HS FOOTBALL: Nine More From LFC Earn All-state Honors

December 28, 2018
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HS FOOTBALL: Nine More From LFC Earn All-state Honors

Nine more players from the Lackawanna Football Conference were recognized as being among the best in the state Friday when the second round of all-state football teams were announced. Four from state finalist Lackawanna Trail, two each from Scranton Prep and Wallenpaupack and one from Lakeland were honored by the Pennsylvania Football Writers as all-state for classes 1A, 3A and 5A. Four from Valley View were selected to the Class 4A team announced Thursday giving the conference 13 players chosen to the teams. Lackawanna Trail led the way in Class 1A with Nate Rolka (athlete), Ray Melnikoff (fullback), Jacob Brim (guard)and Zac Cost (defensive end). Scranton Prep quarterback Leo O’Boyle and linebacker Tucker Johnson, and Lakeland defensive back Thomas Pidgeon were named to the 3A team. Wallenpaupack linemen Josh Moore and Chance Smith made the 5A team. Lackawanna Trail’s group were all key contributors to the team’s march to a 14-2 record and a runner-up finish to Farrell in the state championship game. Rolka had 829 yards passing and eight touchdowns and 733 yards rushing and 11 more scores, and added 35 extra points, three field goals. Melnikoff, a sophomore, ran for 1,405 yards, averaging 8.3 yards per carry and scored 17 touchdowns. He had three 100-yard rushing games in the postseason. Brim, a 6-foot, 230-pound senior, helped a punishing Lackawanna Trail running game that averaged 323.1 total yards this season and flourished in the postseason. Cost, a 6-3, 220-pound senior, had 70 total tackles — including a team-high six in the PIAA final — with 10 tackles for loss and three sacks. “I am just so happy for these four kids,” Lackawanna Trail coach Steve Jervis said. “It is a great day for Lackawanna Trail football. This really puts the icing on the cake for a season in 2018 that was really something special.” In Class 3A, Scranton Prep (13-2) reached the semifinals and its top two players on both sides of the ball were named all-state. O’Boyle, who was all-state in basketball as a junior and is headed to Lafayette College to play there, had a record-breaking senior year. He threw for 2,413 yards and 34 touchdowns in leading Scranton Prep to District 2 Class 3A championship. Johnson, a junior, served as the heart of the Cavaliers’ dominant defense. He had 127 total tackles with 7½ tackles for loss and 1½ sacks and a forced fumble. “They were two of the leaders on the team,” Scranton Prep coach Terry Gallagher said. “They would be the first to say that they get the individual recognition, but it can only happen if you are part of a great team and this is as much a team award. “It’s awesome for those guys with Leo on offense, being very steady and always keeping a level head, and Tucker being a mad man always running around making plays and being the motor of our defense.” Pidgeon, who was a two-way all-star in the LFC Division III, gained a place in the secondary. He had 25 tackles and six interceptions with a season-high two against Riverside and against West Scranton and led the Chiefs to the District 2 Class 3A final. As a receiver, he had 103 receptions for 1,634 yards and 15 touchdowns in his career. “He was a three-year starter on defense and a two-year starter on offense and he was a threat any time he was on the field,” former Lakeland coach Jeff Wasilchak said. “He covered so much ground in the secondary. Him playing free safety he could really take away the deep ball.” Wallenpaupack won the LFC Division I title and its first District 2 Class 5A championship with Moore and Smith as the driving forces. The massive Moore, who is 6-foot-6, 315 pounds, helped Wallenpaupack average 204.9 yards rushing and 294.1 total yards per game this season. Smith, a 6-3, 270-pound senior who is headed to Monmouth University, had 75 tackles with 9½ tackles for loss and 1½ sacks. “It’s one of those years that will go down in our memory and history and this is a big honor for us,” Wallenpaupack coach Mark Watson said. “This only happens when you have great teams and they had great kids playing around them. “This is a great thing for all of us to remember and it really puts a cap on what was a wonderful season.” From the Wyoming Valley Coinference, Hanover Area lineman Justin Kopko, who will be a preferred walk-on at Penn State, made the Class 3A team, while Northwest Area’s David Piestrak,was chosen as an athlete in Class 1A. Contact the writer: jbfawcett@timesshamrock.com

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