Wallenpaupack Area football players honored as all-stars
Recently, the Wallenpaupack Area football team wrapped up the season, informally meeting to recognize the student-athletes for their achievements as well as present the departing seniors with team jerseys.
Among those lauded for their outstanding contributions to the team this past fall were the 13 players who were selected by the Lackawanna Football Conference coaches for the Division I All-Star squad.
Seniors Nick Ruggieri (running back); Josh Moore (tackle); and Joe Ingulli (athlete) as well as junior Brandon King (guard) were appointed to the First-Team for offense. Senior Manny Obeng (fullback) was given an Honorable Mention.
Among this group’s highlights:
•Ruggieri and Ingulli each amassed 15 touchdowns while Obeng had a half-dozen.
•As part of the offensive wall, King’s and Moore’s efforts allowed Paupack rushers to garner 2,725 yards and protected Paupack quarterbacks well enough for them to get off 179 pass attempts.
•Additionally, Ruggieri, Moore, and Ingulli along with Offensive Lineman Tommy Hiller were named to NPF Sports First Team while Obeng and King were Honorable Mentions.Department of Defense
Exzavier Warner (defensive End); Chance Smith (defensive line); Adam Haupt (defensive back and punter), all seniors, as well as juniors JT Tirjan (defensive back) and Alex Gardsy (athlete) made the First Team cut.
Seniors Darian Joseph and Robert Spinelli, both linebackers, received an Honorable Mention.
The defensive unit racked up a ton of tackles.
Either as a solo or a partial, Warner counted 89; Joseph logged 83; Smith delivered 75; and Spinelli supplied 68.
Warner recorded four sacks; Tirjan had seven interceptions; Haupt defended eight passes and returned 87 yards on a trio of picks; Spinelli and Joseph each broke up plays resulting in four fumbles.
Gardsy just seemed to be everywhere, sometimes making a big play by himself but typically lending a hand to everyone else regardless if they were linesmen or backs.
Smith, Warner, Joseph, Haupt, and Tirjan were also dubbed for NPF Sports First Team while Spinelli brought in an Honorable Mention.
Both Smith and Moore were named as All-Region and All-State players.
Their appointments were the first for Paupack linesmen and the first time two Buckhorns achieved such recognition during the same season.
Smith was named Defensive Player of the Year and Moore was honored as the Lineman of the Year by NPF Sports.
Moore earned another accolade recently, too. He was named to the WNEP-TV Super 16 Dream Team.
Head Coach Dr. Mark Watson was awarded Coach of the Year by NPF Sports.
The Buckhorn skipper piloted the team to a 7-3 overall record and went 4-0 in LFC Division I play.
The Paupack gridders claimed the District Two Class 5A title and advanced to the state tournament after winning the District II/XI-5A subregional crown.
While the Paupack coach was humble about the honors laid upon him he offered much praise for his players and the program.
“What these kids accomplished this year is a testament to their hard work and the Wallenpaupack football program and the football community,” Coach Watson said.
“There were tough times, no doubt about that, and these guys, and all of our guys, pulled together week after week. When kids got hurt, others stepped up and when it was time to be big, these guys rose to the challenge.”
Watson and his staff served as the coaches for the City Team in last July’s Scranton Lions Club Dream Game where three Buckhorn alums suited up for the final time.
While Paupack folks won’t be at the helm this year, Coach Watson fully expects a that a hefty contingent of the Purple & White to be on the roster in this summer’s spectacle.