Four MC players receive State 5A recognition

By on January 2, 2019
Manheim Central junior quarterback Evan Simon took home 2018 All-USA Pennsylvania First-Team honors from USA Today High School Sports last week. Lititz Record file photo

Manheim Central junior quarterback Evan Simon took home 2018 All-USA Pennsylvania First-Team honors from USA Today High School Sports last week. Lititz Record file photo

Simon selected All-State by USA Today

Manheim Central’s Tyler Flick and Evan Simon put their names beside some Baron legends this fall.

Among the records they shattered belonged to guys like one-time Pittsburgh Steeler Dan Kreider and former Michigan State standout Jeff Smoker.

Flick, a senior running back, shattered Kreider’s single-season mark for most TD runs.

Simon, a junior QB, broke Smoker’s record for most career TD passes.

“It’s awfully impressive, awfully impressive,” MC coach Dave Hahn said, “because all the records that have been broken are by guys that played for us anywhere from 10 to 20 years ago. It’s a high standard to reach to get to that point. You’ve got to put in the work to do it and they did.”

Last Thursday and Friday, Flick and Simon, along with senior linebacker Landan Moyer and senior wide receiver/defensive back Will Rivers, had their hard work pay off with All-State accolades.

First, Simon was named by USA Today High School Sports as a 2018 First-Team All-USA Pennsylvania quarterback.

“I was pretty shocked at first,” Simon said. “I woke up and I was like, ‘Whoa,’ as you can imagine. There were some pretty big names on it. It’s pretty cool. Amazing.”

It didn’t end there.

Twenty-four hours later, the foursome of Flick, Moyer, Rivers, and Simon were all named to the Pennsylvania Football Writers’ 5A All-State Team. For Simon, it was his second straight year being named to the All-State First-Team.

“I’m awfully excited for the kids,” Hahn said, “and of course, for the program because I think that just brings great recognition to the program and what we tried to accomplish all year long.”

What the Barons’ accomplished was winning the Section Two crown and District Three 5A titles — both for the second straight year — and then advancing to the State championship game, where they suffered a 36-31 loss to Penn Hills.

In the process, Flick, one of six running backs who earned All-State 5A honors, rushed for an eye-popping 1,820 yards on 281 carries (6.5 avg) and scored 33 TDs, eclipsing Kreider’s former record of 29 and earning Outstanding Back of the Year honors in Section Two. The 6-foot-0, 191-pounder also piled up 133 tackle points and 3 1/2 sacks at linebacker.

“Tyler was just an incredible workhorse for us on both sides of the ball,” Hahn said. “Not only this year, he was a workhorse for us the last two and a half years. He’s just an incredible kid with a great work ethic. He’s just an incredibly hard-worker.”

So is Moyer, who finished a team-high 172 tackle points at linebacker while sharing the team-lead with Rivers in QB sacks, both with six. He was one of five linebackers who were named All-State in 5A.

At season’s end, the 5-foot-9, 192-pound Moyer was unanimously named Section Two’s Linebacker of the Year.

“Landan is a typical Baron football player — hard-nosed and a hard worker,” Hahn said. “He’s probably not the most talented kid, but he maximizes his talents and gets the best out of himself every time he steps on the field.”

In Rivers, the Barons were concerned in the off-season that he might opt not to play football, and instead focus on track and field.

Fortunately for Manheim Central, Rivers did indeed return to the gridiron, where he accumulated 149 tackle points, six sacks and four INTs at DB, while also grabbing a team-high 33 receptions for 707 yards (21.4) and six touchdowns at receiver.

He was one of five DBs to be named All-State in 5A by the Pennsylvania Football Writers.

“I don’t know what you can say about Will other than, ‘Wow.’ He had an incredible season,” Hahn said. “He was a sparkplug for us in a lot of games. He changed momentum of the games this year on special teams and on defense. He played big on offense for us, and to think that 12 months ago, he was thinking about not playing. Luckily for us, he changed his mind and said, ‘No, I do want to play.’ He was incredible for us all year long.”

Incredible would also be a good word to describe Simon, who was 132-of-249 through the air, good for 2,756 yards with 30 TDs and 10 INTs. That gives him 59 career touchdown passes, shattering the former mark of 52 held by Smoker.

“I think I found that week (playing Cedar Cliff in the District semi-finals) I was pretty close, but I’m not really focused on that,” said Simon, one of four quarterbacks who earned All-State 5A accolades. “I just want to go out there and win.”

It wasn’t just with his arm that Simon made things happen, as he also rushed 122 times for 662 yards (5.4 avg) and 12 touchdowns.

“I think I had 700 yards rushing and that was a shocker,” said Simon, who recently received his eighth college offer from the University of Colorado. “It’s nice to be able to do a little bit of both. It really helps.”

“He does exactly what you need in order to win,” Hahn said. “That’s what he’s trying to do. He’s very much a team player, like, ‘Coach, what do I have to do? Is it run, is it pass?’ He’ll do what he needs to do. He’s an unselfish player.”

As Hahn notes, Simon’s leadership skills are also a very big part of his repertoire.

“His leadership is just a huge bonus for us,” Hahn said. “He’s an extension of the coach on the field. He’s able to get things done and he sees things very well. He communicates things very well. He’s not necessarily that dual-threat kid, but he is that kid who can get you that first down in a third-and-long situation. He can find that way out of trouble and still get you some positive yards. That’s what college coaches are looking for and I think that’s even a trend you see in today’s NFL is you need that quarterback who can get you those third-and-8 first downs … Evan and Tyler have both been surrounded with a good supporting cast too and they’d be the first ones to tell you, they didn’t do it on their own.”

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