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 wide receivers:
Reese Gaughan, Jr. – Riverside
Height: 6-0 Weight 180
The Vikings offense took a step back from 2020, but Gaughan still had great offensive production. He caught 56 passes for 443 yards and ran for another 354 yards. The rising junior now has 110 receptions in this first two seasons. Because of injuries, he was even pressed into playing quarterback at times. He also was the best defensive back for the team. Expect him to have similar or better production this season as Riverside finds ways to get the ball in the hands of their best playmaker. Gaughan was an LFC Division III First Team athlete and defensive back in 2021.
Jamaire Harden, Jr. – Williamsport
Height: 5-10 Weight 152
Harden was on fire to start the season for the Millionaires catching 16 passes in his first three games. Despite missing some games in mid-season, he still ended up with 33 receptions for 674 yards and 5 touchdowns. His speed was a huge asset as you can see by his yards per catch. Opposing defenses will struggle to contain him as he gets stronger and even quicker. Harden was named a WVC 6A/5A Honorable Mention wide receiver last season.
Zack Perta, Sr. – Holy Redeemer
Height: 5-11 Weight 160
Perta was part of the dynamic receiving duo last season for the Royals, but it will be his show in 2022. As a junior, he caught a team-high 44 passes for 706 yards. He ended up with 8 total touchdowns on the ground, in the air and special teams. Perta has speed and ability to run past defenders. With his quarterback returning, Perta should be the main playmaker for Redeemer on offense. He will also play in the secondary. Perta was named a WVC 3A Honorable Mention wide receiver and defensive back in 2021.
Connor Shamany, Sr. – Hazleton Area
Height: 6-3 Weight 195
Shamany was part of a potent Cougars offense that has all their skill players returning in 2022 including the quarterback. Shamany led Hazleton with 41 receptions for 801 yards and 10 receiving touchdowns. The yardage and receiving touchdowns was good enough for third most in District 2 and the players ahead of him graduated. Shamany also was a solid defensive back in coverage and should help the Cougars defense improve. His size has helped him get attention from some Division I schools. Shamany was named an WVC 6A/5A First Team wide receiver and Honorable Mention defensive back last season.
Kage Southerton, Sr. – Honesdale
Height: 5-9 Weight 155
Southerton was all about big games in 2021 including a 215 receiving yard game against Abington Heights and a 142 receiving yard game against West Scranton. The key this season will be getting more help in the passing game to avoid being game planned against and put up more consistent numbers. If Honesdale can do that, Southerton will have more success. In 2021, he caught 45 passes for 701 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is the leading returning receiver in yardage and touchdowns in the LFC. Southerton was named a LFC Division II Honorable Mention wide receiver in 2021.
Naquan Johnson, Jr. – Wilkes-Barre
Height: 6-1 Weight 207
The Wolfpack have given us some exciting players in their short existence but we think Johnson will be someone the WVC will have to deal with a different way. He has good speed but his size stands out and will able to take advantage of matchups against opponent’s defenses. Johnson caught 27 passes for 280 yards last season and those numbers should go up. He will also play linebacker for Wilkes-Barre. Johnson was named a WVC 6A/5A Honorable Mention wide receiver in 2021.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Jaden Carroll, Sr. – Mid Valley – Highlights
Evan Litwin, Sr. – Lackawanna Trail – Highlights | Twitter
Kevin Lockett Sr. – Pittston Area – Highlights | Twitter
Jayden Ramirez, Jr. – Delaware Valley Highlights
J.J. Rosa, Sr. – Susquehanna – Highlights