NL dominates all-star team
It should come as no surprise that Northern Lehigh dominates this year's TIMES NEWS All-Star Football Team.
The Bulldogs posted an undefeated regular season, winning the Colonial League in the process, and then went on to claim District 11 Class AA honors.
With such success, Joe Tout had seven of his players named to our First Team. Six more were selected to the Second Team.
Pleasant Valley, which reached the district playoffs for the first time since 1994, had six players make the First Team and three more honored on the second squad.
Jim Thorpe finished with eight players chosen, four on the First Team.
Below are bios on all our First Team selections, along with comments from their respective head or assistant coaches.
Derrik Walling, Pleasant Valley
KEY NUMBERS: Senior completed 145-of-238 passes for 1968 yards with 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions ... The 5-10, 175-pounder also ran 80 times for 334 yards and three scores ... Threw four TDs in games versus Tamaqua and Pocono Mountain West ... Set school record for yards passing in a game when he threw for 349 yards against East Stroudsburg South ... Threw for 200+ yards five different times this past season.
AWARDS & NOTES: Named to Mountain Valley Conference 1st Team as quarterback ... also member of Bears' baseball team.
COACH'S QUOTE: "Derrik was our emotional leader on the field. He took on the role of senior leadership. He ran our offense and was one of the hardest workers we had. We used our passing game to help open up our running game. His consistency throwing the ball helped make that happen. He was also good at making plays with his feet."
Cody Remaley, Northern Lehigh
KEY NUMBERS: Broke his own school record for rushing yards in a season, ending with 2322 while averaging 8.93 yards per carry ... Finished the season with 39 touchdowns and 256 points to set TN area records ... He also caught six passes, one for a TD ...
AWARDS & NOTES: Named 1st Team All-State RB in Class AA ... Earned the TIMES NEWS Football Player of the Year award for second straight year ... Selected 1st Team Colonial League at RB ... participated in track and is an avid hunter ... holds a 3.2 GPA and has run a 4.5 in the 40 ... Looking to continue grid career, probably on Division II or III level.
COACH'S QUOTE: "What more can you say about Cody that hasn't been said. Probably what stands out most is that he's a team player. With all the gaudy statistics he had, he didn't care about them. He cared about winning. The other thing that was impressive is that he posted these numbers while everyone was making it a point to stop him.
Shane Edwards, Jim Thorpe
KEY NUMBERS: Senior led the TN area in carries (270) and was second in rushing yards (1,375). He ran for 16 touchdowns and tied for third in area scoring with 96 points ... Reached 100 yards rushing in nine games this season with a high of 225 against Shenandoah ... Runs a 4.6 in the 40.
AWARDS & NOTES: Named JT's Offensive Player of the Year ... also received 1st Team honors on All-Anthracite and Schuylkill County North squads ... Interested in playing college at Division II or III.
COACH'S QUOTE: "Shane was a force in the backfield. He's big, strong and runs fast. He emerged over the past two years and made himself known. He's hard working and very physical. He offers a great combination of speed and power."
Ty Cunningham, Northwestern
KEY NUMBERS: Became just the second Tiger in the past 13 seasons to rush for over 1000 yards, carrying 147 times for 1024 yards ... The junior led NW is scoring with 16 touchdowns for 96 points. Twelve of his tallies came on the ground while he also caught 19 passes for 312 yards and four scores ... Reached 100 yards rushing in four games including a high of 186 against Palmerton ... On defense, the linebacker made 107 tackles, including 29 solo, and also led the team in sacks with 4 1/2.
AWARDS & NOTES: Cunningham was named 2nd Team in the Colonial League at running back ... The three-sport athlete also participates in basketball and baseball
COACH'S QUOTE: "Ty can run the ball, he can catch the ball, he can even throw the ball. As an inside linebacker, he runs our defense. The only problem with Ty is finding the time to rest him during the game. He's always involved."
