By: The Review | Towanda Daily Review | December 21, 2016
On Monday, two NTL players were named to the All-State team. On Tuesday, the NTL had four more named among the state's best.
Wellsboro's duo of Robert Brown (LB) and Parker Jones (DE), along with North Penn-Mansfield's twosome of Garrett David (LB) and Joel Whitteker (DB), were named to the Pennsylvania Football Writer's Class 2A All-State football team.
Jones and Whitteker are both seniors and finished their careers strong. Last year they were known for their offensive abilities as both received statewide recognition at tight end and wide receiver, but this year defense is the calling card for them.
"It's great and honestly I wasn't worried about making these types of teams," Jones remarked. "I'm more worried about getting the W every week."
But he did like that the state noticed how well they played on that side of the ball.
"Our defense is great, just look at the stats."
Parker had 96 tackles and seven sacks on the year.
NP-Mansfield coach Tom Dickinson knows Whitteker was excited about the news.
"I think he's thrilled about it," said Dickinson. "It's a great tribute to Joel. He made some great plays back there."
Whitteker is looking at playing college ball and Dickinson feels defense might be his calling card at the next level.
"Being all-state on that side of the ball just makes him more excited about it," the veteran coach remarked.
Whitteker had 73 tackles and five interceptions on the year.
The other two spots were filled by sophomores.
David was a player the Panthers knew was going to be good.
"We felt from day one that we had to look at him at middle linebacker," said Dickinson. "He just did everything that we asked for."
His coach felt he may have been overlooked in the NTL as he was second team.
"But the media noticed and his stats were up there," Dickinson said. "He's relentless. We're even more excited that he has two more years left."
David had 140 tackles on the year.
This offseason NP-Mansfield worked to make their defense better after improving their offense the year before.
And going into next year, Dickinson hopes that David can carry all that hard work through to 2017.
"He's the center point of it," he said. "He played at times like a sophomore, young and inexperienced, but his motor went and he had a nose for the ball."
If David is to make the next step he should look towards Whitteker.
"Joel made the checks and put the defense in the right spot," Dickinson said. "Hopefully Garrett learned from the things Joel did and takes that leadership role next year."
He'll have company in the NTL as Brown will also be back next year.
The other sophomore had 114 tackles on the year as the Hornets allowed an average of less than five points per game.
"No, I did not (expect it) at all," Brown remarked. "It feels amazing, I'm only a sophomore and I just got selected to All-State."
He credits their strong defense for being recognized.
"We had a lot of shutouts this season and our defense just played amazing," he said.
And don't expect him to rest on his laurels either as he gets ready for next season.
"It's more like motivation," Brown said.
District IV had 14 total All-State selections out of 38 spots, including three of the six spots at linebacker and two of the four spots at defensive line and defensive back.
Southern Columbia had five selections: Gaige Garcia (RB), Julian Fleming (WR), Andrew Bell (DL), Cal Haladay (LB) and Cameron Young (DB).
Hughesville had two selections: Landon Henry (QB) and Josh Dauberman (OL).
South Williamsport had two selections: Gideon Green (RB) and Connor Rutan (OL).
And Line Mountain's Kenny Boyer made on the offensive of the ball as an athlete.
The area finished with six total between two classes with five on the defensive side of the ball.
Three — Sayre's Tylor Belles, Wellsboro's Parker Jones and NP-Mansfield's Joel Whitteker — are seniors.
And three more — Canton's Kaden Martell, Wellsboro's Robert Brown and NP-Mansfield's Garrett David — are underclassmen and will be back next season.