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Eye on POY: Pennsylvania football

The window on the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year race is closing, and time is running out for student-athletes to state their POY case. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program's selection process.

Brendan Nosovitch

Senior quarterback, Allentown Central Catholic (Allentown, Pa.)

2011 Team record: 7-5 (Class AAA)

2011 Team standing: Class AAA first round vs. Valley View on Friday

2011 COMP-ATT (%)-YDs: 198-319 (62.1)-2,732

2011 TDs-INTs: 25-9

2011 Carries-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 125-803 (6.4)-13

Academics: B-plus average

Collegiate destination: University of South Carolina (verbal)

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: First player in state history to exceed 2,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in consecutive seasons. Owns individual state single-game playoff records for total yards (600), passing yards (418), total touchdowns (7), passing touchdowns (5) and total points (42). No. 41 ranked QB in Class of 2012 as rated by ESPNU. 2011 First Team All-State preseason selection as named by ESPNHS. 2010-11 Gatorade Pennsylvania Football Player of the Year. 2010 Class AAA Player of the Year as named by the Pennsylvania Sports Writers Association. Led the Vikings (16-0) to the 2010 Class AAA state championship. 2010 Philadelphia Nike All-Combine Team quarterback. 2009 Class AAA Second Team All-State selection.

Noah Spence

Senior defensive end/tight end, Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg, Pa.)

2011 Team record: 10-2 (Class AAA)

2011 Team standing: Class AAA first round vs. Red Land on Friday

2011 Tackles: 64

2011 Sacks: 9

2011 Catches-YDs (AVG.)-TDs: 4-46 (11.5)-1

Academics: B-plus average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played himself into the State POY conversation: Anchors a defense that allows just 11.5 points per game and blocks for an offense that scores 32.8 points per game. No. 4 ranked recruit in Class of 2012 as ranked by ESPNU. 2012 Under Armour All-America Game selection. 2011 First Team All-State preseason selection as named by ESPNHS. 2010 Defensive Player of the Year as named by the Pennsylvania Football News. Led the Crusaders (13-3) to the 2010 Class AAA state championship game. Recorded 101 tackles, 34 tackles for losses, 22 sacks, nine forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries as a junior.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Football Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011 campaign.

Tyler Boyd: Clairton (Pa.) junior athlete

Eugene Lewis: Wyoming Valley West (Plymouth, Pa.) senior athlete

Daniel Harding: Nazareth Area (Nazareth, Pa.) senior quarterback

Pat Kugler: North Allegheny (Wexford, Pa.) junior offensive lineman

Robert Foster: Central Valley (Monaca, Pa.) junior athlete

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com or Twitter @ESPNHS_GPOY.