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 fullbacks:
Justin Kalitsnik, Sr. – Delaware Valley
Height: 6-2 Weight 180
Kalitsnik was one of the best two-way players in the LFC last season. At fullback, he was a punishing blocker who led the way for two tailbacks who eclipsed the 2,o00 rushing yard mark. He also was very good in the passing game both as a receiver and pass blocker. Kalitsnik also led the defense at linebacker recording 143 tackles. He was named an All-District 2 and LFC Division I First Team fullback and an LFC Division I First Team linebacker last season.
Hunter Patterson, Sr. – Lackawanna Trail
Height: 6-1 Weight 190
Patterson has been a constant on both sides of the ball over the last two seasons for Lackawanna Trail. At fullback in the Wing T , he has rushed for 1,321 yards and 15 touchdowns during his career. Patterson is also a very effective blocker in an offense that relies on timing and execution. On defense, he has been an impact player at linebacker leading the team in tackles. Patterson was named an LFC Division III Honorable Mention fullback and First Team linebacker in 2022.
Aiden Pierson, Sr. – Wallenpaupack
Height: 6-1 Weight 210
Pierson was actually more involved with the offense as a pass catcher than running the football. But that’s not where his strength was. He is considered one of the best blocking running backs in the LFC and the Buckhorns feel he will be even better this season. His strength and power should help Paupack increase productivity in the running game. Pierson was named an LFC Division I Honorable Mention fullback last season.
Preston Reed, Jr. – Valley View
Height: 6-1 Weight 215
Reed made his presence known on a team that rushed for over 2,000 yards last season. He developed into a solid blocker, but was even more impressive running the ball. Reed ran for 351 yards, averaged over 6 yards per carry and added 2 touchdowns as a sophomore and is expected to double his touches this season. He also could see time as a linebacker on the defensive side of the ball. Reed was named an LFC Division I Second Team fullback in 2022.
Howie Shiner, Sr. – Wilkes-Barre
Height: 6-2 Weight 180
Shiner had a breakout 2022 season and is the top returning fullback in rushing yards in District 2. He ran for 667 yards and three touchdowns and also was an effecive blocker for a tailback that was a 1,000-yard rusher. Wilkes-Barre should have a high-power offense this upcoming season with Shiner being a big contributor on that side of the ball. He was also one of the leading tacklers on defense for the Wolfpack in 2022. Shiner was named a WVC Division 1 Honorable Mention running back and linebacker last season.
Jake Hickey, Sr. – Dunmore
Height: 6-0 Weight 175
Hickey has seen plenty of playing time the past two seasons, but his impact will be even more evident his senior season as the becomes the full time starter for the Bucks. Expect him to carry the ball more in 2023 and continue to be an effective blocker as Dunmore breaks in a new tailback.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Austin Boersma, Sr. – Abington Heights – Highlights | Twitter
Carter Mitishin, Sr. – Western Wayne – Highlights
Josh Mruk, So. – Wyoming Area
Craig Pabst, Sr. – Scranton – Highlights
Jayden Shortz, Sr. – Hanover Area – Highlights