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Ronald Burnette, jr., RB, Steel-High: This game featured a rusher with 37 TDs and more than 2,600 yards. But Burnette was the ground-game star, shredding Windber for 204 yards and three touchdowns (59, 2 and 64 yards) in a 37-7 win over Windber in the PIAA Class 1A playoffs.
Alex Erby, jr., QB, Steel-High: Erby was not to be outdone in the 37-7 blowout of Windber, tossing three touchdowns and finishing 17 of 20 for 222 yards. His scoring tosses covered 6, 8 and 64 yards, two of them going to Daquan McCraw.
Cole Bartram, jr., RB, Northern: The Polar Bears’ rollercoaster but otherwise impressive season ended Friday with a 21-7 loss to Exeter Township in the District 3 Class 5A semifinals, but Bartram impressed against a stout defense with 17 carries, 83 yards and a 35-yard TD run in the fourth quarter that made it a one-score game.
Kyle Williams Jr., sr., RB, Harrisburg: Williams and the next guy on this list really should give their nominations to their linemen for opening up a crazy 467 rushing yards on 66 (!!!) attempts. Williams sliced up Central York for 156 yards and three touchdowns (1, 14 and 9 yards) on 24 carries in a 44-7 District 3 Class 6A semifinal victory. Williams also had a 64-yard punt return for a score.
Mahkai Hopkins, sr., RB, Harrisburg: The other back that shined behind the Cougars’ overpowering line. Hopkins earned 231 yards on 27 carries and scored twice in the fourth quarter, including a 30-yarder, to send Harrisburg to the district championship.
Terrell Reynolds, sr., DE, Harrisburg: On the other end of the 44-7 blowout was Reynolds, who recorded three of the ‘Burg’s five sacks and added six tackles (four for loss) and a fumble recovery.
Marquese Williams, sr., RB, Bishop McDevitt: The Crusaders cruised to a 47-3 win over Twin Valley in the District 3 Class 4A semis, in part because of a 12-carry, 149-yard, three-touchdown performance by Williams. The senior had TD runs of 4, 12 and 3 yards.
Stone Saunders, so., QB, Bishop McDevitt: Saunders was back at it again Friday night, completing 11 of 19 passes for 256 yards and three scores. All of those TDs went to the next nominee on this list and traveled at least 30 yards.
Tyshawn Russell, sr., WR, Bishop McDevitt: The biggest beneficiary of Saunders’ rocket arm was Russell who had a 60% clip of receptions to touchdowns. His five catches covered 57 yards and included the three aforementioned TDs of 34, 54 and 34 yards to send McD to the district championship.
Trey Weiand, sr., WR, Trinity: Weiand’s 32-yard touchdown reception made it a 14-0 lead, but it was his blocked punt (returned to the 7-yard line by Payton Schaffner) that flipped momentum the Shamrocks’ way. In a historic 24-0 PIAA Class 2A win over West Catholic, Weiand finished with two carries for 11 yards and his TD catch.
D’Antae Sheffey, fr., RB, State College: The rookie has made his presence felt in these parts of late and is back again after rushing 15 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns (10 and 12 yards) in the Little Lions’ wild 57-50 triple-overtime win over McDowell.
Michael Gaul, so., WR, State College: Gaul only had two catches, but it was the latter that was the biggest of the game. The sophomore toe-tapped in the front corner of the end zone on a laser from Finn Furmanek for a 13-yard TD, THE TD that won the game in three overtimes. Gaul finished with 32 yards.
Marcus Quaker, jr., QB, West Perry: The Mustangs’ once-in-a-century season came to an unceremonious end, but Quaker impressed in a 63-7 loss to Wyomissing anyway. He completed 18 of 27 passes for 181 yards, tossing a first-quarter 45-yard TD for a brief lead. Quaker was picked off, but he also ran 18 times for 69 stripes.
Jasper Shepps, fr., WR/DB, Juniata: Big stage? No problem for Juniata’s versatile freshman, who played extremely well in the Indians’ 27-14 loss to Meadville in the PIAA Class 4A playoffs. Shepps caught four passes for 106 yards and a 34-yard touchdown when Juniata was on offense, but the youngster picked off a pair of passes that set up a Caleb Smith score and preceded his own touchdown as the Indians opened a 14-6 lead on the run-happy Bulldogs. Shepps also made six tackles.