Indians blanked USO 8-0 in overtime in the District 6/8 Class 4A regional title game in Altoona. While racking up their fifth shutout of the season, Juniata sacked USO quarterbacks seven times with seven players recording one apiece. Since District 10 champ Meadville awaits in state play, Kurt Condo’s bunch are going to need to put together another terrific effort to extend everything another week.
Small School: 3A-1A:
Joey Menke, sr., RB, Boiling Springs — The Bubblers’ turnaround is complete, with a trip to the District 3 Class 3A title game set for next week. Menke ran for 135 yards and a 37-yard TD and caught a 38-yard touchdown pass in a 35-7 semifinal victory over Hamburg.
Daivin Pryor, sr., RB/S, Steel-High — The Rollers began their District 3 and PIAA title defenses Friday with a 42-20 win over Delone Catholic for the 1A district crown. Pryor overcame an early fumble to record 126 rushing yards and 21 receiving, plus two touchdowns. He also added an interception on defense. Pryor scored in the second quarter on a 5-yard run and hauled on one of Alex Erby’s four TD tosses on a 21-yarder in the fourth.
Jackson Yoder, sr., OL/LB, Williams Valley — While Yoder’s work up front helped sophomore feature back Alex Achenbach unload yet again, his efforts at inside linebacker enabled Williams Valley to limit Tri-Valley to a mere 25 rushing yards as the Vikings downed the Bulldogs 28-13 in the District 11 Class 1A championship game. Yoder wound up with 13 stops, one tackle for loss and a sack as the Vikes avenged an earlier 14-0 setback.
Alex Achenbach, so., RB/DB, Williams Valley — Speaking of Achenbach, let’s sift through the productive outing he uncorked in Williams Valley’s 28-13 conquest of Tri-Valley. Start with 117 rushing yards and one touchdown on 29 carries, move on to one catch for 6 yards and wrap up with the 58-yard touchdown pass he tossed to reigning Player of the Week Brady Evans that capped the Vikings’ run of 28 consecutive points. Achenbach also recorded an interception.
Isaac Whiteash, jr., QB/LB, Williams Valley — Whiteash completed nine of his 18 pass attempts for 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Whiteash’s first TD pass was a 9-yarder to Brady Evans late in the first half that put the Vikings on the board — he also threw to Evans for the successful 2-point try — and his 10-yarder to Hunter Wolfgang popped Tim Savage’s club in front to stay. Whiteash also had an outstanding night defensively, totaling 11 tackles.
Jonas McGrath, sr., QB/DB, Tri-Valley — While McGrath’s 35-yard touchdown pass to Kameron Wetzel had the Bulldogs up early in the title game, it wouldn’t be enough to stymie Williams Valley. McGrath finished 11-of-20 for 164 yards, shrugging off an injury to hook up with Levi Murray on a 7-yard score that cut into Tri-Valley’s double-digit deficit. McGrath also sparkled on D, recording nine tackles and one of the Bulldogs’ two interceptions.
Cameron Carlin, sr, OL/DL, Tri-Valley — Although Tri-Valley struggled to move the ball on the ground, Carlin made it difficult for Williams Valley’s offense to get going as he totaled 10 stops in the final game of his high school career.