This is the 11th edition of our Five To Watch series. We thank The Mattioli Law Firm for returning as our title sponsor for Five To Watch. There are 33 teams in the WVC and LFC so it’s impossible to recognize every single player who might be deserving. The players we do list are some of the best at their position or have an interesting role coming up in 2022 for their team. Players will be recognized at only one position, even if they are capable two-way players. For players who don’t make the list, we hope you strive to make our lists at the end of the season because they are the ones that really count.
Here are the fullbacks:
Alex Hacker, Sr. – Berwick
Height: 5-10 Weight 195
Berwick wants to get back to a strong running game and Hacker will be expected to be the lead blocker in this new role for him. The Dawgs offense is counting on everyone to step up their game as the unit has struggled in recent years. Hacker is also a key member of the Bulldogs defense where he lines up at defensive end. He was named an WVC 4A Honorable Mention defensive lineman in 2021.
Justin Kalitsnik, Jr. – Delaware Valley
Height: 6-2 Weight 180
Kalitsnik had big shoes to fill entering last season and made his own mark on both sides of the ball for the Warriors. On offense, he was a powerful lead blocker who helped produce a 1,000 yard tailback while also carrying the ball 28 times himself for 140 yards. More impressive, he was the third leading receiver on the team with 19 receptions for 199 yards. Defensively, he had an impressive sophomore season with 117 tackles and 3 fumble recoveries. He is one of the best returning two-way players in the LFC. Kalitsnik was named an LFC Division I Honorable Mention fullback and First Team linebacker.
Mick O’Malley, Sr. – Scranton Prep
Height: 6-1 Weight 210
O’Malley will try to replace an All-District player and lead the way for the most prolific running back in the area. Although he will get some carries, his main job is clear and with the Cavaliers losing four starting linemen, they will need the fullback to be a reliable blocker. On defense, O’Malley did get some experience on that side of the ball and will be a leader at linebacker for Prep.
Hunter Patterson, Jr. – Lackawanna Trail
Height: 6-1 Weight 190
Patterson was a key member on both sides of the ball for the District 2 Class 2A Champions. An important part of the Lions Wing-T offense, the fullback rushed for 822 yards and 10 touchdowns and added 8 receptions as well. Patterson was also one of the leading tacklers on defense at linebacker. Patterson was named an LFC Division IV Honorable Mention fullback and linebacker in 2021.
Kaleb Shimer, Sr. – Susquehanna
Height: 5-10 Weight 160
The Sabers made a shift to a more traditional offense which included an expanded passing game that threw the ball 222 times. Shimer will be used in protection as a blocker, but don’t be surprised if he is the primary ball carrier for Susquehanna. He is the returning leading rusher with 56 carries for 226 yards and three touchdowns. He is also expected to be the leader on defense for the Sabers as the coaches feel he is best tackler on the field on gameday.
Lincoln Bibla, So. – Crestwood
Height: 6-0 Weight 175
Bibla enters his second year of varsity football already raising eyebrows. His older brother is a senior at Crestwood and his father is a former Comet who played in the NFL. More important, he started 10 games as a freshman so the experience is there. He should be a factor on both sides of the ball.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Austin Boersma, Jr. – Abington Heights – Highlights | Twitter
Ryan Cuba, Sr. – Dallas
Robby Garvey, Jr. – Riverside – Highlights | Twitter
Aiden Pierson, Jr. – Wallenpaupack – Highlights
Alonzo Rice, Jr. – Williamsport – Highlights