Last weekend saw the area’s first full slate of high school football games, which means it’s time for the return of our expanded weekly gridiron awards.
Look below to see which players stood out in the Colonial League, Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and among our local New Jersey schools. Also, find out who earned overall Football Player of the Week honors.
N.J. Defensive Star of the Week
Sr. DB Michael Wambold, Phillipsburg
Wambold made two momentum-altering plays as Phillipsburg surged to a 39-14 victory over Hunterdon Central in the second half. The senior intercepted a pass and returned it deep into Red Devils territory to set up a Stateliners' touchdown, and also returned a blocked punt for a score.
Honorable mention: Jr. LB Stephen Gural, Phillipsburg; Sr. LB Jacob Hille, Phillipsburg; Sr. LB Nathan Saccal, Delaware Valley; Sr. LB Luke Van Horn, North Warren.
N.J. Offensive Star of the Week
Sr. RB Luke Van Horn, North Warren
Van Horn rushed for 189 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots started the season with a 34-23 victory over Whippany Park. The senior was also credited with a sack and 15 tackles on defense.
Honorable mention: So. QB Jack Bill, Delaware Valley; Jr. WR Logan Blake, Delaware Valley; So. RB Andrew Carida, Hackettstown; Sr. WR Tucker Gabrich, Warren Hills; Sr. RB Aidan Governali, Voorhees; Sr. RB Tyler Holzworth, Delaware Valley; Sr. WR Ange Lessida, Hackettstown.
Colonial League Defensive Star of the Week
Sr. DL William Jordan, Notre Dame
Jordan made nine tackles (six solo), including five tackles for loss and two sacks, as the unbeaten Crusaders shut down Palmerton for a 48-7 victory.
Honorable mention: Sr. DL Owen Coffield, Northwestern Lehigh; Sr. DB Jake Fauzio, Southern Lehigh; Jr. DB Kyle McGrath, Palisades; Sr. DB Chad Parton, Salisbury; So. LB Tyler Pfizenmayer, Saucon Valley; Sr. LB Seth Rice, Southern Lehigh; Sr. LB Joey Rivituso, Notre Dame; Sr. DL Josh Schaffer, Northern Lehigh.
Colonial League Offensive Star of the Week
Jr. QB Justin Holmes, Northwestern Lehigh
Holmes rushed for 124 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries against Wilson. The junior also completed 7 of 14 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns as the Tigers earned a 42-16 victory.
Honorable mention: Sr. RB Jared Albanese, Pen Argyl; Jr. WR Ty Csencsits, Saucon Valley; Sr. RB Matt Frauen Jr., Notre Dame; Jr. QB Dante Mahaffey, Saucon Valley; Sr. WR/RB Chad Parton, Salisbury; Jr. QB Collin Quintano, Notre Dame; Sr. RB Jared Reto, Bangor; Jr. WR Nadir Sanders, Notre Dame; Sr. RB Mason Smeland, Palisades; So. RB Eric Striba, Bangor.
EPC Defensive Star of the Week
Sr. DL Brayden Saylor, Nazareth
Saylor registered three sacks as the Blue Eagles blanked Bethlehem Catholic during a 21-0 victory. It’s the first shutout of Becahi since a PIAA playoff loss to Somerset in 2014.
Honorable mention: Jr. DB Kyle Evancho, Easton; Sr. DL/LB Dom Falcone, Easton; Sr. LB Tamir Jackson, Easton; Sr. LB Marcus Kreidler, Freedom; Sr. LB Christian Shelton, Bethlehem Catholic.
EPC Offensive Star of the Week
Sr. QB Matt Bugbee, Nazareth
Bugbee completed 17 of 22 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns in Nazareth’s victory over Bethlehem Catholic. He also rushed for a score and converted three extra points.
Honorable mention: Sr. RB Nahjee Adams, Easton; Sr. RB Brandon Camire, Emmaus; Jr. RB Deante Crawford, Freedom; Jr. RB Damonte Foreman, Whitehall; Sr. QB Joe Kerbacher, Northampton; So. RB Nigel Linton, Whitehall; Sr. WR Tyler O’Hagan, Nazareth; Sr. RB Matty Russin, Freedom.
Phillipsburg quarterback Matt Garatty (12) winds up to pass during a game against Hunterdon Central on Friday.Hannah Buss | lehighvalleylive.com contributor
lehighvalleylive.com Football Player of the Week
Sr. QB Matt Garatty, Phillipsburg
Garatty excelled in his debut as the Stateliners' varsity quarterback. The senior completed 12 of 14 passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns. He also reached the end zone on the ground for Phillipsburg, which scored 32 unanswered points to beat Hunterdon Central 39-14.