Once again, high school is upon us and NPF announces our preseason Super Six Power Rankings. We now reveal the Super Six the Big and Small School divisions.
1. DELAWARE VALLEY WARRIORS
The Warriors are always around the top and after having to play second fiddle to Williamsport last season after they lost in the state playoffs, DV will have the edge in the preseason. Some key positions need to be filled, but the Warriors always have depth and usually find players with talent to plug in. RB Ryan Obiso and WR Dylan Kelly are back to the playmakers are in place and both sides of the line should be solid. If senior QB Nick Reilly can run a mistake-free offense, no reason the Warriors can't be playing deep into the postseason. They will get a good test in the opener down at Disney World.
1. DUNMORE BUCKS
The Bucks went on another state playoff run in 2016 before losing to Ligonier Valley in the quarterfinals. They are state-ranked to start the season and the main reason is they have all five offensive linemen and QB Darcy Gavin back. They will plug in several players in at running back. Where they might have some questions is on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive end and linebacker will be where they must fill some holes, but LB Luke Yanisko will be one of the better defensive players in the LFC.
2. WILLIAMSPORT MILLIONAIRES
Williamsport came all the way back as one of the dominant teams in the WVC which also included an impressive state playoff run. After losing some key players to graduation, the Millionaires got even worse news when they lost junior tailback and D-1 prospect Treyson Potts who suffered a knee injury. There are still plenty of players coming back that will help Williamsport be successful again including all-state lineman Kurt Danneker and last year's leading tackler Cam Dickey.
2. SCRANTON PREP CAVALIERS
The Cavaliers have won back-to-back district titles and are state ranked to start the season. They will have one of the best offensive lines in District 2 and also bring back key defenders including LB ivan Balavage and Lucas Stage. Leo O'Boyle takes over at quarterback and could be the key on how far Prep advances this season. Look for big numbers from RB Matt Gilmartin who almost rushed for 1,000 yards as a backup for part of the season.
3. WYOMING VALLEY WEST SPARTANS
The Spartans had a strong 2016 season, but a disappointing end losing the first-ever District 2 Class 5A championship game. Valley West will have to replace some key skill players, but will be strong up front on both sides of the ball. LB Zach Davies returns and leads a defense that might be one of the better ones in years. Sammy Solomon and Cortes Adams will plug things up front. UCLA recruit Chris Bleich will anchor an offensive line that will be huge size-wise. Sean Mikovotch will take over the tailback position while Rob Dwyer moves from tight end to quarterback.
3. NORTHWEST AREA RANGERS
Northwest went unbeaten in WVC Small School play last season and return several key members of that 2016 team that fell in the District 2 Class 1A championship game. Returning QB David Piestrak and RB Jake Anderson helped the Rangers offense put up some big numbers. Northwest has 9 starters retuning on each side of the ball so that experience could put them in the drivers seat in the WVC 3A/1A Division.
4. NORTH POCONO TROJANS
The Trojans will be one of the favorites to win the District 2 Class 4A title. QB Donny Blaine is a two-year starter and North Pocono should rely on him even more in 2017. The Trojans also return half their starters including RB/LB J.C. Gaughan, TE Brett Butler and OL/DL Matt Caputo. The schedule is tough but the experience from last year's playoff run into the state tournament should give North Pocono an edge in close games.
4. LAKE-LEHMAN BLACK KNIGHTS
After winning a district title in 2013, Lehman still has been in the mix every season. They are expected to be there in 2017. The Black Knights run the Wing-T very well and Trey Borger should benefit as he should be the No. 1 option in the running game. Kaleb Konigus leads the group up front which always seems to be one of the better groups in the WVC. Nate O'Donnell is a dynamic athlete who is most likely going to be the quarterback.
5. SCRANTON KNIGHTS
The Knights looked like one of the best teams in District 2 at the beginning of the season until Jacob Watts went down with an injury, but Scranton was never the same after that. The good news for them is QB Robbie McAndrew got some meanigful reps and will return for 2017 as the starter from Day 1. Also returning is running back Rheyse Green and wide receiver Reggie Dickey will give McAndrew some legit offensive weapons. The biggest question mark is up front where Coach Mike Marichak usually finds big bodies. How good they will be is what we will have to wait and see.
5. OLD FORGE BLUE DEVILS
It wasn't a typical season in 2016 for Old Forge who is used to playing for district titles and winning state playoff games. However, they could be back to that form in 2017. Coach Mike Schuback likes the makeup of the team and feels they learned from last year's struggles. RB/LB Brendan Mozeleski is one of the better two-way players in the LFC. King Shakim-Rose should be one of the leaders on defense while Tommy Souriyavong is ready to be one of the better playmakers in the area.
6. WEST SCRANTON INVADERS
West ended up below .500 last season after they lost toe Berwick in the District 2 Class 4A playoffs. The Invaders do return quarterback Nick Gioia who threw for over 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns. Up front, they will have to replace some people, but Jake Hoffman and Josh Fagerlin give them some experience and should be the foundation. The X factor here is Andre Cholette, Jr. If he can stay healthy, he can be the playmaker who makes West Scranton a contender in the district and LFC 2.
6. Meyers Mohawks
Janssen Wilborn wasn't expected to see much time at quarterback even though he has played the position since he played pee-wees. When Willie Wallace went down, Wilborn got his chance and became one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the WVC. And he has a good supporting cast returning including RB Reese Patronick, RB Rashawn Woodson, TE Mike Horvath and OL Ryan Maffei. The Mohawks should be in contention for a district playoff spot.