By Tom Robinson, NPF Football
Berwick and Wyoming Area are the two most recent champions among Wyoming Valley Conference Class 4A Division members and the two most likely teams to emerge as champion this year.
The Bulldogs won the WVC Class 3A Division, featuring the same seven teams, in 2015 before the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association expanded from four to six classes.
Berwick was the favorite to win the first WVC Class 4A Division title following realignment, but Wyoming Area prevented that from happening.
The Warriors will look for a repeat performance.
While Berwick is the favorite, Wyoming Area rates a slight edge over Coughlin, which features dual returning 1,000-yard rushers in Jake Cole and Vincent Todd, for top threat to the Bulldogs.
The only two division teams that finished last season with winning records are projected to be on top again after splitting their two meetings in 2016, winning on each other’s fields.
Berwick reached the District 2 Class 4A final by knocking off top-seeded Wyoming Area in the semifinals.
The division was hit fairly hard by graduation after its teams went a combined 31-47 last year. More of those losses came at the top of the standings, perhaps bringing the group closer together as a whole competitively.
Only five players return who were either first- or second-team WVC Big School all-stars last season in the NPF Sports selections.
Dallas and Pittston Area are expected to move up following two-win seasons.
A look at the WVC 4A Division, with teams in the order they were ranked in a preseason poll of division coaches:
2, Wyoming Area
5, Pittston Area