This is the eighth edition of our Five To Watch series. We thank Mansfield University for coming aboard again as a sponsor on the network and our title sponsor for Five To Watch. There are 34 teams in the WVC and LFC so it’s impossible to recognize every single player in this list. The players we do list are some of the best at their position or have an interesting role coming up in 2019 for their team. For players who don’t make the list, we hope you strive to make our lists at the end of the season because that’s the ones that really count.
Next up, running backs:
Josh Balcarcel, Sr. – Delaware Valley @JoshB2121
Delaware Valley has produced some pretty good quarterbacks over the years, but sometimes their running backs get overshadowed. Balcarcel was a monster in what could be called a ‘rebuilding’ year for the Warriors. He rushed for 1,248 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also ran the ball 222 times which shows you he can carry the load. For his effort, he was an NPF LFC Division 1 First Team running back and will be the driving force of the offense as the DV seeks another district title.
Lenny Kelley, Sr. – Dallas
Kelley was another workhorse that was the focus of his team’s offense. He ran the ball 266 times for 1,653 yards and now has over 2,200 for his career. He also reached the end zone 16 times. Although, he wasn’t deeply involved in the passing game, when he did catch the ball, he averaged 14 yards per reception and that could grow this year with his starting QB returning. Kelley was an NPF WVC Big School Second Team running back in 2018.
Corey Mruk, Sr. – Wyoming Area @corey_mruk
Numbers aren’t everything as Mruk rushed for 1,069 yards which might seem low for being the featured back on an undefeated team in the regular season that’s winning margin was an average of 37 points. He only carried the ball 134 times but averaged just under 8 yards per carry. Mruk really runs with a fullback mentality and should be a main cog in a very dynamic Warriors’ offense. But don’t forget about his defensive ability. He was an NPF All-District selection and WVC Small School First Team pick at linebacker as well as the NPF WVC Small School Offensive Player of the Year.
Giovanni Spataro, Jr. – Lakeland @Gspataro25
Spataro broke into the high school football scene his freshman year and hasn’t stopped running. Over the first two seasons, he has rushed for 2,655 yards and 26 touchdowns. At 5-10, 175 pounds, Spataro shows great lateral movement to get to the hole and has a burst through the hole to allow him to get to the linebackers quickly. He has been able to create space where there is none. Spataro was an NPF LFC Division III First Team running back and is poised to challenge Joe Tuzze Chiefs all-time rushing record as a junior.
Kevin Williams, Sr. – West Scranton
West Scranton is another District 2 team that should thrive on offense and it all starts with Williams. The senior running back is quick and tough to bring down on first contact. He rushed for 1,297 yards and 12 touchdowns last season and the Invaders will be poised to improve on it’s seven win season and Williams will be the catalyst for the offense. Williams was an NPF LFC Division II Honorable Mention running back in 2018.
Zane Janiszewski, Jr. – Western Wayne
Coach Randy Wolff has emphasized the running game since taking over the Wildcats program and Kobe Sauter was evidence of that the past couple season. Janiszewski will step into the role of the featured back and should be given plenty of opportunties to carry the ball. He won’t be starting from scratch as he rushed 73 times last season for 460 yards. He was also an NPF LFC Division II Honorable Mention linebacker in 2018.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Gavin D’Amato, Sr. – Tunkhannock
Rayshaun Dawkins, Sr. – Dunmore
Zack Kojadinovich, Sr. – Lake-Lehman
Brandon Ludovici, Jr. – Holy Cross
Jacob Owens, Sr. – North Pocono