By William Bowman
The Daily Item
Seventeen Valley football players were honored by the Pennsylvania Football News this week, earning spots on the PFN All-State team.
Unlike the Pennsylvania Sportswriter All-State team, which was released just before Christmas, PFN announces three offensive and defensive teams for all of the state's four classifications. In addition, they list honorable mentions. The sportswriters select just one team in each classification.
Six Valley players earned first-team honors from the PFN, including three in Class AA and three more in Class A. Among the first-team honorees in Class AA were Danville defensive back Cale Rice, Mifflinburg defensive lineman Nazar Mironenko and Mount Carmel punter Rob Varano. In Class A, Southern Columbia offensive lineman Ryan Cherwinski, Bloomsburg wide receiver John Klingerman and Line Mountain tight end Erik Smeltz were first-team honorees. Rice, Klingerman, Cherwinski and Smeltz were also on the sportswriters' all-state team.
In Class AAA, Milton senior linebacker Ryan Solomon was a third-team honoree. The PIAA wrestling champion, who will wrestle at Pittsburgh, finished with 121 tackles for the Black Panthers. Selinsgrove's Harley Stahl (offensive line) and Tyler Krebs (punter) were honorable mentions.
A dozen Valley players were honored in Class AA, including three linebackers. Danville's Eric Haney and Lewisburg's Brandon Smith, both on the sportswriters team, were second-team picks, as was Central Columbia 'backer Eric McCracken.
Rice led the Valley with 10 interceptions to earn first-team honors along with Mironenko, the leader of the Mifflinburg defense over the past two seasons, and Varano, the all-purpose threat for the Red Tornadoes.
In addition to the three Valley linebackers on the second team, other second-team honorees were Lewisburg offensive lineman Kyle Santorine, Central Columbia wide receiver Dylan Hine, Danville defensive back Bret Berg, Mount Carmel defensive lineman Eric Joraskie and Central Columbia defensive lineman Eric Shiber. Central Columbia defensive back Adam Novak was a third-team selection.