Rich Irving, Pleasant Valley
KEY NUMBERS: Led the TN area in receiving yards (653) and receiving touchdowns (eight) ... The 6-0, 185-pounder had at least two catches in every game this season, and finished with 46 ... Caught nine passes for 168 yards and two scores in win over Lehighton. That effort earned him TN Player of the Week.
AWARDS & NOTES: Named 1st Team Mountain Valley Conference flanker and 2nd Team defensive back ... Senior is also a member of Bears' basketball team ... hopes to continue grid career at Division II or III school.
COACH'S QUOTE: "He was the playmaker in our passing game our go-to receiver. He was another one of our seniors who set the tempo in practice and brought a strong work ethic that coaches ask for. The big thing with Rich was he was able to go up and make plays. He made a number of big plays for us this season that sparked the whole team. He also played an important role on defense as our starting safety."
Anthony Farole, Lehighton
KEY NUMBERS: Senior finished second in the TN area in receiving yards (584), fourth in receptions (30) and tied for second in receiving TDs (seven) ... On defense, he finished with 51 tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.
AWARDS & NOTES: Received Lehighton's overall MVP award ... was named 1st Team MVC as a defensive back and Honrable Mention as a flanker ... member of National Honor Society.
COACH'S QUOTE: "He did everything for us. He also ran the ball, threw the ball, returned punts and returned kickoffs. He was a one-man gang for us. He stepped up for us when (Jacen) Nalesnik went down. He was a real godsend for us. He's fast and has good vision on the field."
Brock Mitchell, Panther Valley
KEY NUMBERS: Junior led the Panthers in receptions (31) and receiving yards (384). His 31 catches also ranked third in the TN area ... He had 45.6 percent of teams catches, which ranked first in TN area ... Mitchell also carried eight times for 83 yards and two touchdowns
AWARDS & NOTES: Received 2nd Team all-state honors in Class A at tight end ... Named 1st Team all-star on both offense and defense on Schuylkill County North squad, and was 1st Team All-Anthracite on offense.
COACH'S QUOTE: "He has nice, big, soft hands and also has good leaping ability. He adjusts well to the ball and knows how to use his body to shield off defenders. He's just a great athlete. He's also a great leader and has a good work ethic."
Tony Wargo, Northwestern
KEY NUMBERS: The 6-4, 324-pound senior finished the season with a streak of 32 straight starts on the Tiger offensive line ... Helped produce a 1,000-yard rusher in Ty Cunningham and also helped the team gain over 1800 yards on the ground and rush for an average of 5.1 yards per carry .... On defense, he recorded 46 tackles, including two sacks and two forced fumbles.
AWARDS & NOTES: Achieved First Team Colonial League status on both the offensive and defensive lines ... Wargo hopes to continue career in college and has received interest from every level (Division I, II and III).
COACH'S QUOTE: "Tony had been a fixture on our offensive line for the past three seasons. He was our captain and leader throughout the season. Tony is a true 'Iron Man.' He missed only one day of practice in three seasons (because of the flu). Tony worked to become an effective defensive lineman his senior year."
Wes Hurley, Jim Thorpe
KEY NUMBERS: Senior helped anchor a rushing attack that averaged 203.7 yards per game ... the 6-5, 302-pounder registered 25 pancacke blocks ... Has impressive weightlifting numbers: bench (325), squat (475); deadlift (500).
AWARDS & NOTES: Earned the Olympians' co-lineman of the year (with Sean Leslie) ... was named 1st Team Schuylkill County North and 2nd Team All-Anthracite ... hopes to play college football at Division I-AA or II school.
COACH'S QUOTE: "Wes was a great kid who worked extremely hard. He got better every year for us. He has excellent size, strength and power, but his footwork also got better because of his hard work. He turned himself into one of the best linemen ever at Jim Thorpe."
