Each week during the 2017 high school football season, each member of our team — plus those working behind the scenes at 4th Down Magazine — will pass out game balls to top performers.
Here we’ll run players selected from The Sentinel’s coverage area. For the full list from our partners at 4th Down Magazine, visit the website at https://4thdownmagazine.com/ or download the 4DM app on Google Play or in the Apple Store by searching “4th Down.”
From 4th Down Staff
Quinn Buffington, QB, Camp Hill: The Lions couldn’t swim through an ocean of adversity this season, but there were some performances to celebrate. Buffington has been at the center of most of those successes. Although toiling at QB out of necessity, Buffington never failed to bring his aggressive, competitive brand of football to the field. And Camp Hill’s No. 2 ended his career with a bang. Facing rival Trinity, Buffington completed 19 of 36 passes for 394 yards and six touchdowns. Three of those heaves went to fellow senior Zack Kuntz. In addition, Buffington’s seventh score in the Lions’ 42-20 win came on the ground. Buffington surpassed the 2,000-yard mark and collected 21 TD flips along the way.
From Geoff Morrow
Chris Barrett, QB/DB, and Steven Yurchison, RB/LB, Northern: Tons of credit to the Northern kids and coaching staff, as the Polar Bears (6-4) were certainly indulging in playoff-caliber football at season’s end. In Friday’s 49-33 triumph at West Perry, both Barrett and Yurchison produced career-high rushing yardage. Barrett, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior, called his own number often and efficiently, rushing 16 times for 184 yards and three scores. He was also 3-for-5 passing for another 62 yards and broke up a pair of passes on the defensive side. Yurchison, a 6-foot, 180-pound senior, first made an impression on defense, where he totaled eight tackles, including a sack and two for loss in the first half. Then, exclusively in the second half after starter Kyle Swartz went down with an injury, he rushed 12 times for 140 yards and two scores. Northern won four straight to end its season.
Mike Dubas, RB, Brady Ebersole, WR/DB, and Brennan Quigley, LB, Cedar Cliff: Like Northern, the Colts (7-3) closed strong (five straight wins) but just missed the playoffs. Still, one heck of a turnaround, capped with a 17-14 triumph over Susquehanna Twp. Dubas, a 5-foot-10, 178-pound senior, again proved tough to stop with 28 carries for 155 yards and a score, plus an 11-yard reception. Ebersole, a 5-foot-10, 165-pound senior, had a 12-yard catch but made his biggest impact on defense with two interceptions and five tackles. And Quigley, a 6-foot, 185-pound junior, led the defense with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Zack Kuntz, TE/DE, Camp Hill: What a way to cap an outstanding career. The 6-foot-8, 235-pound senior, who’s soon off to Penn State as an early enrollee, closed his four fabulous years with the Lions (4-6) by hauling in eight passes for a career-high 303 yards and three touchdowns in a 46-20 rout of rival Trinity, where his older brothers previously starred. Kuntz also racked up six tackles and a sack on defense, adding an interception. AND, that’s not all! He also punted seven times for an average of 36.4 yards, with three inside the 20 and a long of 49. Best of luck in the Big Ten!
Terrance Quaker, WR/DB, and Dom Salinetro, QB, West Perry: OK, the Mustangs’ defense struggled mightily to stop Northern in a 49-33 loss, but this duo established school-record yardage numbers on offense. In his final game, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior Salinetro completed 27 of 44 passes for 403 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. His top target? Quaker, a 5-foot-8, 145-pound junior who was ALWAYS open en route to 13 catches for 240 yards, a TD and one of three two-point conversion catches from Salinetro. In addition, Quaker had five tackles, averaged 40 yards on two punts and recovered an onside kick. These guys helped the Mustangs finish 4-6, the program’s highest win total since 2013.
From Andy Shay
Adam Houser, RB/DB, Shippensburg: Faced with a must-win to make a second trip to the playoffs, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound junior came up with a monster game to win the Little Brown Jug against Big Spring. And the ‘Hounds are headed back to the playoffs after edging the Bulldogs 27-21. I’m not sure Ship is posting another ‘W’ on the Little Brown Jug or gets an invite to the second season without Houser in this game. He accounted for 165 yards on 20 touches with a pair of touchdowns. Houser also had a key 41-yard interception return for a TD that allowed to him to account for three of the Greyhounds’ four touchdowns. Houser’s biggest impact came out of the backfield where he nabbed 10 catches for 112 yards with touchdown catches of 19 and 5 yards.
Onasis Neely, RB, East Pennsboro: Getting immune to the hammer from East Pennsboro putting up 200 yards and several touchdowns a game is easy. But the 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior came up with another big performance against Boiling Springs to help guarantee the Panthers’ playoff berth. Neely carried 12 times for 195 yards and two scores in the first half in the victory over the Bubblers. That was all he needed to accomplish and sat out the second half after finishing his senior year with more than 2,200 yards in 10 regular-season games.
From Jake Adams
Tayven Kelley, TE, Boiling Springs: In two weeks Kelley nearly doubled his season totals in receptions and yards. One of the few bright spots on an 0-10 team, Kelley hauled in 61-yard and 73-yard TDs in Friday’s 42-20 loss to East Pennsboro. He set career highs with 10 receptions and 224 yards in the process. All season he was Evan Mancuso’s favorite target by a country mile. Perhaps no receiver in the Mid-Penn owned a higher percentage of the passing game; roughly two-thirds of Mancuso’s yards and nearly half of his completions went Kelley’s way this year. Kelley, a basketball and baseball starter in Bubbletown as well, could be in line for a huge 2018.
Gavyn Barnes, QB/WR/KR/DB, Carlisle: Few graduating seniors are going to leave as big a hole come next season as Barnes. He finishes the year third in rushing for Carlisle (337 yards), first in passing (582) and second in receiving (368). He was also the primary kick returner on a team that desperately needed his talents. Barnes loves playing Chambersburg, too. In a 47-21 win by the Herd (5-5), he threw two TDs (14 and 38 yards) and ran for two more (1 and 53 yards). In his final football game (he’ll be the main attraction for Carlisle basketball this year), he was 6-of-12 for 179 yards passing and ran 14 times for 157 stripes.
Richie Sykes, RB, Red Land: The Patriots’ O-line bullied an undersized Mechanicsburg front seven in a 35-13 win, and Sykes benefited most. The junior set the bar a bit higher for himself come 2018, too, running for 259 yards on 28 carries in the season finale. He scored on 4-yard and 30-yard runs. Red Land (2-8) ended the season with two wins in the last four games, a good close to what started out as an 0-6 season. Sykes looks like a good piece to have going forward.