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2017 Class 5A & 6A Preseason Rankings

Written by: on Friday, August 25th, 2017


2017 Class 5A Preseason Rankings

It’s the Tigers of McKeesport that lead things off. John Harper moves from receiver to QB to lead the offense. He’ll have the protection of a very good line led by Alexander Meadows. Handling the ball from the backfield is the tandem of  Carlinos Acie and  Layton Jordan. Both many college offers. Defensively the Tigers will miss Curtis Harper and Antoine Cook, but this team is loaded with talent. Harper, Acie and Jordan lead 5 returning defenders. Justin Goodin and Marquis Butler will take over on the line.

At number two it’s Upper St. Clair. Whenever legendary coach Jim Render returns 8 players on both sides of the ball, you know they’ll be tough. QB Jack Hansberry returns at quarterback for the Panthers. He threw for almost 1000 yards with 11 tds.   Wide receiver Domenic Cepullio brings his 600 yards along with 6 td catches. Dante Grecco and Philip Elias are returning on the offensive line. Junior Colin McLinden is a linebacker that will be a disruption over the middle while Dante Greco will lead the charge at the line.

Meadville comes in at #3. While some might find the task of replacing now Penn State running back Journey Brown formidable, one need only to look at their returning line up. Isaiah Manning will now be the feature back in an offense that returns 5 starters, while Julius Reem will also see carries. Defensively the Bulldogs will look to Manning and Destin Beck as leaders in the middle. They’ll have to get up to speed quickly with a new defense, but the Bulldogs will be up to the task.

#4 Penn Trafford could very well move up the ladder quickly. With 12 players returning, they be tough. They’re led by Senior QB Cam Laffoon, who has the luxury of getting Cam Suman and Anthony Cervone back, while Logan Hawkins will plow the way. Hawkins, safety Anthony Cervone and Linebacker Tony Alcott anchor a defense that returns six.

At number 5 we find the Gators of Gateway. QB Brady Walker is back and so is wide out Courtney Jackson. Walker set school records for passing yards in a game (465) and season (2,820) as well as passing touchdowns in a season (28) in 2016 and is on track to set school record for career passing yards. This is a lethal connection. Walker will find plenty of time behind 3 returning linemen, led by center Bryce Washington. On defense the Gators will look to Jackson and returning linemen Tomi Woodson, Matt Alfaro and Canaan Cleveland.


1 McKeesport ( 7) 0-0
2 USC ( 7) 0-0
3 Meadville (10) 0-0
4 Penn Trafford ( 7) 0-0
5 Gateway ( 7) 0-0
Armstrong (7) 0-0
Franklin Regional ( 7) 0-0
Grove City (10) 0-0
North Hills ( 7) 0-0
West Allegheny ( 7) 0-0


2017 Class 6A Preseason Rankings

For several year, we’ve been used to putting Central Catholic in the first spot at 6A. Well, times change and this year, there’s a change at the top. The Rams of Pine-Richland have wrangled the top spot away on the arm of ND commit Phil Jurkovec. He’s one of the top 2018 recruits in the country, and one of the best HS quarterbacks in PA I’ve seen since Ron Powlus of Berwick. But teams don’t just win on an arm, PR returns a WHOPPING 10 players on both sides of the ball. WRs Raymond Falcone,  DeFrancisis, Cam Ballay make up a great batch of targets for Jurkovec. Falcone and Defrancisis are both returners and that group should be very good. Jordan Crawford will carry the ball for the Rams

Defensively they are led by returning all conference S Ben Jochem and ILB Tyler King. Returning starters also include ILB Anthony Cerminara and S Luke Meckler. Add in Kenny White who transferred in at RB and DB and this team is loaded. Like on offense, Kristofic and Katic will anchor the DL with seniors Peyton Byrd and Tom Camino joining them up front.

Central Catholic lands in the #2 slot, but they’ll have to fight hard to stay there. They have to replace their entire line of offense. Even worse is they lost up and comer Luke Robson. The upside is Troy Fisher returns at QB and recent Pitt commit David Green will once again carry the ball from the Hback position. Fish also has a very good WR in Kahlil Weathers to go to. Defensively, the strong point is their backfield. Khalil Weathers, Corey Thomas, Gavin Thomson and Cam Laconi are as good a group as you’ll see knocking down passes. Liam Slattery is a good LB and of course Green is a terror on the line…but central got some bad news this week when DE Terran Moore went down with several injuries.

At #3 it’s State College. The Little Lions have been close the last couple years, and this year they look to be a little closer. Matt Lintal’s Little Lions reloaded and the barrel is hot. QB Tommy Friberg is tall and accurate and the coaches speak very highly of his skill set. Brady Dorner will also see time behind center. They’ll have two excellent wide outs in Brandon Clark and Russell Cohen, who will also line up in the slot. Tristen Lyons should have a breakout year at RB and they’ll have an experienced line leading the way. Collin DeBoef, Jackson Heasley and Delaware commit Robert Nachtman have the size and skill to protect and open holes. Defensively they have to replace all state linebacker Pete Haffner, but Ian Bar will do the job. Paul Olivette and Keaton Ellis will provide great coverage downfield for the Little Lions. Heading the charge on the line will be Heasley.

At number 4 it’s Seneca Valley. Ron Butschle is back and has some good talent. Gabe Miller returns to lead a strong linebacking corp. Jake Stebbins is another player to watch. They have to replace Jack Cook, running back Hank Royal receiver Payton Skalos but they have the skill people coming in to do so.

At #5 it’s North Allegheny. Art Walker always has his team ready, and with a player like Derek Devine at OT the line will be very good. Cade Hoke and Ryan Langdon are 2 very good linebackers on defense for the Tigers


1 Pine Richland ( 7) 0-0
2 Central Catholic ( 7) 0-0
3 State College ( 6) 0-0
4 Seneca Valley ( 7) 0-0
5 North Allegheny ( 7) 0-0
Bethel Park ( 7) 0-0
Erie HS (10) 0-0
Penn Hills (10) 0-0
McDowell (10) 0-0
Mt. Lebo ( 7) 0-0

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