Most likely to play in a PIAA championship game in Hershey
■ Freedom: 17 votes
■ Easton: 5 votes
■ Parkland: 4 votes
■ Notre Dame-Green Pond: 4 votes
■ Bethlehem Catholic: 4 votes
■ St. Joe’s Prep: 7 votes Freedom, the defending District 11 Class 6A champ, is the overwhelming favorite in this category, though it’s instructive to note which team actually placed second.
St. Joe’s Prep, which beat Freedom on its way to the PIAA 6A title, looms large in the minds of Lehigh Valley players. Imhotep Charter, which defeated Bethlehem Catholic the past three years, drew a few votes as well.
And Bethlehem Catholic might be underrated as it seeks a fourth straight trip to the PIAA 4A semifinals.
Most exciting player
■ Tavion Banks, RB, Bethlehem Catholic: 11 votes
■ Jared Jenkins, QB, Freedom: 8 votes
■ Brandon Camire, RB, Emmaus: 5 votes
■ Nyjier Reed, LB, Allen: 5 votes
■ Alec Snyder, RB/WR, Wilson: 4 votes
Banks, the senior running back from Bethlehem Catholic, led the EPC South in rushing last year and scored an astonishing 30 touchdowns. Though he’s running behind a rebuilt offensive line, Banks will be fun to watch.
Jenkins threw for 2,196 yards last season and leads a Freedom offense that returns plenty of skill-position players.
Best chance of reaching the NFL
■ Tavion Banks, RB, Bethlehem Catholic: 9 votes
■ Kaden Moore, OL, Freedom: 8 votes
■ Nick Dawkins, OL, Parkland: 7 votes
■ Ali Barkley, RB, Whitehall: 4 votes
Banks led this category as well, with two Division I linemen also generating support. Moore is committed to Bowling Green, and Dawkins will play at Penn State. And for good measure, four players predicted that Ali Barkley will join brother Saquon in the NFL.
Toughest place to play
■ Easton’s Cottingham Stadium: 36 votes
■ Bethlehem Area School District Stadium: 5 votes
■ East Stroudsburg South’s Purple Pit: 4 votes
The most lopsided vote for the second consecutive year as players who lobbied for themselves and teammates in other categories agreed overwhelmingly on this: Cottingham Stadium delivers the best football environment in the Lehigh Valley. It will be interesting to see whether that continues after Cottingham’s planned renovation following the season.
■ Easton Red Rovers: 15 votes
■ Allen Canaries: 7 votes
■ Dieruff Huskies: 5 votes Must be the combination of intimidating mascot and cute bulldog puppy co-branding the Red Rovers that appealed to the players.
They also liked Allen’s Canary and the Dieruff Husky.
Should high school players be able to transfer to another school and play without penalty?
■ No: 34 votes
■ Yes: 19 votes
Lawmakers have turned transfer rules and “boundary schools” into Harrisburg talking points, but no one ever asks what the athletes think. Our survey turned up reluctance for open transfers, with 64% voting “No.” Here are a few of their comments: “Play for your own school.” “Play for your hometown.” “Stick with your team.” “High school is more than sports.”
Senior Kaden Moore is a standout lineman for Freedom.