Before closing the books on another football season with our all-Southeastern Pennsylvania squad, we use our last timeout and rank the area's best fullbacks and kickers. (Yes, kickers deserve love, too.)
When it comes to the fullbacks, please note that the names of players who were already mentioned as being among the top running backs (e.g. Archbishop Wood's Brandon Peoples) or linebackers (e.g. Ridley's Shane Dougherty) will not be duplicated here.
1. Justin Pyle, Garnet Valley, sr., 5-foot-9, 185 pounds. In the Jaguars' triple-option attack, Pyle carried 274 times for 1,745 yards and 21 touchdowns. He also had eight receptions for 200 yards and a pair of scores.
2. Daquan Mack, Pennsbury, jr., 6-1, 245. A bruising runner and blocker, Mack helped spark the Falcons' drive to the PIAA District 1 Class AAAA semifinals.
3. Joe Nilan, Malvern Prep, sr., 6-0, 220. The Inter-Academic League's most valuable player carved out running room for Shawn Wilson and company.
4. Dalton Fleming, Upper Perkiomen, sr., 6-2, 210. Fleming's blocking helped tailback John Olson rush for nearly 1,500 yards and 16 TDs.
5. James Fielder, North Penn, sr., 5-10, 195. Battling back from a thigh injury, Fielder, also a part-time defensive end, aided the Knights' march to the Class AAAA final in Hershey.
6. Robby Curtin, Pottsgrove, sr., 5-9, 155. For the District 1 Class AAA champions, Curtin rushed 106 times for 820 yards and 12 TDs.
7. Ricky O'Donnell, Wissahickon, sr., 5-11, 205. O'Donnell, a hard-nosed rusher, earned first-team all-Suburban One League American Conference honors as a linebacker.
8. Vinny Nattle, Phoenixville, sr., 6-1, 185. While leading the Phantoms to the District 1 Class AAA final, Nattle rushed 241 times for 1,456 yards and 11 scores.
9. Robert Kralle, Bok, sr., 6-2, 245. Kralle, also a quality inside linebacker, played a key role in the Wildcats' run to the District 1-12 Class AA subregional final.
10. Ryan Whiteley, Council Rock South, sr., 5-11, 230. For the Golden Hawks, Whiteley was a steadying force as a fullback and linebacker.
Ten others to watch, listed alphabetically: Eric Berger, Penn Charter, jr., 5-9, 165; Andrew Crawford, Strath Haven, sr., 6-0, 190; Jared Herrmann, La Salle, jr., 5-8, 160; Chris Kane, La Salle, jr., 6-0, 210; Corey Kelly, Plymouth Whitemarsh, jr., 5-10, 170; Wade Mastrog, Downingtown East, jr., 6-1, 220; Derek Matonti, West Chester Henderson, jr., 5-7, 190; Brett Pellicciotti, Roman Catholic, sr., 5-9, 190; Tom Takacs, Interboro, jr., 6-1, 205; Max Vido, Springfield (Montco), sr., 6-0, 180.
1. Brandon Mandes, North Penn, jr., PK/P; 2, Nick Visco, Archbishop Wood, jr., PK; 3, Ben Solis, Council Rock South, sr., PK/P; 4, Ryan Winslow, La Salle, jr., PK/P; 5, Dave Faraldo, Father Judge, sr., P; 6, Aron Morgan, Haverford School, jr., PK; 7, Connor Foley, Father Judge, soph., PK; 8, Steve Weyler, Cardinal O'Hara, soph., PK/P; 9, Jeff Wolf, Souderton, jr., PK; 10, Eric Boyer, Upper Dublin, sr., PK/P.
Ten others to watch, listed alphabetically: Brandon Dowd, Garnet Valley, soph., PK; Steve Fitzgerald, Haverford School, jr., P; Casey Fosbenner, Quakertown, sr., PK; Quinn Hager, Episcopal, jr., PK/P; Kelton Heverly, Ridley, jr., PK; Howard Lynn, Northeast, sr., PK/P; Anthony Nicolardi, Marple Newtown, sr., PK; Bryan Reice, Neshaminy, sr., P; Nicholas Tucci, Neshaminy, soph., PK; Jake Wright, George Washington, jr., PK.
Rick O'Brien: The Inquirer TOP 10
Last week's ranking in parentheses.
1. Archbishop Wood (1) 14-1
2. North Penn (2) 13-3
3. La Salle (3) 12-2
4. Council Rock South (4) 12-2
5. Neshaminy (5) 8-4
6. Pennsbury (6) 9-4
7. Downingtown East (7) 9-3
8. Abington (8) 10-2
9. Garnet Valley (9) 11-2
10. Cent. Bucks South (10) 8-4
Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Malvern Prep (9-2), Roman Catholic (8-3), St. Joseph's Prep (7-4), West Catholic (10-4), West Chester Henderson (8-3).
- Rick O'Brien