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Express all-star football team

TIM WEIGHT/For The Express Central Mountain’s offensive line huddles together prior to a play during a game this season. The Wildcats’ group was named the All-Express offensive line on the all-star team.

The 2020 high school football season was one like no other. Despite various cancellations and setbacks this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a memorable one for many of the teams in the area.

Here is the 2020 All-Express football team.

QUARTERBACK

BRANDEN WHEARY, JERSEY SHORE

A first-year starter, Wheary led the Bulldogs to the PIAA Class AAAA championship game. The senior threw for 2,021 yards to go with a 24-to-2 touchdown-interception ratio. Wheary proved to be an efficient decision -maker throughout the season for Jersey Shore.

He was a huge reason the Bulldogs’ offense was firing on all cylinders and finished runners-up in the state after a loss to Thomas Jefferson. He was also one of six Jersey Shore players to receive Class AAAA all-state honors.

RUNNING BACK

RYAN PENTZ, CENTRAL MOUNTAIN

Pentz was among the area’s best performers this past season. The junior ran for 845 yards on 128 carries. The speedy back averaged more than 100 yards per game and proved to be solid in the passing game despite not receiving many targets.

Pentz’s best game came in Central Mountain’s victory over Shamokin, he dashed for 246 yards and scored three touchdowns.

WIDE RECEIVERS

CAYDEN HESS, JERSEY SHORE

Hess had a monster season for the Bulldogs, which culminated with a Class AAAA all-state honor.

The junior hauled in 68 receptions for 919 yards. He accounted for nine total touchdowns in 11 games. Hess had four games this fall with two or more touchdowns. The junior’s best game came against Lampeter-Strasburg in the PIAA Class AAAA playoffs when he caught 13 passes and racked-up 162 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

OWEN ANDERSON, JERSEY SHORE

One of the area’s best playmakers, Anderson was a major threat to opposing defenses all season. The senior caught 40 passes for more than 700 yards and scored a total of 18 touchdowns.

Anderson scored in all but two games for Jersey Shore this fall. His best game was against Lampeter-Strasburg, when he recorded 135 yards receiving on seven catches, and a touchdown.

Anderson was named the Class AAAA Player of the Year and was an all-state selection as an athlete. He became the second consecutive Bulldog to earn Class AAAA Player of the Year honors.

OFFENSIVE LINE

CENTRAL MOUNTAIN

The Wildcats’ offensive line was dominant game in and game out. It was a line which featured four seniors — Jake Welch, Cyrus McCarl, Tyler Cygan, and Sean Sprague — and one junior in Anton Stratts. Central Mountain’s offensive line cleared the path for more than 1,000 rushing yards.

DEFENSIVE LINE

JERSEY SHORE

Jersey Shore’s defensive line constantly was able to create pressure and force turnovers at a high rate. It was a unit which helped hold its opponents to 12 points per game this past season. The combination of Colin Samar, Karter Peacock, Dalton Dugan, Quincey Myers and Ben Webb accounted for more than 24 sacks. Dugan led the team with nine sacks and was named to the Class AAAA all-state team.

LINEBACKERS

KYLER CUNNINGHAM, BEA

Cunningham recorded a team-high 77 tackles in just eight games that he played for Bald Eagle. The senior also had 12.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

Cunningham’s best performance came in BEA’s final game against Central Cambria in which he had eight tackles, a forced fumble and a defensive touchdown.

GAGE SUTLIFF, BUCKTAIL

Sutliff was Bucktail’s standout on both sides of the ball. The senior led the team with more than 80 tackles and added one interception. Sutliff proved to be an efficient run-stopper and was all over the field for the Bucks this past season.

HAYDEN PACKER, JERSEY SHORE

Packer managed more than 80 tackles this past season and helped Jersey Shore’s defense limit teams to just 12 points per game.

The sophomore recorded three sacks this year and is poised to have another solid season next fall. Packer’s best performance came in Jersey Shore’s victory over Crestwood when he had a career-high 16 tackles.

Packer was one of two Jersey Shore defensive players to be named Class AAAA all-state this year, joining Dalton Dugan.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

KADEN FALLS, CENTRAL MOUNTAIN

Falls was an integral piece of the Wildcats’ secondary. The senior, who typically covered the opposing team’s best wide receiver, recorded 40 tackles. Falls ended the season with 10 pass breakups and two interceptions.

He averaged 5.4 tackles per game, blocked a kick and had an interception in a 7-3 win over Selinsgrove.

CAYDEN HESS, JERSEY SHORE

Hess had six interceptions for the Bulldogs and played a significant role for Jersey Shore down the stretch during the team’s playoff run. The junior tallied six tackles in Jersey Shore’s playoff victory against Crestwood.

KICKER

DAN PERSIKO, BELLEFONTE

Persiko was a perfect 11 for 11 on extra points, and went 3 for 5 on field goals. The senior’s longest make was from 42 yards.

PUNTER

TYLER WEAVER, CENTRAL MOUNTAIN

The junior tallied 41 total punts and landed six inside of the 20-yard line. Weaver’s longest punt was 50 yards.

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