This weekend Hershey Stadium served as host for the P.I.A.A. Football championships in all school classifications. In previous years, Penn State fans have had the opportunity to watch a number of their prospects' quests to win a State Championship. The last time the Blue and White faithful have buzzed like this over a championship weekend was 1996, when two future Nittany Lions, Dowingtown's Aaron Harris and McKeesport's Brandon Short, clashed in the Quad-A game. This weekend allowed us the chance to view to future Nittany Lions, Paul Posluszny and Austin Scott, along with a number of seniors and juniors who have received interest from the Lions.
10. #35 Mark Yezovich - Woodland Hills HS (6-1, 232) Sr.
Yezovich, a Pittsburgh commit, reminded me of former Nittany Lion, Mike Cerimele, because of his hard-nosed nature. He played both FB and MLB for Woody Hills, but will be a fullback when he reports for the Panthers.
9. #74 Craig Bokor - Hopewell HS (6-3, 260) Jr.
The PCN announcers raved about Craig the entire game. From his defensive tackle position, Craig helped keep the Strath Haven running attack under wraps. From his guard position, he opened some of the holes that enabled Paul Posluszny to rumble for 167 yards. Only a junior, he possesses the size and speed college recruiters love. Keep an eye open for his name next spring.
8. # 8 Dave Shinskie - Mount Carmel HS (6-4, 220) Sr.
I saw Dave play quarterback for Mount Carmel as a sophomore when his Red Tornadoes faced Aliquippa in the championships. He was as impressive now as he was then. Dave possesses a cannon for an arm and good footwork. Some Division One schools, like Pitt and Michigan State, have maintained a steady interest. If football does not work out, a baseball career could be in his future.
7. #22 Nick Pinchek - Parkland HS (6-2, 200) Sr.
Not a D1 scholarship prospect, Nick helped to take the load off Austin Scott, running from his fullback position. Nick also helped shut down the Woodland Hills passing game from his free safety position.
6. #21 Ryan Mundy - Woodland Hills HS (6-2, 207) Sr.
Ryan pulled Woodland Hills ahead of Parkland in the second quarter with a 50 yard punt return, which showcased his great speed. On defense, Ryan was virtually non-existent, struggling with run support against Parkland's run dominated offense.
5. #85 Travis Decker - Parkland HS (6-2, 225) Jr.
The junior defensive end helped to squash any Woodlands Hills' comeback with his fourth quarter pass rush. Next season, Travis will be one of the most sought after recruits in Pennsylvania.
4. #32 Chris Morgan - Woodland Hills HS (5-11, 175) Sr.
Like Austin Scott, Chris Morgan injured his knee and missed his junior season. The senior runningback matched Austin early, cutting holes through the Parkland defense. Chris ran tough enough to interest D1 teams, such as MAC schools. He lacks the breakaway speed that many big time schools crave.
3. #40 Dan Conner - Strath Haven HS (6-3, 215)
Coming into this game, Conner was the topic of much discussion, especially after it was learned Penn State has offered a 'ship to a junior. On defense, the middle linebacker seemed like he made every tackle. He plays with an instinctiveness and aggressiveness that mirrors throwback middle linebackers, like Butkus and Singletary. On offense, Dan plays fullback, rolling up impressive season rushing numbers, only justifying his athletic ability.
2. #24 Paul Posluszny - Hopewell HS (6-3, 215)
At 6-3, 215, Paul's body has not yet filled out, leading many to believe that he can add more weight and muscle. On Friday night, Paul's impressive running led Hopewell to the Championship. He showed his speed and power, knifing through a very impressive Strath Haven defense. On defense, Paul was in on a number of tackles, though on this night, his offense came to the forefront.
1. #33 Austin Scott - Parkland HS (6-2, 205) Sr.
What else can anyone say but--"THIS KID IS AWESOME." Speed, power, speed, cuts, speed, and vision make up Austin's runningback personality. He will not start from day one, but barring injury, he will play from day one.
#79 OL Jon Skinner - Mount Carmel HS (6-5, 280) Jr.
# 2 RB/DB Drew Letcavage - Mount Carmel HS (6-1, 175) So.
#21 WR/LB Steve Matsura - Mount Carmel HS (5-11, 195) Sr.
# 9 WR/DB Joe DalSardo - Seton-LaSalle HS (5-9, 200) Sr.
# 3 QB Anthony Doria - Seton-LaSalle HS (6-1, 205) Sr.
# 8 QB Mark Wojtowicz - Southern Columbia HS (5-11, 185) Sr.
#43 FB Mike Bruce - Hopewell HS (6-0, 200) Sr.
# 1 QB/DB Matt Fontana - Hopewell HS (5-11, 185) Sr.
#80 TE/OLB Dave Peck - Strath Haven HS (6-5, 215) Jr.
#74 OL/OLB Sam McGarity - Strath Haven HS (6-3, 215) So.
Congratulations to Southern Columbia, Mount Carmel, Hopewell, and Parkland High Schools on their championship seasons. Also to Rochester, Seton-LaSalle, Strath Haven, and Woodland Hills High Schools for their great seasons and the class they showed in defeat.
JsT's Top 15 Pennsylania's Juniors for 2003:
15. FB Dan Lawlor - Mechanicsburg (Cumberland Valley HS) 6-2, 220
14. S Adam Gunn - Vandergrift (Kiski Area HS) 6-3, 185
13. DT/G Craig Bokor - Hopewell (Hopewell HS) 6-3, 265
12. TE/OLB Dave Peck - Wallingford (Strath Haven HS) 6-5, 215
11. DE Kyle Newell - Bethlehem (Bethlehem Catholic HS) 6-5, 225
10. QB/Ath Jordan Steffy - Lancaster (Conestoga Valley HS) 6-2, 200
9. DE Corey Davis - Pittsburgh (Peabody HS) 6-5, 250
8. DE Travis Decker - Allentown (Parkland HS) 6-2, 225
7. RB Anthony Heygood - Springfield (Cardinal O'Hara HS) 6-2, 215
6. OL A.Q. Shipley - Moon (Moon HS) 6-3, 275
5. LB James Bryant - Reading (Reading HS) 6-3, 220
4. RB Andrew Johns