Carl Sahlberg, Northern Lehigh
KEY NUMBERS: Senior was a key member of a line that averaged over 300 yards rushing a game and scored over 40 points ... At 6-3, 290 pounds he displayed solid footwork and had good speed for his size.
AWARDS & NOTES: Gained 2nd Team All-State honors at Class AA ... Earned 1st Team status on Colonial League team at offensive line ... Looks to continue playing career, possibly at PSAC school.
COACH'S QUOTE: "He has real good footwork. When you look at him, you don't think he's going to be quick. But with the amount of times we asked our tackle to pull on our counter-trey, he was always there. His work ethic improved and with this being his senior season, he just took the challenge to become better. It's nice to see a kid get to where he did through hard work."
Rich Hargrove, Pleasant Valley
KEY NUMBERS: Tackle helped lead a balanced Bears offensive attack as the team averaged 146 yards a game on the ground and 183 yards through the air ... In the weight room, the 6-0, 240-pounder bench pressed around 315 and squated 650.
AWARDS & NOTES: Senior was selected to the Mountain Valley Conference 1st Team as an offensive tackle and to the 2nd Team as a defensive lineman ... hopes to play college ball at either Division II or III school.
COACH'S QUOTE: "He was our most consistent offensive lineman. He was the hardest working one and the strongest. He was a leader by example, especially in the weight room where he spent a lot of time. He worked hard getting into shape for his senior year. He also started at nose guard on defense after our starter went down with an injury."
Brendan McGowan, Marian
KEY NUMBERS: The 6-4, 267-pound junior missed four games due to a dislocated elbow he suffered in the season opener against Lehighton ... had a dominating performance in final game of season, helping the Colts record a 47-7 win over Tamaqua.
AWARDS & NOTES: Named to the 2nd Team of the Schuylkill County North squad on the offensive line ... A B+ student who is involved in many school activities, McGowan is alread receiving looks from top college conferences including the Big East, ACC and Big Ten ... a probable two-way starter for Colts next season ... also plays baseball.
COACH'S QUOTE: "Brendan is a great kid who is determined to get bigger and stronger. The sky's the limit for him. He's a great prospect who is already receiving looks. He has great agility. After he got hurt and with us struggling, he could have ended his season but he worked his way back. He played with one arm for about three of his games he was back and when he finally got healthy by the last game, he was absolutely dominant.
Malik Krcic, Pleasant Valley
KEY NUMBERS: Led all TN area kickers in scoring with 48 points ... Finished with 42 extra points and a pair of field goals ... Both of his field goals came in the same game as he booted a 33-yarder and a 32-yarder in win against Pocono Mountain West.
AWARDS & NOTES: Senior was key member of Bears' soccer team and also earned the TIMES NEWS Soccer Player of the Year ... Krcic was named the Mountain Valley Conference Soccer MVP and received First Team all-state honors ... Strong leg also produced numerous touchbacks on kickoffs.
COACH'S QUOTE: "Malik was a soccer player who came out his senior season for football. He was in the weight room during the spring and throughout lifting as a member of the team. He came in and did a very good job for us. He also punted for us and ended up being a valuable special teams player."
Rob Getz, Pleasant Valley
KEY NUMBERS: Finished with 1270 yards from scrimmage, with 710 yards coming on the ground and 560 receiving ... Led the TN area with 47 receptions ... Had 16 touchdowns on the season, seven rushing, seven receiving and two on punt returns (both in same game) ... Had a season-high 150 yards rushing and two touchdowns in win versus Pocono Mountain East ... scored a touchdown in 10 of team's 11 games.
AWARDS & NOTES: Received 1st Team honors on Mountain Valley Conference team as running back ... also a member of Bears' baseball team.
COACH'S QUOTE: "The big thing with Rob was he was always ready to make a play wherever he was needed to make it. He was very versatile as evidenced by his leading the team in rushing and receptions. He was another one of our senior leaders who led by example. He was the type who wasn't just at practice everyday but was there early and showed up with a good attitude."
