By The Daily Item
Where are all the big-time rushers, smashing records, running for thousands of yards and making a run at All-State bids?
Well, it looks like they are playing quarterback.
As Valley football teams enter the final week of the regular season on Friday night, not a single back among the 15 teams has reached the 1,000-yard mark. A year ago eight Valley runners eclipsed the mark, with Mount Carmel and Southern Columbia having two each and Line Mountain coming within 50 yards of have two.
Seven of those eight did graduate, with Danville fullback Sam Dressler the only returnee of the bunch. Dressler is now among a handful of players on the cusp of 1,000 yards but not quite there yet. Dressler enters Friday's game against Selinsgrove with 811 yards.
Others who are close to the 1,000-yard mark entering the regular-season finale are Mount Carmel's Luke Klingerman (923 yards), Southern Columbia's Adam Feudale (866), Shikellamy's Dwayne Pepper (823) and Lewisburg's Brandon Smith (737). Those four, plus Dressler, are all locked into playoff games, so they have at least two games to reach the mark.
On the other side of the coin, five quarterbacks have already thrown for at least 1,000 yards and Bloomsburg junior Ricky Klingerman hit the 2,000-yard mark in Friday's win over Danville.
Klingerman, the first Valley QB with 2,000 yards in the regular season since Danville's Andrew Shoop did in back-to-back seasons (2007-08), enters Friday's finale with Central Columbia with 2,058 yards and 20 TDs. Central's Jordan Thivierge (1,448), Mount Carmel's Zach Wasilewski (1,179), Milton's Brady Chappell (1,077) and Lewisburg's Nick Costagliola (1,041) all have more than 1,000 yards passing and three others, Danville's Weston Baylor (960), Shamokin's Tucker Yost (956) and Warrior Run's Garrett Moser (953) should hit the mark this week.
The top passer in the Valley a year ago was Southern Columbia quarterback Brad Fegley, who threw a little more than 1,700 yards in 16 games as he led the Tigers to the state final.