Recognize: Greater Philadelphia
ESPN RISE takes a look at the teams to watch this month in the greater Philadelphia area:
Football -- Northeast
There are very high hopes for the Northeast football team this season. The Vikings are eager to make a big playoff push and expectations continue to rise, especially on the heels of last year's 4-1 record in the Public League Red Division. One of the biggest reasons for the team's resurgence is the play of senior wide receiver Je'Ron Stokes, who is considered one of the nation's best wideouts. Stokes is rated the nation's No. 5 receiver in the Class of 2009 in the ESPNU 150. "He's an excellent player," coach Mel Hinton says. "He knows the game very well and he's very coachable."Stokes can beat teams as a receiver and can also return punts and kickoffs with his tremendous speed. His younger brother, junior quarterback Malik Stokes, is constantly improving. "He's a young guy, but he's very knowledgeable," Hinton says. "He's got a good arm, and he can run the ball. He's an excellent quarterback."Senior fullback James Rosseau is a downhill runner who is another focal point of the offense. Defensively, senior linebacker Antoine Fowler and junior defensive end Marcus Leslie are high-impact contributors. On special teams, senior kicker Tim Freiling has one of the best legs in the state and also plays soccer and baseball. Coach Hinton likes the prospects for his team but isn't getting ahead of himself. "We're just taking it one step at a time and working hard this year," he says.
Girls' Volleyball -- Brandywine Heights
Since last year's team had just two seniors but still advanced to the PIAA Class AA semifinals, it is safe to say that optimism is high for this year's upcoming tournament. Even better news for the future is that the Bullets are still a young team as only one player -- Eden Reichard -- is a returning senior. The team also returns a number of juniors, including Alex Brehony and Chynnea Gehman, who should lead the Bullets deep into the postseason.
Boys' Soccer -- Christopher Dock
The Pioneers went 16-6-1 last year, falling in the PIAA Class A state quarterfinal, and this season's campaign could be a rebuilding year following the departure of six seniors. Or it could be a year where the underclassmen, which includes nine combined sophomores and juniors, step up and make an impact. Look for junior Caleb McMain, last year's team Defensive Player of the Year, to have a great season. Junior Brandon Reichart and senior Ethan Martin are other players to watch.
Girls' Cross Country -- Strath Haven
The Panthers finished their season on a high note by finishing in fifth place at last year's PIAA Class AAA state championship meet. But Strath Haven was not built with a top-heavy roster. Instead, the team finished so well thanks to a balanced team from top to bottom. Continued success is expected from the Panthers this year. Sophomores Hannah Meyer and Sarah Rutkowski should lead the team to big things, and junior Katherine Hathcrap will help to add depth.
Breakout teamsBOYS' GOLF -- LANCASTER MENNONITE
Seniors Matt Burkhart and David Denlinger are among the state's best.
GIRLS' GOLF -- GARNET VALLEY
The Jaguars are led by junior Erica Pellegrini.
FOOTBALL -- NESHAMINY
Tight end Paul Carrezola and linebacker Jay Colbert are two of the area's top seniors.
GIRLS' TENNIS -- PENNSBURY
Watch out for senior Lauren Rossi, who could surprise people at the state tourney.
|Rank||School (City, State)||Rec|
|3||Trinity For Boys|
|See the full football rankings »|