Coatesville No. 1 in preseason rankings
Records are last season's.
1. Coatesville (13-3)
The Red Raiders, with ample speed and eight returning defensive starters, are primed to make another strong postseason run. Speedster Daquan Worley, a 1,700-yard rusher last season, returns to the backfield. Tyler Burke, Devonte Suber, and Steve Pawling are part of a stellar linebacking corps.
2. La Salle (12-2)
The Explorers were hit hard by graduation, but look for them, as always, to make major noise. Rising quarterback Kyle Shurmur, running back Jordan Meachum, and handyman Jimmy Herron are the focal points on offense. LB Zaire Franklin anchors a young, improving defense.
3. Neshaminy (9-4)
Expectations, for good reason, are high in Langhorne. D'Andre Pollard and Trokon Buesmaill should find plenty of daylight running behind an offensive line that includes center John Koch (6-foot-1, 245 pounds) and tackle Mike Palmer (6-4, 265). End Luke Carrezola and LB Denny Lord lead a rugged defense.
4. Archbishop Wood (12-3)
Look for the Vikings, quick and strong, to contend again for statewide glory at the Class AAA level. QB Tom Garlick returns, as do running backs Josh Messina and Jarrett McClenton. A 4-4 defense will feature linebacker Jake Cooper, end Christian Lohin, and cornerback Kendall Singleton.
5. Downingtown East (10-1)
Like Neshaminy, the Cougars have considerable beef up front. The offensive line includes guard Alec Petrillo (6-3, 270), center Mike Whalen (6-0, 220), and tight ends Mike Reichwein (6-5, 250) and Alec Coyle-Nicolas (6-5, 245). That spells continued production from rusher Ryley Angeline.
6. St. Joseph's Prep (10-1)
Gabe Infante's squad won't sneak up on anyone this season. QB Chris Martin can turn to four dangerous playmakers: John Reid, Olamide Zaccheaus, Jawan McAllister, and up-and-coming rookie De'Andre Swift. But can the Hawks adequately fill the up-front vacancies?
7. Imhotep Charter (14-1)
The Panthers are on a mission to take the next Class AA step and reach Hershey. Nasir Bonner and company have the luxury of running behind a line that features guard Aaron Ruff (6-5, 295), center Gordon Thomas (6-0, 305), and tackles Taleem Muhammad (6-6, 305) and Yasir Durant (6-7, 310).
8. North Penn (6-4)
It's hard to imagine another subpar, non-playoff season in Lansdale. The Knights have experience in QB Austin Shearer, wingback Kris Akins, fullback Luke Berry, and halfback Nick Wright.
9. Spring-Ford (12-3)
The Rams are contenders in the Pioneer Athletic Conference behind speedy backs Jarred Jones and Tate Carter and wide receiver Gary Hopkins. Carter can play multiple positions, including QB.
10. Cardinal O'Hara (5-5)
QB Dashawn Darden, running backs J.T. Blyden and Lamont Veal, and wideout Thaddius Smith are home-run threats on offense. The goal of dethroning Wood also hinges on the play of two-way linemen J. Kraiza and Eric Trainor, linebacker Nolan Cummings, and kicker Steve Weyler.
11. Interboro (11-3)
With six starters back on both sides of the ball, the Bucs could well repeat as District 1 Class AAA champs. Sonny Armstrong is a bruising fullback and linebacker. Matt Gould (6-5, 310) is a handful as a two-way tackle.
12. Pennsbury (9-3)
The rebuilding Falcons are a year away from being a real power, but will still be formidable. A wing-T attack revolves around halfback Charles Snorweah and QB Breon Clark.
13. Ridley (11-1)
The Green Raiders lost a lot to graduation, but can never be counted out in the Central League. They bring back savvy QB Collin Wright, outside linebacker Lou Harrison, and receivers Jabree Savoy and Matt Borchert.
14. Pottsgrove (11-1)
The Falcons return nine starters on defense, including middle guard Anthony Pond, end Patrick Finn, LB Jeff Adams, and CBs Mike Fowler and Marquis Barefield.
15. Garnet Valley (8-3)
Another strong turnout (47 seniors) bodes well for the Jaguars. QB Christian Portale has halfback Jake Irving and split ends Jude DiGiacomo and Aaron Parenti at his disposal.
16. C.B. South (10-2)
The Titans' no-huddle, spread scheme is ignited by tailback Josh Adams, coming off a 2,000-yard season; QB Matt Radwanski; and wideout Paul Weeks. A lot depends on the growth of an inexperienced offensive line.
17. Abington (8-4)
Tailback Craig Reynolds, a 1,200-yard rusher last season, is set for another big season. Support comes from fullback Keith Boggi, QB Anthony Lee, and receivers Shamar Farmer and Christian Werner.
18. Archbishop Ryan (6-5)
A strong nucleus is composed of two-way end Sean Boylan, receiver-safety Connor Golden, two-way tackle Joe Hansbury, LB Jesse Wireman, and QB Mark Ostaszewski.
19. Pennridge (12-2)
New coach Jeff Hollenbach did not find the cupboard completely bare. The Rams return dynamic tailback Mike Class, who ran for 2,417 yards and 32 scores last season; two-way tackle Shayne Kraynik; and receiver Micah Stutzman.
20. Downingtown West (7-4)
The Whippets are not conceding anything in the Ches-Mont National. The spark plugs on offense are running backs Mitch Meleski, Braden Harper, and Jimmy DiSantis.
21. Frankford (9-3)
Quinton Ellis and Damion Samuels are breakaway threats at running back; two-way end Shareef Miller is a bruiser; and linemen Javez Baker-Hall (6-3, 250) and Kadar Jones (6-2, 300) are solid run-stoppers.
22. Roman Catholic (6-4)
With experience along the offensive line, Cahillites boss Joe McCourt expects to have rushing success. The top grunts are Mike Joyce, Phil Forrence, and Ricky Rivera. Dimitri Kelly and John Chaney III are dangerous backs.
23. West Catholic (7-4)
The Burrs, seeking their eighth consecutive Catholic League title, should flourish on offense with tailback Greg White, a 1,400-yard rusher last season; QB Antwain McCollum, and swift receivers Patrick Amara, Ahkil Crumpton, and Craig Jones.
24. Malvern Prep (6-5)
The pieces are in place for the Friars to reclaim the Inter-Ac League title. The catalysts on offense are handyman Troy Gallen, fullback Hunter Paulus, and promising QB Alex Hornibrook.
25. Haverford High (7-4)
Looking for a dark horse to win the Central League? The Fords fit the bill. They have solid running backs in Kevin Leyden, Jai Thornton, and Alex Drum.
(Listed alphabetically.) Episcopal Academy (10-0), George Washington (8-3), Haverford School (7-4), Perkiomen Valley (8-3), Plymouth Whitemarsh (9-2), West Chester Rustin (8-3).
- Rick O'Brien