Before we forge ahead and present The Inquirer's all-Southeastern Pennsylvania football team, we take a final time-out and ranking of the area's top fullbacks and kickers.
Please note that some fullbacks who doubled at linebacker and were ranked among the best at that position will not be listed here. That group includes Neshaminy's Corey Majors, Lansdale Catholic's Devon Barrett, Pottsgrove's Kayvon Greene, Bok's Khalil Neal, Pennridge's Brandon Cope, and St. Joseph's Prep's Jeff Heath.
1. Thurman Fortune, Strath Haven, senior, 5-foot-8, 170 pounds. Helping spark the Panthers' drive to a PIAA District 1 Class AAA title, he carried 226 times for 1,730 yards and 18 touchdowns.
2. Dom Taggart, North Penn, senior, 6-1, 210. A bruiser at fullback and linebacker, Taggart rushed for 1,110 yards, had 30 catches for 577 yards, and totaled 27 touchdowns.
3. Kavonne Nottingham, Penn Wood, senior, 5-10, 215. Despite being slowed by a shoulder injury, Nottingham totaled nearly 1,000 rushing yards and 12 TDs. In his career, he posted a school-record 37 TDs.
4. Brandon Peoples, Archbishop Wood, junior, 5-10, 175. Before moving to tailback and carrying the load there, Peoples had a trio of 100-yard rushing performances, including 168 yards vs. Cardinal O'Hara.
5. Tim Wade, La Salle, junior, 5-9, 185. Over the last two years, Wade, expected to be next season's go-to back, helped Jamal Abdur-Rahman rush for nearly 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns.
6. Trey Faust, Downingtown West, senior, 5-11, 180. For his aggressive blocking and running, Faust earned first-team all-Ches-Mont League National Division honors.
7. Brendan McLaughlin, Cardinal O'Hara, senior, 6-0, 205. It was an ankle injury that kept the hard-nosed McLaughlin from coming close to equaling the numbers he put up while at Avon Grove.
8. Corey Bronson, Roman Catholic, senior, 5-10, 230. Bronson, also a hard-hitting defensive end for the Cahillites, cleared room for the likes of Marcus Kelly and Dennis Regan.
9. Sam Funk, Owen J. Roberts, senior, 6-1, 220. With his assistance, speedy tailback Ryan Brumfield rushed for 2,844 yards and 36 TDs. Funk also starred at outside linebacker.
10. John Olson, Upper Perkiomen, junior, 6-0, 190. He carried 215 times for 1,191 yards and 13 TDs. Olson and quarterback Casey Pearlstein (1,501 yards passing, 1,023 rushing) formed a solid one-two punch.
1, Nick Visco, Archbishop Wood, soph., PK; 2, Kyle Haber, Roman Catholic, senior, PK/P; 3, Steve Weyler, Cardinal O'Hara, freshman., PK; 4, Aron Morgan, Haverford School, soph., PK-P; 5, Aaron Sassaman, Boyertown, sr., PK; 6, Christian Guinan, Chestnut Hill Academy, sr., PK; 7, Tyler Mayes, Downingtown East, sr., PK-P; 8, Ryan Henritzy, Council Rock North, sr., PK/P; 9, Connor Foley, Father Judge, freshman, PK; 10, Ryan Winslow, La Salle, soph., PK-P.
Title tidbits. In its 21-0 loss to North Allegheny Saturday in the Class AAAA state final, La Salle's defense was led by outside linebacker Mark DiFrangia (eight solo tackles, one assist), end Joe Naji (six solos), and free safety Kevin Forster (five, one). DiFrangia made two tackles for a combined loss of seven yards. . . . In the game's second minute, the first of the Explorers' five turnovers snapped a turnover-free streak of 158 minutes. . . . In Saturday's Class AA title game, West Catholic netted 530 yards on offense, including 406 on the ground, en route to a 50-14 romp over South Fayette. Senior tailback Brandon Hollomon, with 112 yards on 14 attempts, upped his career rushing total to a 3,263 yards. He broke his brother Rob's mark of 3,159. . . . Spearheading a defense that held the Lions to 136 total yards were inside linebacker Kevin Burns (11 solos, three assists), end Jim Lynch (five, three), strong safety Kevin Malone (five solos), and middle guard Dom DiGalbo (three solos). Two of Lynch's tackles went for a combined loss of 19 yards. The 6-4, 225-pound senior, who doubled at tight end, is hearing from Old Dominion, Norfolk State, and Villanova. . . . When North Allegheny coach Art Walker played wide receiver at Clarion, Downingtown East boss Mike Matta was an assistant, as a linebackers coach and special-teams coordinator, with the Golden Eagles.