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.
Here are the fullbacks:
Karl Kincel, Sr. – Dunmore
Height: 5-10 Weight: 190
When you think Dunmore football, you think running game. The Bucks are the best at it and part of that reason is a long line of standout fullbacks. Karl Kincel returns to that role from last season although he might end up carrying the ball more in 2020. Last season, he ran the ball 45 times for 252 yards and 1 touchdown. Kincel will also be a valuable member of the Dunmore defense playing lienbacker and was a Lackawanna Football Conference Division III first-team linebacker in 2019.
Ray Melnikoff, Sr. – Lackawanna Trail
Height: 5-11 Weight: 215
The last two seasons have seen Ray Melnikoff be a leader on a team that went to the state semifinals and state title game. He has rushed for 2,823 yards and scored 30 rushing touchdowns over that period and has also been one of the best linebackers in the LFC. Melnikoff was Lackawanna Football Conference Division IV Offense Player of the Year, first-team fullback and first-team linebacker in 2019. He was also an NPF All-District 2 fullback as well and earned first-team all-state honors at fullback from the Pennsylvania Football News last season.
Kevin Meluskey, Sr. – Hazleton Area
Height: 6-0 Weight 215
New Hazleton Area coach Dennis Buchman knows he has an impact player in Kevin Meluskey so don’t be surprised him lining up at different spots in the offense. Meluskey was the leading rusher for the Cougars after carrying the ball 111 times last season for 459 yards and 7 touchdowns. He also will play linebacker for Hazleton where he had 47 tackles in 2019. Last year, Meluskey was named an NPF Wyoming Valley Conference 6A/5A first-team fullback.
T.J. Noto, Sr. – Valley View
Height: 6-0 Weight 205
Noto was one of the best blocking fullbacks in the LFC last season helping pave the way for Valley View to rush for over 3,000 yards and should take on more of a role running the football. He ran for 245 yards and 3 touchdowns. Noto will also play middle linebacker for the Cougars. He was named an NPF Lackawanna Football Conference Division II honorable mention fullback and a second team all-state fullback by the Pennsylvania Football News.
Noah Taylor, Sr. – Wilkes-Barre
Height: 5-10 Weight: 205
In the Wolfpack’s first season, Noah Taylor made a huge impact on both sides of the football. On offense, he ran the ball 82 times for 525 yards and 6 touchdowns. Wilkes-Barre’s offense lost some key players so Taylor could take on an even bigger role this season. He also played in the middle of the defense at linebacker and recorded 83 tackles and 2 sacks.
Shaine Hughes, Sr. – Abington Heights
Height: 5-11 Weight: 190
Hughes will be a first-year starter at fullback and will be key to an Abington Heights offensive resurgence. With several key players returning including the starting tailback, the Comets hope the running game can be a the driving force in the turnaround. Hughes is also Abington’s leading returning tackler and 80 tackles in 2019.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Parker Bolesta, So. – Dallas
Ian Little, Sr. – Valley View
Aiden Mason, Jr. – Berwick
Adam Silfies, Sr. – Western Wayne
Ty LaFave, So. – North Pocono