To go with Players of the Year from two state champions, 10 first-team selections highlight Section 4 representation on New York State Sports Writers Association all-state football teams in Classes B, C and D.
Senior quarterback Kyle Gallagher of Maine-Endwell is Player of the Year in Class B, and senior fullback Isaiah Zimmer of Chenango Forks shares top billing in Class C with receiver Jake Carlock of unbeaten Long Island power Babylon.
The two state-championship teams combined for five first-team picks– running back Darnell Woolfolk and defensive back Alec Wisniewski from the Spartans; offensive lineman Hunter Luybli, defensive lineman Mike Zurenda and linebacker Ryan Bronson from the Blue Devils.
Also earning first-team recognition, in Class D: Running back Jesse Manuel, offensive lineman Dylan Babcock and defensive lineman Carter Jackson from state semifinalist Tioga; defensive lineman Austin Dean from Sidney; and linebacker Tom Agan from Elmira Notre Dame.
The all-state teams are compiled by Steve Grandin, a Saratoga Springs resident who formerly served as sports editor of The Saratogian, following consultation with media members statewide.
“In all honesty I think we had three guys who could be Player of the Year,” said Spartans coach Matt Gallagher, adding Woolfolk and Wisniewski to the conversation. “Look at Darnell and Wiz, they were unbelievable.”
Wisniewski, widely acknowledged as the finest safety in Section 4 the last two seasons, was also a first-team selection as a junior. He has committed to join Colgate University’s football program. Woolfolk, a first-teamer last year at linebacker, this season rushed for 1,643 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Forks junior Luybli was part of an offensive front that helped spring Zimmer for a school-record 2,054 rushing yards, as was second-teamer Paul Groover. Zurenda was a force in the middle of the defensive front who made a lead-preserving stop of a two-point conversion in the state final. Bronson doubled as a dependable and durable halfback, though his forte was making plays from his linebacker position.
Tioga sophomore Manuel rushed for a school-record 2,231 rushing yards and scored 25 touchdowns, behind a line that featured senior Jackson and junior Babcock– each of whom were standouts on each side of the line of scrimmage. Ditto for Sidney’s Dean, who has a season remaining to give Warriors opponents fits.