Rick O'Brien: Ranking SE Pennsylvania’s top high school fullbacks
Sam Feleccia, who gained 167 yards on 22 carries for La Salle, came up with two outstanding defensive plays in the third quarter with a solo tackle and a hurry of State College quarterback Matt Mazzara. The 6-3, 225-pound Feleccia, who has scholarship offers from Football Championship Subdivision schools Delaware and New Hampshire, is a possible H-back at the next level and plans to major in business or sports medicine.
HERSHEY, Pa. - The 2009 football campaign officially ended here Saturday, with La Salle taking home the PIAA Class AAAA state championship with a 24-7 triumph over State College at HersheyPark Stadium.
Today, we wrap up our tour of the local football talent with a look at the best fullbacks in the area.
We'll present our annual all-Southeastern Pennsylvania team next Sunday, with the area's player of the year, team of the year, coach of the year, and other post-season honors.
Here is one man's list of the season's best fullbacks:
1. Brendan McLaughlin, Avon Grove, junior, 6-foot, 205 pounds. The bruising rusher and blocker was crucial in the Red Devils' drive to an 11-2 record and the District 1 Class AAAA playoff semifinals. He helped clear running room for speedy halfbacks Jordan Harris and Brandon Monk.
2. Kayvon Greene, Pottsgrove, junior, 6-2, 210. Greene, who doubles as a defensive end, was arguably the area's most explosive fullback. In the District 1 Class AAA final vs. Interboro, he had a 95-yard touchdown jaunt in the first quarter.
3. Dante Devine, Pennsbury, senior, 6-1, 180. Like Greene, Devine, also a basketball standout, could go the distance on any play. He was also a major threat as a kick returner.
4. Wyatt Benson, Haverford School, senior, 6-1, 220. Benson will play linebacker at Temple, but he was a force as a blocker and short-yardage rusher for the Inter-Academic League tri-champions.
5. Mike Labor, St. Joseph's Prep, senior, 6-3, 215. Labor, injured in the Catholic League hampionship game against La Salle, was a gritty lead blocker for Desmon Peoples, Skyler Mornhinweg, and others.
6. Chase Fleming, Upper Perkiomen, senior, 6-0, 210. Switching between halfback and fullback, he rushed for 1,127 yards and 15 TDs. At linebacker, he notched 100-plus tackles.
7. Tom Devlin, Chestnut Hill Academy, senior 5-11, 220. He did the bulk of the dirty work as backfield partner and Northwestern recruit Ibraheim Campbell rushed for nearly 1,900 yards and 28 TDs.
8. Mike Culbreath, North Penn, senior, 6-1, 210. His rugged play helped junior Craig Needhammer explode for 1,500 yards and 24 TDs. Culbreath also starred at linebacker.
9. Dan O'Hara, Cardinal O'Hara, senior, 6-2, 220. In addition to blocking for Ohio State-bound speedster Corey Brown, he rushed for more than 700 yards and nine scores.
10. Corey Majors, Neshaminy, junior, 6-1, 225. Majors, also a physical linebacker for the Redskins, assisted on many of tailback Bryan Dean's long gains.
Twenty five others to watch, listed alphabetically: Zaire Anderson, Frankford, senior, 6-0, 175; Pat Balmores, Neumann-Goretti, senior, 5-7, 190; James Brennan, Upper Merion, senior, 5-10, 185; Phil Bucci, Plymouth Whitemarsh, junior, 5-10, 190; Keith Corliss, Germantown Academy, sophomore, 6-0, 185; Geoff DeLan, Quakertown, senior, 5-9, 205; Vernon Dupree, George Washington, senior, 6-0, 225; Trey Faust, Downingtown West, junior, 5-11, 180; Patrick Glemser, Archbishop Wood, senior, 5-9, 170; Jimmy Lamb, Penn Charter, senior, 6-0, 210; Lee Marvel, Council Rock North, senior, 5-11, 195; Scott McNeil, Interboro, senior, 5-11, 190; Jamil Morgan, Simon Gratz, junior, 6-0, 345; Bryant Moritz, Archbishop Carroll, senior, 6-0, 210; Brian Mosby, West Catholic, senior, 6-2, 220; Kevin Murt, Archbishop Wood, senior, 6-0, 190; Khalil Neal, Bok, junior, 5-11, 210; Steve O'Hara, St. Joseph's Prep, senior, 6-2, 195; Chris Palmieri, Downingtown East, senior, 5-7, 195; Bob Scaramuzza, Malvern Prep, senior, 5-9, 215; Kyle Schuberth, Monsignor Bonner, senior, 5-7, 185; Terrance Stafford, Dobbins, junior, 5-9, 200; Brian Taylor, Episcopal Academy, senior 6-0, 195; Tim Wade, La Salle, sophomore, 5-7, 165; David Williams, North Catholic, senior, 5-11, 200.
La Salle netted 257 rushing yards on 39 attempts in its historic win over State College. The starting offensive line: center Ryan Geiger, guards Steve Szostak and Matt DiGiacomo, tackles Dylan Gavin and Cameron Cappo, and tight end Steve Jones.
In the Explorers' second snow-covered win in three weeks, senior quarterback Drew Loughery completed 5 of 11 passes for 108 yards. The 6-1, 205-pounder finished the season with 2,400 passing yards and 23 TDs. Over the last two seasons, he threw for 5,028 yards and 48 scores while steering the Explorers to a 23-4 record.
Sam Feleccia, who gained 167 yards on 22 carries for La Salle, came up with two outstanding defensive plays in the third quarter with a solo tackle and a hurry of State College quarterback Matt Mazzara. The 6-3, 225-pound Feleccia, who has scholarship offers from Delaware and New Hampshire, is a possible H-back at the next level and plans to major in business or sports medicine.
Fourteen La Salle players made tackles. Senior end/tackle Steve Sinnott spearheaded the defensive effort with seven tackles, including two solos. In State College's first second-half series, he had a QB hurry and recovered a fumble by QB Dom Mills. . . . Junior safety Kevin Forster recorded three solo tackles. . . . State College came into the game averaging 255.9 yards rushing per game. The Explorers held the Little Lions to 99 yards on the ground. . . . With a 17-yard keeper on the first play of the second half, Mills had the longest gain of the afternoon for the District 6 champions. . . . In addition to Sinnott, reserve linebacker Mark DiFrangia and outside linebacker Sam Feleccia had QB hurries. . . . End Joseph Naji deflected a fourth-quarter pass. . . . Junior tailback Jamal Abdur-Rahman (seven carries for 60 yards, including a 22-yard TD) did not return after injuring his right knee on Tim Wade's 8-yard TD run with 1:10 left in the first half. Feleccia replaced him on offense and Patrick Resch filled in at cornerback. . . . Alex Kenney's 96-yard TD return for State College was the second longest in the 22-year history of the PIAA finals. . . . With his 37-yard, first-quarter field goal that bounced off the left side of the crossbar as it went through, La Salle's Mike Bennett now holds the record for the longest boot in a Class AAAA final.