At the end of each high school football season, the Observer-Reporter releases its All-District Football Team. Included in that group is the O-R Player of the Year, which was Canon-McMillan's Mike Hull in 2008, and the Elite 11.
Thought it might be fun to release a preseason Elite 11 comprised of players from the O-R coverage area. At the end of the year, we'll go back and examine how close this list will be to the one that matters.
(In alphabetical order)
Quentin Briggs, Charleroi
Few freshman made a bigger impact than Briggs, the cousin of former Charleroi great Darrell Harding. He rushed for over 1,000 yards last year despite being the focal point of every defensive opponent.
Christian Brumbaugh, South Fayette
Could be one of the WPIAL's more heavily recruited by the time his senior year arrives. Brumbaugh started last year as a sophomore and regularly ranked among WPIAL passing leaders.
Andrew Erenberg, Peters Township
After a year at Pittsburgh Central Catholic, where he started some as a freshman, Erenberg is back at Peters Township and figures to play a key role at tailback and defensive back. His father, Rich Erenberg, was a running back for the Steelers (1984-86).
Chad Hagan, Canon-McMillan
Hagan returned to the Big Macs as a junior after concentrating on basketball his sophomore year. A big-play specialist, Hagan is being recruited by several Big Ten teams on both sides of the football. Ohio State remains his top choice.
Thomas Harriston, Chartiers-Houston
As a junior, Hairston was one of the area's premier defensive players and hardest tacklers. The senior linebacker grew two inches (6-2) and put on 15 pounds (195) since last year.
Mike Hull, Canon-McMillan
A Penn State recruit, Hull has over 2,500 yards rushing with the Big Macs. Hull will be a four-year starter at fullback and linebacker. He was first-team all-state at linebacker a year ago.
Hans Lubich, Jefferson-Morgan
One of the area's better multi-sport athletes, Lubich – a PIAA high jump medalist – ranked among area scoring and rushing leader throughout the 2008 season and gave the Rockets a go-to player.
Kyle McWreath, Trinity
According to Hillers coach Ed Dalton, McWreath had a better sophomore year at linebacker than Andrew Sweat did. That's high praise. McWreath will start at linebacker and possibly fullback.
ShelDon Miller, Monessen
Miller will be a four-year starter as a defensive back and few opponents dare test him, as evidence by the one interception he had as a sophomore. Miller is being recruited by several MAC schools.
Bryan Thomas, Washington
One of two players on this list related to former Prexies great Travis Thomas, Bryan Thomas ranks as one of the hardest-working football players around. At 6-4, Thomas can play running back or tight end for Wash High and has offers from a couple MAC schools as a defensive player.
Ken Wilkins, Trinity
A Michigan recruit, Wilkins can dominate from the defensive end position as he finished last year with 20-plus tackles for loss. The 6-4, 245-pound cousin of Thomas, was a first-team all-state selection last year.
Honorable mention (don't be surprised to see these guys on the Elite 11 at year's end)
Dom Broglia (Canon-McMillan), Zach Barnes (Washington), Joe Havrilak, Hunter Landok (Trinity), Brad Opar (South Fayette), Trenton Bedillion, Logan McAnany, Derroick Whipkey (McGuffey), Austin Hancock, Brandon Hoffman (Peters Township), Tanner Garry, Corey Garry, Gary Kiefer (Fort Cherry), Bob Bracken (Ringgold), Zach Hooks (Charleroi), DeShan Brown, Tyler Miller (Beth-Center), Dylan Bongiorni (Burgettstown), Terrance Stepoli, Trae Cook (Monessen), Devante Brooks, D.J. Martinak (California).