Mike Buresh, Northern Lehigh
KEY NUMBERS: Recorded 67 tackles this season, including 10 against both Bangor and Catasauqua ... Had six sacks, which was tied for second on the team ... Also played tight end and was key member of line that produced 364 yards of offense per game.
AWARDS & NOTES: The senior earned Colonial League 1st Team honor as defensive end and was an honorable mention selection at ttght end ... Is 12th in his class and scored 1200 (out of 1600) on his college boards .... Is receiving interest from Ivy League and Patriot League schools.
COACH'S QUOTE: "When you see him on film, you see how good his closing speed is on defense. He doesn't look quick, but he closes well. As a tight end, you never saw stats from him but he was a large piece of our offense. In reality he was our best lineman. He's been solid for us and he gets moving in a short amount of time. In our scheme we need a tight end to block the ends and backers and he did exactly that."
Kyle Schomp, Northern Lehigh
KEY NUMBERS: Junior finished the season with 92 tackles, which was third most on the Bulldogs ... Schomp had three games of double digit tackles with his high being 12 against GAR ... Led Northern Lehigh in sacks with seven and also recovered a fumble.
AWARDS & NOTES: Received 1st Team Colonial League honors on defensive line ... moved to the line from inside linebacker position ... also plays baseball for the Bulldogs.
COACH'S QUOTE: "I think he's happy with the decision that was made in moving him to tackle. We first moved him to defensive end out of necessity but then moved to tackle. His speed there was incredible and gave us an advantage. He's built well and runs well. And he's a quiet, nice kid."
Mike Balliet, Lehighton
KEY NUMBERS: Junior registered only 33 tackles but was the focus of double and triple teams all season ... Balliet had a sack and also forced two fumbles ... Had seven tackles against Panther Valley and Pocono Mountain East.
AWARDS & NOTES: Received 1st Team MVC honors on the defensive line ... Sat out entire season a year ago to concentrate on wrestling ... Trains at the Rat Pack in Palmerton and is involved in MMA.
COACH'S QUOTE: "Teams literally changed their game plans when facing him. He was almost always double-teamed and against Pocono Mountain East, they ended up using three different centers. He has games without a lot of tackles but is so disruptive. He has tunnel vision on defense. He's quick off the ball and has a good defensive mentality."
Jarred Harry, Palmerton
KEY NUMBERS: Led Palmerton in tackles with 92, including 56 solo stops ... Had three sacks and also intercepted a pass.
AWARDS & NOTES: Senior was named the Bombers' Defensive MVP ... Also received 2nd Team Colonial League honors on the defensive line ... was a team captain this season ... also started on the offensive line.
COACH'S QUOTE: "Jarred really transformed into an excellent leader for us. Off the field, he was dedicated and passionate about football and was a guy we could really count on. On the field, he developed into our emotional leader with his intense play and big play ability. He is probably one of the most athletic and fastest linemen I've coached."
Matt Gill, Northern Lehigh
KEY NUMBERS: Finished tied for the team lead in tackles with 139, including a high of 20 against Bangor ... Had eight games of at least 10 tackles ... Also had two sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception ... On offense, he rushed for 294 yards and six touchdowns. He also caught nine passes for 133 yards and three touchdowns.
AWARDS & NOTES: Senior was a 1st Team selection at linebacker ... The 6-1, 215-pounder scored 1050 (out of 1600) on his college boards and is receiving interest from Patriot League schools ... also a member of baseball team ... Nolehi's fullback who helped teammate Cody Remaley set records for rushing yards and touchdowns.
COACH'S QUOTE: "He dictates our practices. His speed at practice is the same speed he has during a game. That's why he plays at a different level than most players. He's another coach on the field. He loves watching film. He hits hard but he also plays with good technique which is something you don't always see out of high school players. On offense he enjoyed taking on a defensive end more than he did running the ball."
