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2018 PIAA Class 5A High School Football Preview

Written by: on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018. Follow David Mika on Twitter.


Manheim Central (14-0) vs. Penn Hills (15-0)

HERSHEY – With a win Friday night against Upper Dublin, the Barons head back to title town for the first time since 2009 when they lost a tight game to Selinsgrove, 10-7. 

This is their fourth trip to the finals and first trip as a Class 5A school. The Barons are 1-2 in the PIAA State Finals, winning their only state championship in 2003 defeating Pine-Richland in OT 39-38. The game was called, “The Snow Game”. It was a battle of two undefeated teams and ended up tied at 25 after regulation. 

The snow came down and heading into the second overtime with Manheim Central leading 39-32, Pine-Richland’s Greg Hough scored on a touchdown run to make it 39-38. Pat Humes attempted the extra point that was blocked by Barron’s Shawn Wilt to preserve their only state championship in football. 

I still say that may have been the greatest PIAA State Final game I have ever seen. Let’s breakdown the 2018 team. 

Quarterback Evan Simon is the Barons field General. “He is a guy that sees the field well and relates information to the coaches which is valuable.”  Look for Evan to distribute the ball to multiple players and move around in the pocket. 

The running attack starts up front. The Barons have experience at that position led by the four seniors Cayden Warner, Tyler Dougherty, Brett Wolgemuth and Josh Painter.  

Running back Tyler Flick is a throwback player. He would rather run through you than run around you. When Simon’s isn’t handing off the ball to Flick, look for him to spread the wealth throwing the ball to receivers like Will Rivers, Isaac Perron, Ben and Colby Wagner and tight end Evan Hosler. 

On the defensive line, the Barons aren’t real big and need to rely on their quickness to get at the quarterback. 

One of the strengths on the team is at linebacker. Landan Moyer has played in 30 games the past two years. He is a tough physical kid and leads the team in tackles. Look for Moyer to be on every play on defense Friday night. Tyler Flick is an old school football guy. He runs hard, tackles hard and gets at the ball.

In the secondary, they have experience with Will Rivers, Isaac Perron and Evan Hosler. The twins, Colby and Ben Wagnerm lack experience but make up for it with speed. They can play corner and cover guys which they will need this week. 

A look out West:

Penn Hills is fast on both sides of the ball. Their back, Tank Smith, is a physical runner that can take over games. They have great athletes on the outside, they are fast and can move. 

Their quarterback Hollis Mathis is mobile and can extend plays with his legs if needed. The Barons defense has to work hard to contain him and make tackles. 

Their defensive line is going to be tough to handle Friday night. The Barons line needs to block well to give Simon time to throw and Flick to hit the holes. Running east-west isn’t going to work on this defense. 

Quarterback Hollis Mathis completed 147 of 241 passes for 2,570 yards, 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He rushed for 453 yards and six touchdowns.    

Running Back Tank Smith rushed for 1,506 yards and 21 touchdowns. Daequan Hardy added 305 yards and 17 total touchdowns. He caught 32 passes for 685 yards. 

Wide Receivers Dante Cephas caught 31 passes for 739 yards and 14 touchdowns. Anthony Grimes caught 31 passes for 409 and five touchdowns.  

Manheim Central Players to Watch: 

Quarterback: Evan Simon completed 119 of 220 passes for 2,446 yards and 26 touchdowns and six interceptions. He rushed for 613 yards and 12 touchdowns.     

Running backs: TB Tyler Flick rushed for 1,735 yards on 260 carries and 31 touchdowns. HB Jake Harbach rushed for 49 yards and two touchdowns. Chris Shaw rushed for 325 yards and three touchdowns. 

Offensive Lineman: RT Cayden Warner, RG Troy Kolk, C Tyler Dougherty, LG Brett Wolgemuth, LT Josh Painter

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: Colby Wagner caught 24 passes for 751 yards and 11 touchdowns. Ben Wagner caught 17 passes for 311 yards and three scores. Will Rivers caught 30 passes for 638 yards and six touchdowns. Isaac Perron caught 25 passes 401 yards and three touchdowns. TE Evan Hosler caught seven passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. 

Defensive Line: DE Tyler Hartl has 17 solo tackles, 59 total and four sacks, DE Jake Harbach has 25 solo tackles, 72 total tackles and four sacks, DT Tyler Dougherty has nine solo tackles, 40 total tackles and two sacks, DT Troy Kolk has 20 solo tackles, 69 total tackles and five sacks. 

Linebackers: OLB Evan Hosler has 31 solo tackles, two interceptions and 66 total tackles, ILB Landan Moyer has 36 solo tackles,118 total tackles and six sacks, LB Tyler Flick has 36 solo tackles, 93 total tackles and 3.5 sacks. 

Defensive Backs: FS Will Rivers has 54 solo tackles, 84 total tackles, three interceptions and five sacks, CB Ben Wagner has 17 solo tackles and 23 total tackles, CB Colby Wagner has 30 solo tackles, 45 total tackles, three interceptions and one sack, SS Isaac Perron has 38 solo tackles, 57 total tackles and seven interceptions.

Kicker: Niko Gavala made 69 of 79 PAT’s and kicked 4 of 6 field goals, 38 long.

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Leave a Reply

2 Responses to “2018 PIAA Class 5A High School Football Preview”

  1. GaryZ says:

    I wouldn’t look into that too closely. PH has D1 athletes all over the field, Manheim will have trouble running. If they pass look for PH D1 secondary too come up with 3-4 picks. I say PH 34- Manheim 20

  2. Justin Becker says:

    I’ve studied the schedules of both teams this year. PH has 8 teams that finished sub .500 while MC only had 2.