Most likely to play in a PIAA cham­pi­onship game in Her­shey

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - Morn­ing Call re­porter Mark Wo­gen­rich can be reached at 610-820-6588 or at mwogen­[email protected]

■ 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.

Best mas­cot

■ 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.”

RICK KINTZEL/THE MORN­ING CALL

Se­nior Kaden Moore is a stand­out line­man for Free­dom.

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