This is the 12th edition of our Five To Watch series. We thank Attorney Michael Ossont of 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 2023 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 defensive backs:
Jordan Chmielewski, Sr. – Mid Valley
Height: 5-8 Weight 160
Chmielewski begins his third year as the Spartans starting free saftey. That experience makes him a key player on the defensive side of the ball. He is a sure-tackler and was second on the team in tackles his sophomore season. Chmiewleski is good in coverage and a cerebral player on the field. He will also start at quarterback for Mid Valley for the second straight season.
Max Kimmel, Jr. – Lackawanna Trail
Height: 6-2 Weight 180
Kimmel is a great athlete who could have been named at several positions on the preseason lists. On defense, he will be very important against pass-happy league offenses on the schedule. Kimmel has very good size and can play physical, but he also covers ground with speed and positioning. On offense, he rushed for 304 yards and averaged 27 yards per catch with four touchdown receptions. Kimmel was an LFC Division III First Team defensive back and athlete last season.
Ryder Machado, Sr. – Delaware Valley
Height: 6-0 Weight 175
Machado was a dynamic player in the back half of the Warriors defense. He led the team with six interceptions, 11 passes defended and was second on the team with 96 tackles last seaso. Machado has very good speed, plays physical, and made big plays when his team needed them. He also will be the featured tailback on offense after rushing for 719 yards as the backup. Machado was named an NPF All-District 2 defensive back, an LFC Division I First Team defensive back and Honorable Mention running back in 2022.
Lucas Tirpak, Sr. – Dallas
Height: 5-9 Weight 150
Tirpak stepped into the lineup last year and made an impact on the defensive side of the ball. In 2022, he compiled 51 tackles. He also had three interceptions that were returned for 97 yds, including a defensive touchdown. Tirpak makes up for his small stature with good ball-hawking ability and above-average coverage skills. He will be counted on to be the Mounts shut-down corner. Tirpak was named a WVC Division 1 Honorable Mention defensive back last season.
Noah West, Sr. – North Pocono
Height: 5-11 Weight 185
West is one the of the best returning athletes in the LFC. Last season, he took on a leadership role as a junior and with the Trojans losing key seniors from 2022, he will have to take on even more on and off the field. West played physical from the secondary and was also efficient in coverage. He will also be back for his second season as a the starting quarterback. West was named an LFC Division I Honorable Mention defensive back in 2022.
Matt Sklarosky, Sr. – Crestwood
Height: 5-11 Weight 155
The Comets graduated key members of the secondary so Sklarosky will take on even more responsibilty and be a key member on defense of the district title. He got his first start in Week 8 last season and never looked back. Crestwood was able to make a run in the playoffs and Sklarosky and his toughness as their boundary corner was a big reason for the late-season and post-season run.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Paul Riggs, Jr. – Wyoming Valley West – Highlights
Chris Savkov, Sr. – Valley View – Highlights | Twitter
Kevin Schmidt, Sr. – Abington Heights – Highlights
Chris Sholtis, Jr. – Lake-Lehman
Tae Weeks, Jr. – Scranton Prep – Highlights | Twitter