This is the ninth 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 2020 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. (Players are only eligible for one list. If they play other positions, that will be mentioned in their write-ups)
Here are the defensive backs:
Brenden DeMarzo, Sr. – Crestwood
Height: 5-10 Weight: 165
DeMarzo will be a key component in the Crestwood secondary as the defense will be much-improved in 2020. He will be the quarterback of the defense as he has a high football IQ. Last season, Demarzo had 60 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 1 sack and 1 interception. On offense, he will play wide receiver. DeMarzo had 16 receptions for 176 yards.
Preston Machado, Sr. – Delaware Valley
Height: 5-7 Weight 150
Machado had a break out year in 2019 as he became a shut down corner for the Warriors. He ended up with 76 tackles and 1 interception. Machado is a physical player for size with very good speed. He will also be the No. 1 tailback for Delaware Valley. Last season, Machado has 484 yards rushing. He was named a Lackawanna Football Conference Division I first-team defensive back.
T.J. Schmalze, Jr. – Wallenpaupack
Height: 5-9 Weight 165
As a sophomore, Schmalze got a lot of experience on a very young Wallenpaupack defense. He was very effective despite his youth registering 56 tackles, 3 fumble recoveries and team-leading 5 interceptions. He will be counted on doing more this season. Schmalze will also play wide receiver on offense. In 2019, he was named a Lackawanna Football Conference Division I honorable mention defensive back.
Jacob Williams, Sr. – Wyoming Area
Height: 5-9 Weight 165
Williams was a key member of the defense of state title team at Wyoming Area. He finished the season with 34 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 4 interceptions, three that came against Tamaqua in a state playoff game. Williams will also be the new quarterback for Wyoming Area as they look to repeat as district champions.
R.J. Wren, Sr. – Dallas
Height: 5-11 Weight 175
Another player who helped his team to a ton of success, Wren will be important on a team that lost 22 seniors. He had 42 tackles and 3 interceptions in 2019. He also returned kickoffs last season and averaged 18.3 yards per return.Wren will take over the quarterback position on offense so he will be one of the most important players for the Mounts.
Noah Parchinski, Jr. – Riverside
Height: 5-9 Weight 140
The Vikings lost a bunch of skill players from last season but Parchinski will be one of the most experienced defensive backs coming back. He will have many opportunities on both sides of the ball, especially in the high-power Riverside passing game. Look for him to have a big season.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Adam Howanitz, So. – Valley View
Matt Lukasavage, Sr. – Dallas
Mike Pidgeon, Sr. – Lakeland
Shawn Sheptock, Sr. – Berwick
Donato Stepney, So. – Scranton