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The best I've ever seen ...
June 8, 2013 - Mitch Rupert
ADDENDUM: So when I started thinking of making my own list, I grew more and more curious at what the list of one person I knew would look like.
Scott Dudinskie and I worked together at the Press Enterprise in Bloomsburg for nearly nine years up until the spring of 2009. Scott was really my mentor in this business and really taught me about how the job is done properly. He was fortunate enough to cover Berwick through its string of four consecutive state championships in the 90s while George Curry would schedule some of the best teams in the country to come to Crispin Field.
He also covered Mount Carmel during its run of state championships in even numbered years in the 90s and early 2000s. And, of course, he was there when Southern Columbia made its run of 12 state finals appearances in 13 years from 1994 to 2006. So if there's an expert on football in Northeast Pennsylvania in the last 20 years, Scott is as close to it as you'll find.
He sent me his list Wednesday afternoon and it was every bit as impressive as I suspected. I've added it to the bottom of my list. Enjoy, and please share any thoughts you might have or omissions you think may have been made.
My drive up to the campus of Wilkes University always brings back a flood of memories for one reason most folks wouldn't likely notice.
There comes a point when my GPS tells to me turn left on to Blackman Street in Wilkes-Barre. Each time I make that turn I think of former Williamsport football and basketball star Darrell Blackman. His 350-plus yard rushing performance against Berwick in 2002 at Crispin Field still may be the best individual performance I've ever seen from a high school football player.
Thinking of Blackman, I got to wondering where he ranks on the list of greatest high school football players I've ever covered in 13 seasons of covering high school football. I expanded this thinking with a former co-worker of mine one night over a bevy of adult beverages who has seen some stellar players in his own right, especially as a beat writer for Southern Columbia football through its run of five consecutive state championships in the early to mid-2000s.
So, my former co-worker Tim Hare and I decided we would each make a list of the top 10 greatest high school running backs, quarterbacks, wide receivers and linebackers we have ever covered. The lists were supposed to reflect the level of player the athlete was on the high school level alone and not take into consideration any achievements on either the collegiate of professional levels.
What I got, was a list of 40 players which included nine future NFLers, and numerous others who have played professionally in indoor leagues, canada and overseas. And just to tell you how difficult it was to make these lists, Nate Eachus, a Hazleton graduate who played this past fall for the Kansas City Chiefs, is No. 10 on my lists of running backs.
What it should point out is that even in our mostly rural area, there's good football to be found and amazingly talented players to watch. Just think about it, who is the best player you've ever seen.
Please feel free to share your lists.
1. Dave Shinskie, Mount Carmel
2. Dan Latorre, Southern Columbia
3. Blake Rankin, Bloomsburg
4. Marcus Wasilewski, Mount Carmel
5. Frank Jankowski, Montoursville/Berwick
6. Cole Hildabrandt, Pius X
7. Cory Briggs, Selinsgrove
8. Pat Carey, Loyalsock
9. Clark Morris, Line Mountain
10. Andrew Shoop, Danville
1. LeSean McCoy, Bishop McDevitt
2. Darrell Blackman, Williamsport
3. Henry Hynoski, Southern Columbia
4. Brant Quick, Berwick
5. Dan Connor, Strath Haven
6. Jeremiha Hunter, Manheim Central
7. Mike Jones, Bishiop McDevitt
8. Jeremiah Young, Steelton-Highspire
9. Chuck Dibilio, Nazareth
10. Nate Eachus, Hazleton
1. Elijah Fields, Duquesne
2. Josh Hannum, Strath Haven
3. Aaron Berry, Bishop McDevitt
4. Ryan Keiser, Selinsgrove
5. Quinton Lopez, Pius X
6. Derek Moye, Rochester
7. Devin McLaughlin, Bloomsburg
8. Graham Zug, Manheim Central
9. John Klingerman, Bloomsburg
10. Tim Wargo, Mount Carmel
1. Dan Connor, Strath Haven
2. Brandon Smith, Lewisburg
3. Ryan Slater, Southern Columbia
4. Vince Yasenchak, Mount Carmel
5. Mike Viti, Berwick
6. Ryan Cordingly, Berwick
7. Bobby Admire, Southern Columbia
8. Mike Kinney, Loyalsock
9. Nathaniel Brown, Lewisburg
10. Thomas McFarland, Pottsville
-------------- SCOTT DUDINSKIE'S LIST
1. Dave Ragone, (Cleveland) St. Ignatius
2. Dave Robbins, Berwick
3. Matt Nagy, Manheim Central
4. Byron Leftwich, H.D. Woodson, DC
5. Rod Rutherford, Perry Traditional
6. Jeff Smoker, Manheim Central
7. Phil Stambaugh, Pius X
8. Dave Shinskie, Mount Carmel
9. Dan Latorre, Southern Columbia
10. Cole Hildebrandt, Pius X
11. Matt Senneca, Allentown Central Catholic
1. LeSean McCoy, Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt
2. Nick Goings, Dublin (Ohio) Scioto*
3. Darrell Blackman, Williamsport
4. Elmarko Jackson, Sharon/Glen Mills
5. Brant Quick, Berwick
6. Henry Hynoski, Southern Columbia
7. Jeremiah Young, Steelton-Highspire
8. Jon Veach, Mount Carmel
9. Ricco Rosini, Southern Columbia
10. Sean Fisher, Valley View
11. Brett Veach, Mount Carmel
1. Josh Hannum, Strath Haven
2. Elijah Fields, Duquesne
3. Mark Jones, Strath Haven
4. Quinton Lopez, Pius X
5. Shamar Coates, Williamsport
6. Graham Zug, Manheim Central
7. (tie) Nick Sebes, Mount Carmel & Don Patrick, Hazleton
9. Derek Moye, Rochester
10. (tie) Devin McLaughlin & John Klingerman, Bloomsburg
12. Ben Culver, Berwick
1. Joe Costello, Mount Carmel
2. Dan Conner, Strath Haven
3. Jeremiah Dyer, Berwick
4. Gino Capone, North Schuylkill
5. Brandon Smith, Lewisburg
6. Vince Yasenchak, Mount Carmel
7. Dan Mulhern, Strath Haven
8. Nick Sajone, Shenandoah Valley
9. Jeremiha Hunter, Manheim Central
10. (tie) Ryan Cordingly & Mike Viti, Berwick
12. Mike DaRe, Central Columbia
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