Valley View did it again.
OK, it’s beginning to sound like a broken record, and we are sure people are starting to get that old 1970’s and 1980’s perception that the high school football world belongs to the Cougars and everyone else is just a bit player. And honestly, growing up in that era, Valley View served as the New England Patriots of the area. The Cougars were the Dallas Cowboys for that generation’s fans.
Well, this season, for the first time since 2011, the program deserves every bit of acknowledgment it receives during a season where the odds — believe it or not — have been firmly stacked against it.
With their 33-0 thumping of Dallas in Week 8, the Cougars firmly established themselves as the top team in District 2. And it’s hard to argue with a resume like this:
- WEEK 1: Defeated Wallenpaupack, 27-14.
Wallenpaupack has clinched a tie for the LFC Division I championship and is the leading team from District 2 for the 2-11 Class 5A subregional playoff.
- WEEK 4: Defeated Scranton Prep, 27-15.
Scranton Prep is 7-1 this season and is the overwhelming favorite to win the District 2 Class 3A championship. Scranton Prep has won its seven games by an average of 33.3 points per game.
- WEEK 6: Defeated Berwick, 35-7, at Crispin Field.
Berwick is 7-1 this season and was considered the best team in the Wyoming Valley Conference. The Bulldogs have given up a total of 82 points in their other seven games this season.
- WEEK 8: Defeated Dallas, 33-0, at Mountaineer Stadium.
Dallas is 7-1 this season. The Mountaineers entered the game averaging 40.3 points per game and had won their seven games by an average of 27.7 points per game.
Let’s take a closer look at what Valley View has done since having a 3-3 record after six games in 2017:
- FOUR STRAIGHT: The Cougars took out their frustrations after a 1-point loss to Scranton Prep out on the rest of the LFC Division II teams. They won four straight to finish the 2017 regular season and averaged 35.8 points a game and won by an average of 19.8 points.
- DISTRICT CHAMPIONS: Valley View dominated in the District 2 Class 4A playoffs, beating Crestwood, 51-7, and Coughlin, 40-7. Then, the Cougars defeated Berwick, 24-17, in double overtime on the road at Crispin Field.
- EIGHT IN A ROW: The Cougars have dominated in running their regular-season winning streak to 12 straight. Valley View has scored at least 20 points in each game and is beating opponents by an average of 22.3 points.
Now, if you think this is just one outstanding team, you are correct. But it is also a collection of standouts with each class contributing to the overall team’s success.
Of course there is a solid senior class that helped the Cougars claim the District 2 Class 4A championship last season. There are plenty of juniors and sophomores doing their parts, too.
Then, there is another incoming freshman class that has continued the program’s recent run of success at that level. The Cougars freshman team, that won the LFC Division I title in 2016 and the LFC Division II title in 2017, and wrapped up the LFC Division II championship and has beaten Delaware Valley, 20-18, in a battle of undefeated teams this week.
In their four LFC Division II games, the Cougars freshman team has defeated West Scranton, 46-0, Scranton Prep, 32-6, Honesdale, 35-18, and Western Wayne, 33-0.
This could be quite a run for the Cougars.
In the last few weeks, there have been several wide receivers who have taken their places among the top athletes at their positions. If you remember, at the start of the season, we took a look at career leaders in the major statistical categories. Now, admittedly, the receiving numbers were the hardest to find. Some emailed us in additions of players we missed, and that is a good thing. But, we still fear we are a bit short on career records. However, we want to, at the very least acknowledge a few players from the LFC who are direct evidence of how there is becoming a shift in offensive approaches in the conference, which has a reputation as being built on the running game.
LFC LEADER: Yogi Roth, Lackawanna Trail, 1996-1999 (157)
Western Wayne, 2015-18
Abington Heights, 2017-18
Old Forge, 2016-18
Career Receiving Yards
LFC LEADER: Chris Washko, Lakeland, 1998-2000 (2,872)
North Pocono, 2016-18
Abington Heights, 2017-18
North Pocono, 2016-18
Old Forge, 2016-18
Western Wayne, 2015-18
We have reached Week 9 of the reveal of the Fantastic 50 players who have impacted and shaped the history of the first 20 years of the post Big 11 and Suburban Conferences era. These are the first of the final 10.
There are some really big names in this group, again.
Fans are beginning to narrow down who some of the future players are, but we remind again, this is not a ranking. There is, by my account, a pretty good balance of linemen, backs, receivers, offensive and defensive standouts to this point.
So, let’s recap the ground rules and continue the reveal:
- WHO: A look back at the top players who shaped the post Big 11 and Suburban Conference era that dates from 1998 to 2017. It includes 18 seasons of the Lackawawanna Football Conference (1998-1999, 2002-2017) and two seasons of the Northeast Pennsylvania Football Conference (NEPFC) that existed in 2000 and 2001.
- WHAT: This is not a ranking, and that should keep fans guessing as to who is to come each week. It is true that some players, naturally, had more glowing resumes, and we would be naive to think that once this starts, fans won’t start piecing together who is on the list. That being said, and it will be repeated over and over, it is not a ranking. The 50 players were selected and divided into 5-player groups.
