Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Looking ahead …

The official start to high school athletics is Monday, Aug. 15 (honestly, where did Summer go?), and with that, comes the start of varsity football camps.

Over the next several weeks, The Varsity Letters will travel to several local places, talking to coaches, players and whomever else wonders past. From those travels, features such as Camp Kovak and Scouting reports will emerge.

So will an official preseason Elite 11.

At the end of every high school football season, the Observer-Reporter honors a Player of the Year, in addition to an Elite 11 and All-District Team. After a little brainstorming, TVL came up with a group of players who could possibly land on the preseason Elite 11.

Michael Beveridge, Ringgold
Beveridge earned a spot on the 2010 Elite 11 after earning All-Conference honors as a defensive lineman and tight end. With the majority of Ringgold's linemen from last year lost to graduation, Beveridge will be vital for what could be the WPIAL's fastest backfield.

Quentin Briggs, Charleroi

Injuries slowed Briggs during his junior season, but the bruising runner recently landed a place as Pennsylvania's No. 10 running back according to Rivals.com. If Briggs produces a season like his freshman and sophomore years, he might join his cousin Darrell Harding as a 4,000-yard rusher.

Zach Challingsworth, South Fayette

Challingsworth was a top receiver last year for the WPIAL Class AA champions. This year, he could be the Lions' quarterback, and expect the possible Division I-prospect to be a key contributor on defense.

Andrew Erenberg, Peters Township

A tough runner with a nose for the end zone, Erenberg should key a Peters Township offense that is transitioning to a new coaching staff. Erenberg was an Elite 11 selection in 2010.

Sal Faieta, Beth-Center

Faieta, who excelled in summer camps, is receiving interest from a few local Division I schools in addition to programs at the Division I-AA and II levels.

Corey Garry, Fort Cherry
TVL considers Garry to be the area's most underrated player. A punishing blocker from his fullback position, Garry is equally tough as a middle linebacker.

Tanner Garry, Fort Cherry

The area's top quarterback prospect, Garry passed for more than 1,000 yards as a junior and displayed a soft touch on deep passes to go with an ability to hit the short post pattern. He's also a threat to run.

Daniel Lis, Chartiers-Houston
Lis' dual-threat capabilities at quarterback led the Bucs to a fine 7-2 regular season before they ran into a stout Monessen defense in the first round of the WPIAL Class A playoffs. Lis earned a spot on last year's Elite 11.

Demetrius Louis, Ringgold (pictured)
Ringgold had the luxury of bringing Louis, a standout sprinter and Division I-prospect, along slowly during his sophomore season. This year, Louis figures to get more chances in a backfield with Quad Law and Alfon Cook.

Joe Phillips, Washington
Phillips has several scholarship offers, and will be counted on to provide a distruptive presence along Wash High's defensive line. If the Prexies offense excels and Washington contends for a Century Conference title, chances are Phillips' blocking will lead the way.

Justice Rawlins, Monessen
Rawlins' freshman season was one to remember. Playing mostly as a linebacker, Rawlins not only earned a place on the Elite 11, he was a MaxPreps Freshman All-American.

Ones to watch
Deshan Brown, Beth-Center
T.D. Conway, California
Alfon Cook, Ringgold
Mykel Dorsey, Chartiers-Houston
Clayton Evans, Peters Township
Patrick Frey, Trinity
Jaylin Kelly, Washington
Koltan Kobrys, Avella
Quad Law, Ringgold
Juwan Mull, Monessen
Alec Schram, Canon-McMillan
Xavier Severns, Trinity
Jake Sofran, Beth-Center
Josh Wise, Washington
Nick Zupper, Waynesburg


R. Keith Taylor said...

I think another player to keep an eye on for Ringgold is that transfer from Uniontown, Fred Johnson. He was probably Uniontown's best player last year. He adds yet another option to an already lethal (on paper) offense. Two more players to watch for are Taivon Crews and Joey Wall. These two will help bolster the receiving corps.

Another player who isn't on this list, but probably should be is Dom Affinito. He, like Beveridge, is an MSA Sports preseason all-star or whatever they call it.

Opposing coaches are certainly going to be scared, because you can't key in on one player.

mike_kovak said...

Haven't been out to Ringgold yet but I'm hearing Johnson may not see much time on offense. Either way, could be a dynamic backfield. Like Todd Graham says, "Speed, speed and more speed."

