Wilk, Horton, Hunsinger Picked All-State
Hazleton Area running back Damon Horton, along with teammate Jacob Hunsinger at wide receiver, were able to make a big impact on offense for the Cougars this season.
The same can be said for Berwick’s Teagan Wilk, a defensive back that had a knack for being in the right place at the right time, whether it was in pass coverage or coming up to help against the run.
And though their seasons came to an end sooner than all three would have hoped, the three were recognized at the state level for their performance during the 2018 season.
The three were named to the Pennsylvania Sports Writers all-state football team. Horton and Hunsinger were selected to the Class 6A team, while Wilk was named to the 4A squad. It is the third time Wilk has been named all-state.
“It’s definitely something you shoot for,” said Wilk. “Especially on the defensive side of the ball. The offensive guys are always in the spotlight. But on defense, especially playing defensive back, you get to go up against the other team’s best guy every week, and have a chance to shut him down.”
Wilk led Berwick in tackles this season with 85, 62 of them solo. He also led the Wyoming Valley Conference in interceptions with seven and returned one for a touchdown. A talented athlete who can impact the game on both sides of the ball, he became more involved in Berwick’s offense as the season progressed. He was the leading receiver for the Bulldogs this year with 23 catches for 214 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 9.3 yards per catch. He also rushed for 197 yards and five touchdowns.
“This is really the first type of accolade you can get once the season is over,” Wilk said. “After all the camps and hard work, it’s nice to see it all pay off.”
Wilk has already received an offer from Holy Cross. He is drawing interest from Michigan State, Syracuse, Rutgers and Cincinnati. He said he plans visiting Michigan State soon.
All three were a testament that with hard work, good things happen. Horton, despite missing two games this season because of an injury, put up huge numbers at running back.
Horton finished fourth in the conference in rushing with 1,498 yards, and had a conference-best 24 rushing touchdowns. He averaged 7.6 yards per carry, and was a threat catching the ball out of the backfield with 20 catches for 335 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 16.8 yards per catch.
“He really matured this year, he loves the game of football,” Hazleton Area coach Mike Brennan said of Horton. “I think the light really went off during the offseason. He went to all the camps and worked on his game. He really became a leader on the team. The only thing that slowed him down was the injury.”
Hunsinger picked the right time to have a breakout season for the Cougars at receiver. Known primarily for being a possession receiver early in his career, the senior really picked things up this year and became the go-to guy in the passing game as well as a deep threat.
“He was a program player as a sophomore,” Brennan said of Hunsinger. “He was a cerebral player that worked hard. His game really evolved into being the guy. He did it with attitude, effort and hard work. Then his talent came into play. It all came together for his this year.”
For Brennan, who will be entering his 21st season as a head coach in 2019, Hunsinger became the first 1,000-yard receiver Brennan has coached.
Hunsinger finished the season with 51 catches for 1,044 yards and 11 touchdowns. On defense at linebacker he registered 26 tackles and intercepted three passes. He also returned a pair of kicks for touchdowns.
“Jacob is an incredible route runner and has the best hands on the team,” Brennan said. “He gave a tremendous effort as a blocker. He just started making big plays and continued every week. He never had a bad week or a bad game.”
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