Tyler Mangold, Jim Thorpe
KEY NUMBERS: Senior led the Olympians in tackles with 75. He also registered 16 tackles for loss, 6 1/2 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery ... On offense he finished with 60 pancake blocks ... In the weightroom, he posted impressive marks of 340 (bench), 500 (squat) and 525 (deadlift).
AWARDS & NOTES: Named the teams overall MVP and also received the Defensive Player of the Year ... Gained 1st Team honors on offense and defense in Schuylkill County North and also was 1st Team Offense and 2nd Team Defense on All-Anthracite squad ... Looks to play college ball at the Division II level.
COACH'S QUOTE: "He's a special player. He's the type that comes around for a coach once in his lifetime. He's the hardest worker I've ever had. He started all four years for us. He's a tremendous athlete. He could have played in the backfield or at tight end but we needed him on the line. He never complained. He plays from whistle-to-whistle and has a high-intense motor. Off the field, he's one of the nicest kids you'd want to meet."
David Tirpak, Northwestern
KEY NUMBERS: The junior, who divided his time between defensive end and outside linebacker, led the Tigers in solo tackles (57), assisted tackles (59) and total tackles (116) ... His eight tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries also topped the team ... Tirpak also recorded 3 1/2 sacks and had an interception.
AWARDS & NOTES: Received Honarable mention honors on the Colonial League all-star team as a defensive end ... is also a wrestler and a swimmer ... The six-foot, 190-pounder set a school record for solo tackles in a game this past season with 15 against Northern Lehigh.
COACH'S QUOTE: "Pure and simple, Dave is a play maker on defense. He's incredibly quick and aggressive. We expect to use his natural athletic ability on offense during his senior year."
Garth Lakitsky, Tamaqua
KEY NUMBERS: Senior led the team in tackles with 84 ... Had five games in which he reached double figures in tackles, including 13 in the Pleasant Valley game ... Also excelled on offense, finishing as the team's leading receiver (12-247) and second in rushing yards (493) ... scored 10 touchdowns, which was also second-best on team ... Runs a 4.65 in the 40 and also bench presses 435.
AWARDS & NOTES: The 6-2, 221-pounder was named the team's MVP and also received school's top linebacker and top recever awards ... Earned 1st Team status at linebacker on both Schuylkill County North and Anthracite squads. Also was named 2nd Team fullback on Schuylkill North Team ... An outstanding wrestler, Lakitsky placed fourth at states last season.
COACH'S QUOTE: "He's probably the strongest kid on our team. He was always in the weight room. He's not a vocal leader, but leads by example. For the last three years he's been in the middle of our defense. He's very hard-working. He started the season with an injury but came back and made 11 tackles in his first game back. He was also our top receiver on offense and made a lot of big catches for us."
Grif Griffiths, Tamaqua
KEY NUMBERS: A four-year starter on defense, he finished second on the team in tackles with 56 ... The senior was also a force on offense finishing with a team-leading 868 yards rushing, which placed him fifth in the TN area ... Griffiths also led the Raiders in touchdowns with 13 and his 78 points were sixth most in TN area ... His 2,754 career rushing yards ranks second all-time at Tamaqua.
AWARDS & NOTES: Received team's Offensive Back award and earned the Bnosky 3-D award for Desire, Determination and Dedication ... Named to Schuylkill County North's all-star squad on 1st Team offense (RB) and 2nd Team defense (LB) ... In the weightroom he benches 350.
COACH'S QUOTE: "Grif is a tough kid who started four years for us on defense. He led our team in tackles his sophomore season. He was an impact player for us who also ran the ball hard, finishing as the second leading rusher all-time here. We'll definitely miss him."
Rob Calhoun, Pleasant Valley
KEY NUMBERS: Leader of Bears secondary that limited opponents to 86 yards passing a game and just seven touchdowns all season ... Had two pass deflections and fumble recovery in win over Wyoming Valley West.