Anonymous said...

Ryan Babirad (Fort Cherry receiver) would be a safe bet, as well.

prexie said...

wash high has all kinds of speed this year. if they get blocking they will surprise alot of people. there are alot of athletes on this team, some names may pop up that are not on your list.

Anonymous said...

Ringgold has potential to be better then last year. Watch out!!

mike_kovak said...

Agreed anon 2:04 ... excellent receiver.

If Fort Cherry defends the pass better this year than the past two years, it could be an excellent season.

Anonymous said...

Fort Cherry should be a good team this season...and this is coming from a Clairton fan. They have a lot of really good players. They should easily be a top second teir team in Class A. I dont mean that as a jab at Fort Cherry, please dont take it that way. They have the potential to be a quarter-final/semi-finalist this year...but unfortunately Clairton is still in Class A. Clairton plays on Saturday that week so I will be in McDonald to watch the Fort Cherry/Rochester game this year. That game will tell a lot about the Fort Cherry Rangers.

Sarcastic Sword said...

@Anon 8/11 10:46am

Potentially, I agree..But the Rams have some holes on OL and DL due to graduation and both outside LB's graduated too..Their skill/speed is outstanding - but will need some kids to step in at those positions I mentioned with no previous varsity experience.

Anonymous said...

Fort Cherry was 5-5 last year. Why the hype? Class A is stacked with Avonworth, Monessen, Rochester, Clariton, Springdale, Sto Rox and Western Beaver all looking tough not to mention Beth Center and Chartiers Houston

mike_kovak said...

I'd call it discussion instead of hype.

Anonymous said...

Fort Cherry discussion...

This team has a good returning QB in Tanner Garry, Ryan Babirad was really good last year and Corey Garry was excellent. I know they have others returning. They SHOULD finish #2 in the Black Hills this yer...

Anonymous said...

Since you mention Fort Cherrys record ,why don't you look at their schedule most of the teams that you listed were on the schedule last year and they scrimmage with Avonworth.I'm not saying they're great but when you have Clairton, Rochy,Western Beaver and Chartiers Houston and scrimmage Avonworth probably any other team outside Clairton would have the same or worse record.

Anonymous said...

I personally don't understand how Avonworth's "stacked" this year. Please explain.

R. Keith Taylor said...

@sarc. I agree. The line will make or break this team. However, this is why they run a spread.

Sarcastic Sword said...

@Keith...the spread and speed will give them 5 wins in Keystone before they ever play a down (LH-AG-Hollidaysburg-Uniontown-Derry).

The OL will determine games against Franklin and Greensburg Salem and first round playoff game...Both of those games are on the road - both teams with revenge from last yr..Not an easy task. Those 3 teams will be the top three keystone teams - head to head will determine playoff seeding.

I remember being told that numerous Franklin Reg OL were at the combine held at ringgold in April and the book on them was that they had athleticism and size - something the Rams lack other than Trischler...Even Affinito is terribly under-sized. For his size, hes very strong but conversely, the def tackles he will be going up against are bigger and just as strong. Thats why we need to run east to west and north-south - use that speed and take away the need for the OL to have to win games.

Lope Parent said...

Avonworth Stacked? Well yes sorta, they have 19 returning seniors. The line looks very good, QB is returning, RB is returning who was a very good back, they have an outstanding Soph RB who (if he can hold onto the ball) has a TON of talent. Their only downside is receivers (have to see if anyone steps up) and their LB (same). They have an all pro steeler as their line coach who I think will make a huge diff.

That said, this might be the last year for a few. The only have a handfull of juniors.

Anonymous said...

I thought Tanner Gary graduated last year as well as Alec Schram of Canon-Mcmillan on the honorable mention list?

R. Keith Taylor said...


I was talking to a few people and they say Hollidaysburg won't be as bad as people think despite losing a very good QB and WR.

Sarcastic Sword said...

@Keith...With young people who arent proven, sometimes they are better than what they are like at first glance. Maybe Hollidaysburg fits this mold..What I know is that thet graduated 90% of their team - their JV team was awful when Rams JV destroyed them..

What the Rams have in their favor is on Sept 16 when Hollidaysburg makes that god-awful road trip to open up Keystone action, they will do so with a QB making his first road conf start after a 3 hour bus ride...Cant but help the Rams...

R. Keith Taylor said...


I agree with you.