Loyalsock’s Datres named all-state in football

Loyalsock junior Kyle Datres does not play soccer or hockey but he has still scored quite a hat trick.

Datres earned Class AA all-state honors Wednesday, joining Lewisburg’s Drew Newcomb as one of four defensive backs selected to the Pennsylvania Football Writer’s All-State Team. Datres has now earned all-state honors in baseball, basketball and football the past three years. He is the first athlete in Loyalsock history to be all-state in three sports.

“It’s cool to make school history like that and have your picture on the wall three times in three different sports with all great athletes that have gone through here,” Datres said. “I just hope to continue our success in each sport and make more of a run next year.”

While Datres was a sensational quarterback last fall, topping 1,000 yards passing and rushing and accounting for 32 touchdowns, his defense might have been even better. The three-year starting safety solidified a defense that struggled early in the season and Loyalsock went 6-2 when he was inserted into the starting lineup again while capturing its first outright HAC-II championship.

“I didn’t really expect it, especially at safety,” Datres said. “I’ll take it either way.”

Datres is a three-time HAC-II all-star at safety and averaged 4.3 tackles per game while intercepting two passes and returning one for a touchdown. He was excellent against the pass and run and displayed a nose for the football. Datres acted as a security blanket at times and turned plays that could have resulted in big plays into incompletions or minimal gains.

“As good as an offensive player as Kyle is, I have no problem saying he’s an even better defensive player. He is an exceptional defensive player,” Loyalsock coach Justin Van Fleet said after a HAC-II title win over Montoursville. “If there’s a better safety in the state of Pennsylvania I should retire because, in my analysis, he’s the best free safety in Pennsylvania bar none.”

Datres hates not being on the field. He plays in all three phases, but a shoulder injury prevented him from playing safety the first four weeks. Once Datres returned, Loyalsock jelled more and became a champion by season’s end.

“It was hard, especially since we didn’t get off to a great start,” Datres said. “I felt hopeless standing there. I just wanted to get out there and make plays to try and turn the season around.

The winning pitcher in last year’s Class AA state baseball championship, Datres consistently has been a big-game player and nothing changed last fall. He played one of his best all-around games against Lewisburg in a must-win game, accounting for five touchdowns, making a big tackle near the goal line and returning a game-clinching interception 70 yards for a touchdown as Loyalsock won, 34-7.

A week later, Datres again delivered critical defensive plays, especially on the game’s most pivotal series. Montoursville was driving for a go-ahead score late in the game and Alec Rothrock had a path to the end zone from inside the 10-yard line. Datres, though, read the play, sprinted over and made a brilliant open-field tackle. A play later, the drive stalled at the 4-yard line and Loyalsock handed its archrival its first defeat while clinching the HAC-II championship.

“He comes up and makes plays and shuts down things,” Van Fleet said. “He was exceptional as always. You want the ball in his hands. He makes plays.”

So does Newcomb who had one of the best seasons by a safety in Lewisburg history. The senior intercepted a district-high nine passes and constantly disrupted opponents’ passing games.

Newcomb opened his season with a three-interception performance against Towanda before scoring the winning touchdown in a come-from-behind 25-20 win. He intercepted at least one pass in each of his first three games and added another in the playoffs against district runner-up Danville.

“He was a really good player. We had to prepare a lot for him,” Datres said. “As a quarterback, I always had to keep an eye out for him.”

Lewisburg featured one of the area’s top defenses and Newcomb was a big reason why. The HAC-II all-star played the run and pass well and broke up several passes that he did not intercept. Newcomb’s selection makes it four straight years Lewisburg has had an all-state player as he joins three-time selection Brandon Smith and Merle Moscarello.