2019 Season Preview: LFC Division I

Coaches Consensus Predictions:
1. Delaware Valley
2. North Pocono
3. Scranton
4. Abington Heights
5. Wallenpaupack

It was Wallenpaupack’s year as they won the division and a Class 5A title in 2018. But they graduated 26 seniors and now will have to rebuild so Delaware Valley who won their last seven games of the season and another district title before falling in the state playoffs is the favorite.

Delaware Valley Warriors
Coach Keith Olsommer (21st season, 142-85)
Class 6A
2018 Record: 9-4 (2-2)
Stadium: Warrior Stadium

Delaware Valley had a slow start in 2018, but that won’t happen this season. Coach Keith Olsommer, who is now the longest tenured coach in the LFC, says business as usual. “Win the division, compete for a District Championship and play a Week 14 Game.”

The entire backfield is back including quarterback Zach Scillia, fullback Jason Henderson and tailback Josh Balcarcel and so is receiver Jawon Foushee and tight end Hunter Klein.  Four starters return on the offensive line – James Paskae, Mike Gecik, Joel Loomis and Connor Leone. One of the best kickers in the LFC also returns Noah Sorrell.

The defensive line is the biggest question mark and could be seven or eight players rotated in. Henderson returns as an All-District linebacker while Klein also started last season. Matt Studsrud, Preston Machado, Foushee and Scillia are all returning starters in the secondary.

North Pocono Trojans
Coach Greg Dohlon (8th season, 34-42)
Class 4A
2018 Record: 6-5 (3-1)
Stadium: Trojan Stadium

Coach Greg Dohlon knows he has to replace a very talented graduating class. “We have very inexperienced upperclassmen …. hoping to play younger players as the year progresses and continue to build the standard for the program as a annual playoff team”

The biggest shoes to fill are at quarterback where Michael Scutt, Michel Kearney and William Soma all competed for the position. Jacob Owens is back at tailback, the lone returning skill player. Damien Howe and Tib Toy will battle for the fullback spot. Compeition at wide receiver will be good too with Kollin Leschinsky, Jack Roche, Dan Walsh, Ryan Dolphin and Jonah Polishan all in the mix. Robert Van Brunt does return at tight end. Dustin Moss is lone returning lineman as Chris Kryeski, Tommy Hannon, Logan Keating and Xavier Steinruck will fill the other spots.

Defense will be a strength at the front four all return – Van Brunt, Moss, Steinruck, Kryeski. Gabe Hribal and Owens are returning starters at linebacker as AJ Ambrosecchia, Ty LaFave, Howe and Toy will compete for the other positions. All new members in the secondary with Michael Scutt, Roche, Dolphin and Walsh.

Scranton Knights
Coach Steve Shumbres (2nd season, 1-10)
Class 6A
2018 Record: 1-10 (1-3)
Stadium: Scranton Memorial Stadium

The Knights struggled last season, but second year coach Steve Shumbres thinks he has the program headed in the right direction. “We are hoping to improve after a disappointing 2018 season.” Six starters on each side of the ball return.

The backfield will have three new faces – QB Tylil White, FB Josh Davies and RB Rodrigo Salazar. The starting receivers are a strength and are all returning  in Jason Thorpe-Adams, Ricky Walker and Sam Jones. Seamus Hailstone is also back at tight end. Cody Carlson and Charles Stewart are back on the offensive line while Sean Norton, Matt Reyes and Damir Manheim will fill the other three spots.

RJ Overton and Liam Hailstone are returning starters on the defensive line while Karim Greene and Daviesbwill get first crack at the other two spots.  Seamus Hailstone* is the only returning linebacker and will be joined by Mychal Slavinski and Josh Cohen. The secondary is experienced with White, Thorpe-Adams and Jones.  Matt Williams is the newcomer to the unit. Jeremiah Ortiz will handle both kicking and punting duties.

Abington Heights Comets
Coach Joe Repshis (15th season, 102-60)
Class 4A
2018 Record: 2-9 (0-4)
Stadium: Comets Stadium

The Comets are back on the rise as their roster is in the mid-50’s and a new crop of young players impact the program. Coach Joe Repshis is confident.

“We are looking forward to the upcoming season and to playing a very challenging schedule. We have a solid nucleus of experienced and athletic players returning this year. A talented group of players consisting of underclassmen and newcomers to the program will compete for starting positions and playing time and will also add depth in all three phases of the game.”

Michael Show, the brother of forme All-District player JC Show, has returned to the district and will be given the first shot at quarterback. Matt Laustaukas returns at fullback while both Julian Blanco and Louis Natale will handle most of the reps at tailback. Corey Perkins and Robbie Horvath are the returning wide receivers. The biggest change for Abington is all-league tight end Mike Malone has moved to the offensive line. Connor Dempsey is first choice to replace him at tight end. The Comets will be much better up front with Will Stevens and Griffin McGinley back at starter and Michael Pusateri moving back to the line. Jimmy Lefchak will handle the placekicking.

The defensive front will have some new faces joining Malone. Chris Wickenheiser, Burns, Dempsey, Stevens and Griffin McGinley will rotate in with some younger players. Laustaskas and Pusateri are back at linebacker and Griffen Noone, Perkins and Horvath are all returning starters in the secondary.

Wallenpaupack Buckhorns
Coach Mark Watson (14th season, 65-72)
Class 5A
2018 Record: 9-4 (4-0)
Stadium: Wallenpaupack Stadium

The Buckhorns are coming off a season where they won the division and a district title. However, they graduated 26 seniors from that team and a rebuild will have to come with younger players. Coach Mark Watson is still cautiously optimistic.

“We will be very inexperienced after losing a very talented senior class that many started since they were sophomores. How quickly we can bring our young players up to Varsity game speed will dictate our success, especially with our physical schedule. Our skill players will be good but our OL, DL and LBs will have to show their physicality early for us to have success.”

Alec Gardsy is the new quarterback while Shadrak Agyei takes over at tailback. Seamus Smith is penciled in as the new fullback for the Buckhorns. Anthony Dalessio is a returning starter at wide receivers while veteran JT Tirjan will also see some time there. Josh Cruz and Matt Horak will play tight end. Brandon King and Liam Smith are the returning starters on the offensive line.  Zyler Blau, Jeremy King and Jeff Williams will be given the task of filling the other three spots.

Brandon King also returns on the defensive line and Nick Parrella , Jeremy King, Williams, and Liam Smith will rotate in the other spots. Four new faces at linebacker – Lenny Ruggieri, Seamus Smith, Alex Deleo and Cruz will be the starters. Tirjan, Horak and  Thomas Dowd are experienced defensive backs and will be joined by Amir Jones and Mike Simon.