- WHEN: Each week of the regular season as part of the Thursday blog posts, generally close to 10 a.m.
- WHERE: ON THE BLOG. Posts will be made available at timestribuneblogs.com and links will be on Facebook at Times-Tribune Sports.
NOTABLE: There was NO set criteria used. This can’t be emphasized enough. Nothing — no award, no postseason honors, no number of years as a starter — guaranteed any player a spot in this project like say, 500 career home runs locks in a MLB player a spot in the Hall of Fame. For example: If a player made all-state they made the list. No, that is not true. There were a lot of all-state players selected in 20 years, but yes it certainly increased a player’s chances of making the list had they been selected all-state. Of course, Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year were given weighted consideration. Each of the close to 100 players considered had their resumes compared to each other and through careful consideration 50 players were chosen.
- Kevin Sochovka | Riverside LB
- Zach Lasavage | Carbondale Area RB
- Ryan Paulish | Old Forge OL-DL
- James McHale | Dunmore OL
- Kyle Passeri | Valley View RB
- Alex Filarsky | Lakeland DB-WR
- Mike Boland | Dunmore OL-DL
- Wayne Lydon | Valley View DB
- Brandon Clemons | Delaware Valley OL-DL
- Dave Keisling | Abington Heights DB-QB
- Shane Smith | Honesdale RB
- Colin Golden | Lackawanna Trail WR-DB
- Nick Rossi | Riverside RB-LB
- Matt Wagner | Delaware Valley LB-FB
- Miller Holmes | Dunmore QB
- Brian Tomasetti | Old Forge RB
- Tyler Hughes | West Scranton QB
- Noah Beh | Scranton Prep OL-DL
- Matt Cavallaro | Delaware Valley QB
- Nick Shoemaker | Dunmore OL-DL
- Eric Shrive | West Scranton OL-DL
- Dylan Kelly | Delaware Valley DB-WR
- Brandon Yescavage | Old Forge RB
- Joe Klebon | Riverside RB
- Devin Myers | Lackawanna Trail QB-DB
- Evan Prall | West Scranton WR-DB
- Joe DeFebo | Wallenpaupack RB
- Shane Schuback | Old Forge FB-TE-LB
- Richard Jackson | Lackawanna Trail RB-DB
- Dan Drewes | Dunmore OL-DL
- Brett Trichilo | Dunmore RB
- Frankie Colletta | Delaware Valley RB
- Yogi Roth | Lackawanna Trail WR-DB
- Corey Talerico | Riverside QB
- Al Karaffa | Scranton QB
- Chris Washko | Lakeland WR
- Kevin Manning | Abington Heights OL
- Karlon Quiller | Scranton WR-DB
- Daiqwon Buckley | Dunmore RB-LB
- Morris Jackson | Lackawanna Trail OL-DL
Now to Grouping 9. ..
Jake McCARTHY | SCRANTON
- Pennsylvania Sports Writers (Class 4A) all-state RB 2014
- Times-Tribune Offensive Player of the Year, 2014
- Times-Tribune Male Athlete of the Year (2015)
- Ran for 6,080 yards (LFC 2nd all time) and had 90 Touchdowns
- Had 13 games of 200 or more yards rushing
- Helped Scranton to LFC Division I title (2012)
- University of Virginia (baseball)
Hubie GRAHAM | WEST SCRANTON
Tight end and defensive end
- Associated Press Class 3A all-state first team TE 2007
- Times-Tribune Defensive Player of the Year 2007
- Hookey Reap award winner 2006 (defense), 2007 (offense, defense)
- Had more than 60 tackles in senior season
- Caught 66 passes for 1,364 yards and 11 TDS in career
- Led West Scranton to District 2 Class 3A title, 2006, 2007
- University of Illinois; University of Pittstburgh
Nyeem WARTMAN | VALLEY VIEW
Linebacker and tight end
- Pennsylvania Sportswriters (Class 3A) all-state first team, LB 2011
- Times-Tribune Defensive Player of the Year, 2011
- Set school record with 303 career tackles
- Had 36 receptions, 766 yards and 10 TDS in career
- Led Valley View to Disrict 2 Class 3A title (2011)
- Penn State University
Bryan SCHOR | DELAWARE VALLEY
- Pennsylvania Sportswriters (Class 4A) all-state first team QB 2012
- Times-Tribune All-Region 2012
- Threw for school-record 6,518 yards (LFC 2nd all time) and 56 TDS (LFC 7th)
- Led Delaware Valley to District 2 Class 4A title 2012
- James Madison University
Sal CONABOY | ABINGTON HEIGHTS
- Pennsylvania Sportswriters Class 3A all-state first team OL 2009
- Times-Tribune All-Region 2009
- Hookey Reap award winner 2009 (offense)
- Led Abington Heights to District 2 Class 3A championship (2009)
- Big 33 selection 2010
- University of Maryland