Feb. 23—Williams Valley's record-setting touchdown tandem will get to share the gridiron one more time in their high school careers.
Quarterback Bryce Herb and tight end Jesse Engle were among eight Schuylkill League football players named Monday to the East roster for the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association East/West Small-School Game set for Sunday, May 30, at Central Dauphin High School's Landis Field.
Jacob Hoffman (athlete) and T.J. Wagner (long snapper) of Nativity, Jim Thorpe offensive lineman A.J. Bailor, Shenandoah Valley offensive lineman Jason Migliaccio, Pine Grove linebacker Brody Robinson and North Schuylkill defensive back Dylan Dietz were also selected to the 36-player roster of players from Class A-3A schools.
Schuylkill Haven's Mike Farr is the East head coach, while Nativity's Pat Mason and Williams Valley's Tim Savage will serve as assistants.
The East/West games are held in conjunction with the Big 33 Football Classic, which is slated for Monday, May 31. This year marks the first year there will be two East/West games, with the Class A-3A game slated for noon and the Class 4A-6A contest to kick off at 5 p.m. There were no local players selected to the big-school game.
"It's great that Schuylkill County got represented really well in the small-school game," said Farr, who is also president of the PSFCA. "I think it's well-deserved and long overdue that players in our area get a chance to showcase their talents at state level. I'm really happy and proud to be that first coach."
Herb, Engle and Robinson were named to the Pennsylvania Football Writers' All-State Team, while Engle and Robinson were first-team picks and Herb and Dietz were second-team choices on the PFN Coaches Select All-State Team.
Herb completed 86-of-194 passes for a District 11-best 1,875 yards and 24 touchdowns this season, guiding Williams Valley to a share of the District 11 Class A championship. He finished as the school's all-time leader in passing yards (4,880) and passing touchdowns (66).
Engle, who played all over in Williams Valley's offense, hauled in 35 passes for 685 yards and 13 touchdowns on offense this season while recording a team-high 87 tackles (60 solo) from his linebacker spot on defense. Engle is the Vikings' all-time leader in TD receptions with 34.
Hoffman rushed for 725 yards and scored 10 touchdowns for Nativity, helping the Green Wave reach the District 11 playoffs for the fourth straight season and upend city rival Pottsville in their 2021 season opener. Wagner, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound tight end/defensive end, led Nativity in tackles.
Robinson was the Republican Herald Defensive Player of the Year and the Schuylkill County Football Coaches Association Dream Team Defensive Player of the Year after racking up a school-record 144 tackles in 10 games. The 5-10, 210-pounder recorded double-digit tackles in every game, including a school-record 24 against Tamaqua, 21 against Jim Thorpe and 20 against Pottsville. His total of 144 tackles ranked No. 1 in Pennsylvania, according to MaxPreps.com.
Bailor, a 6-1, 260-pounder, and Migliaccio, a 6-5, 295-pounder, were the anchors of their offensive and defensive lines. Bailor was named the SCFCA North Offensive Lineman of the Year and was one of 68 recipients of a 2020 Pennsylvania Mini Max Award.
Dietz was a two-way standout for District 11 Class 3A champion North Schuylkill, catching 26 passes for 285 yards and four TDs on offense, intercepting four passes on defense and booting 38 extra points on special teams.
The eight local selections are joined by a talented group of players that includes Class AA All-State quarterback Johnny Gilchrist of Riverside, five players from Class 3A state runner-up Wyomissing, four players from District 11 Class 3A runner-up Notre Dame-Green Pond, three players from Class A state champ Steel-High and two from Class AA state champion Southern Columbia.
PSFCA East/West Small-School
QB — Johnny Gilchrist, Riverside; Bryce Herb, Williams Valley; ATH — Aaron Malone, William Penn Charter; Jacob Hoffman, Nativity; RB — Odell Greene, Steel-High; Matt Frauen, Notre Dame-Green Pond; WR — Darren Brunner, Wyomissing; Bilal Weidler, Susquehanna Township; Damein Hammonds, Steel-High; Chad Parton, Salisbury; TE — Jesse Engle, Williams Valley; OL — Ryan Wreath, William Penn Charter; Lex Rivera, Notre Dame-Green Pond; Seamus Filoon, Wyomissing; Brandon Guffy, Notre Dame-Green Pond; A.J. Bailor, Jim Thorpe; Jason Migliaccio, Shenandoah Valley.
DL — Cross Douglas, Lakeland; Tydre Hollands-Ali, Steel-High; Rocco Palazzo, William Penn Charter; DE — William Jordan, Notre Dame-Green Pond; Kylee Page, Susquehanna Township; Braden Heim, Southern Columbia; LB — Zane Janiszewski, Western Wayne; Joe Abidelli, Northern Lehigh; Brody Robinson, Pine Grove; Wade Kerstetter, Southern Columbia; Andre O'Neal, William Penn Charter; DB — Dylan Dietz, North Schuylkill; Zach Zechman, Wyomissing; Jordan Auman, Wyomissing; Ryan Stahl, Halifax; Zachary Smith, Palisades; P — Macrae Plummer, Annville-Cleona; K — Aidan Cirulli, Wyomissing; LS — T.J. Wagner, Nativity
Head coach — Mike Farr, Schuylkill Haven; Assistant coaches — Andrew Erby, Steel-High; Tim Savage, Williams Valley; David Piwowarczyk, Lakeland; Pat Mason, Nativity; Randy Wolf, Western Wayne.
Contact the writer: Lboyer@republicanherald.com; 570-628-6026; @pubsportsboss on Twitter