The sophomore became a dominant force up front and was a big reason Jersey Shore enjoyed a dramatic turnaround, going from 0-10 last year to District 4 Class AAA champions this season. A HAC-I all-star, Charles averaged seven tackles per game and had an area-high 20 tackles for losses. Big, strong and athletic, Charles was an outstanding run stuffer and also a good pass rusher. Charles had six sacks and helped Jersey Shore allow just 30 points in districts.
The senior came a long way the last few seasons and was instrumental to Loyalsock's late-season push that included its first-ever outright HAC-II championship. The defense enjoyed a resurgence late in the season and Faubion was at the heart of it. The HAC-II all-star averaged 5.2 tackles per game and was a disruptive force down the stretch. Faubion had 11 tackles for losses in Loyalsock's last three games, including four each in a HAC-II championship win over previously undefeated Montoursville and a playoff win over Towanda.
The junior defensive tackle helped North Penn make a two-win improvement and surprise many by going 6-4 despite starting mostly underclassmen. Turner averaged 7.2 tackles per game and had 37 solo tackles. Turner added three sacks and 14 hurries while having six tackles for losses. Turner helped North Penn win four of five games down the stretch and forced three fumbles while recovering two.
Entz enjoyed a breakout season and was a huge part of Montoursville's success on both sides of the ball. A first team HAC-I all-star, Entz averaged 3.2 tackles per game and freed up linebackers and defensive backs to make plays. He had two sacks and four tackles for losses while returning an interception for a touchdown. Entz also was a solid offensive lineman and tight end for the Warriors who went 10-2.
The HAC-III all-star was a tackling machine and the best player on the area's second-ranked defense. Appelman averaged an 12 tackles and finished the year with 120 tackles, 78 which were solos. Tough against the run and the pass, Appelman had a career-high 20 tackles against South Williamsport and topped 10 tackles eight times. Appleman tied Charles with an area-high 20 tackles for losses and added 3.5 sacks. The junior also had 3 1/2 sacks and forced two fumbles while having 47 tackles in his last three games.
The sophomore emerged as one of the district's best underclassmen players. A first team HAC-II all-star, Mekeag was at the heart of one of the district's best defenses. He averaged a team-high 8.9 tackies per game, had four for losses and added a sack and a pass breakup. Mekeag topped 10 tackles five times and four of those came against playoff teams. Expect him to only get better in 2014.
Along with fellow standout linebacker Wyatt Covert, Doty anchored Wellsboro's stingy defense and was an all-state selection. The senior averaged nearly 10 tackles per game, finishing with 106, including 64 solos. Doty seemed to be everywhere in a Week 9 win over Towanda, making 22 tackles, including 12 solos. The three-year starter topped 10 tackles five times despite often not playing in the second half of blowouts. Doty added two sacks, an interception and two fumble recoveries while helping the defense led the area in yards and points allowed.
The area's leading tackler, Corwin helped North Penn make some big strides in 2013. The junior finished with 122 tackles and had 79 solos, averaging 12.2 per game. Corwin was dominant in the season's second half and had 26 tackles, 20 solos, in a 34-17 win over Wyalusing. Also a valuable offensive lineman when called upon, Corwin had at least 11 tackles seven times. He also recovered three fumbles, forced three fumbles and broke up a pass.
An all-state safety, Datres helped Loyalsock go 7-2 down the stretch after moving to defense full-time. A 1,000-yard rusher and passer at quarterback, Datres also helped lead the defense, averaging 4.3 tackles per game, intercepting two passes returning one for a game-clinching touchdown against Lewisburg. A first team HAC-II all-star the last three years, Datres was excellent against the pass and run. While he will play collegiate baseball at North Carolina, Datres also was receiving Division I interest at safety.
A sensational defensive back the last two years, Erb was the catalyst on a terrific Montoursville defense. The two-time Sun-Gazette and HAC-II first team all-star seemed to be everywhere, every week. Erb intercepted four passes and broke up seven more before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 11. Erb played through a lot of pain and had 63 tackles, averaging close to six per game while also leading Montoursville in receiving. Tough against the pass and run, Erb played big in big games, making 11 tackles against Danville and intercepting two passes against Mifflinburg.
Drew Newcomb, Lewisburg:
The senior safety closed out his scholastic career with a flourish and intercepted a district-high nine passes. Newcomb earned all-state honors, consistently disrupted opponents' passing games and opened the season by intercepting at least one pass in six straight games. He made at least one interception seven times and had three in a season-opening win over Towanda.
Jon Pulizzi, South Williamsport:
The three-year starter was crucial to South Williamsport turning its program around the last two seasons. After not having a winning season since 2004, Pulizzi helped ignite a defense that helped South go 20-4 the last two seasons and win two NTL championships. Pulizzi had his best season in 2013, averaging a team-high seven tackles per game. Pulizzi added an interception and broke up several passes. A team leader, Pulizzi excelled in big games and made 19 tackles in two playoff games.
Ken Koch, Muncy
One of the area's most versatile players, Koch became a special teams weapon in 2013. Also a good returner, Koch averaged 34.6 yards per punt and had a long of 53. More important, Koch, a first-team HAC-III all-star, placed nine punts inside the 20-yard line. Koch's punts consistently made opponents have to navigate long fields and helped Muncy rank second in the area in total defense.
Trent Risley, Bucktail:
There really was nothing Risley did not or could not do the past four seasons. The senior leader never left the field and shined at quarterback despite never before having played the position. He was the MVP for a team that won four games despite having just 17 players. Risley threw for 778 yards and seven touchdowns with just three interceptions while also running for a team-high 844 yards and 13 touchdowns. Risley topped 100 yards rushing four times and also returned a punt and kickoff for touchdowns. Also a defensive standout, Risley was one of the team's leading tacklers and was among the area leaders in punting average.
DL-Austin Steen, Lewisburg
DL-Zach Miller, Jersey Shore
DL-Zach Woodcock, Montgomery
DL-Dominic Loffredo, Jersey Shore
DL-Tyler Gardner, Williamsport
LB-Wyatt Covert, Wellsboro
LB-Ryan Seagrave, South Williamsport
LB-Utoa Agae-Naipo, Jersey Shore
LB-Connor Route, Canton
LB-T.J. Moyle, Muncy
DB-Brice Harris, Williamsport
DB-Dayton Wood, North Penn
DB-Griffin Dunne, Montoursville
DB-Clint Snyder, Hughesville
Defensive Lineman of the Year-Bryce Charles, Jersey Shore
Linebacker of the Year-Brian Doty, Wellsboro
Defensive Back of the Year-Kyle Datres, Loyalsock
Defensive Player of the Year-Kyle Datres, Loyalsock