AWARDS & NOTES: Named to the Mountain Valley Conference 1st Team as defensive back ... The 5-11, 185-pound senior cornerback was team's shutdown defender in secondary.
COACH'S QUOTE: "As a junior he didn't play much, but he wanted to be a difference maker in his senior year. He set himself up to be that type of player by working hard. He really stepped up and made big plays for us. He didn't finish with any impressive statistics because teams ended up not going his way. He basically took one side of the field away most of the time. He was our silent killer on defense."
Trevor Yashur, Northern Lehigh
KEY NUMBERS: Ended the season with 44 tackles, including a season-high nine against GAR in the state playoffs ... Intercepted three passes, with two coming in game against Pen Argyl ... On offense he carried 17 times for 162 yards and two touchdowns ... On special teams he returned eight punts for 97 yards.
AWARDS & NOTES: Junior received Colonial League Honorable Mention status at defensive back ... started as a sophomore on the Bulldogs' league championship baseball team
COACH'S QUOTE: "Trevor helped our secondary improve throughout the season. When teams looked at us, they figured they would try to throw against us. From where we started in the secondary to where we finished ... he helped do an outstanding job back there. He was pretty much a one-way player who focused on getting better and he did."
Jon Fritz, Jim Thorpe
KEY NUMBERS: Senior ended second on the team in tackles with 62. He also had eight tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, an interception and a fumble recovery ... Had three tackles for loss in district playoff game against Northern Lehigh ... Is in the top 20 percent of his class.
AWARDS & NOTES: Recognized as the team leader in the secondary, Fritz was named 1st Team Schuylkill County North and 2nd Team All-Anthracite ... hopes to play in college at a Division III school.
COACH'S QUOTE: "He was the heart of our defense, making checks while calling out fronts and formations. He also played fullback and made some big plays there, but he was the heart and soul of our defense. He's a hard-working kid who is very intelligent."
Christian Marcin, Palmerton
KEY NUMBERS: Punted 26 times for an average of 33.7 with a long of 55 yards. He also pinned three punts inside the 20 ... On offense he ran the ball 35 times for 229 yards and two scores and caught six passes for 108 yard and one TD ... He also registered 30 tackles on defense.
AWARDS & NOTES: Named 2nd Team Colonial League at punter and wide receiver ... Received Bombers' Offensive MVP and Special Teams MVP awards ... was team captain the past two seasons ... runs the 40 in the 4.5-4.55 range.
COACH'S QUOTE: "Christian is one of the most versatile athletes I ever coached. He started to show his big play ability as a sophomore by making two huge plays to help put us in the district title game. As a junior and senior he was our best player at several different positions on offense, defense, and in our special teams. I think he would be an excellent weapon at the Division 2 level or a possible two-sport impact player at a D3 school."
Jake Kern, Northern Lehigh
KEY NUMBERS: Senior totaled 65 tackles, including a season-high 12 versus Catasauqua ... Intercepted five passes and recovered four fumbles ... Was team's punter but only had to kick nine times ... returned 11 punts and seven kickoffs ... On offense he ran 82 times for 986 yards (a 12.02 average) and 15 touchdowns ... Kern also caught 20 passes for 326 yards and five scores ... He ended the season with 22 touchdowns and 139 points scored.
AWARDS & NOTES: Named to the Class AA all-state 1st Team as defensive athlete ... Received 1st Team Colonial League nod at defensive back, 2nd Team at wide receiver and Honorable mention as punter ... Scored 1150 (out of 1600) on college boards and is receiving interest from Patriot League schools.
COACH'S QUOTE: "He was our best overall athlete and I'm pretty sure he enjoyed doing all the things he did on the field. His interceptions were less this year but that was because teams knew not to throw the ball near him. Opponents just knew you couldn't throw deep over the middle or he'd be there. Also, he's a good tackler. He's not real big but he comes up and attacks which is what you want as a coach."