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High School Football: District 3 teams figure prominently in preseason state rankings

Harrisburg, Bishop McDevitt, Lampeter-Strasburg, Steel-High and York Catholic are all ranked among the state's top teams in the preseason.
Credit: WPMT

HARRISBURG, Pa. — While high school football doesn't officially get underway until the Week 1 action kicks off Friday night, it's never too early to start speculating on who's going to finish on top when the state playoffs end in December.


Well, Central PA news outlet Pennlive unveiled its preseason state rankings earlier this week, and several District 3 teams are included. 

Based on the preseason rankings, the Berks County invasion of the Lancaster-Lebanon League could be a prominent storyline this fall, as several of the new L-L League invaders are listed among the best in their respective classes. 

But several other Central Pennsylvania mainstays -- like Harrisburg, Bishop McDevitt, Steelton-Highspire, Lampeter-Strasburg, and York Catholic -- are expected to post strong teams in the coming weeks, at least based on their preseason rankings.

Here's a look at Pennlive's Top 10 in each of the PIAA's six classifications.


  1. St. Joseph's Prep
  2. Pittsburgh Central Catholic
  3. Harrisburg 
  4. North Penn
  5. Bethlehem Freedom
  6. Garnett Valley
  7. Mount Lebanon
  8. Seneca Valley
  9. State College
  10. McDowell

Teams to Watch: Central York, Downingtown East, Emmaus, Parkland, Wilson-West Lawn.

The Mid-Penn's Commonwealth division is well-represented, with Harrisburg and State College figuring in the top ten. The Cougars are ranked ahead of defending champ Mount Lebanon. 

Listing Central York and Wilson among the honorable mentions seems fair; both are perennial playoff contenders. But the Panthers are starting life without QB Beau Pribula, and Wilson is undergoing a fairly extensive rebuild.


  1. Imhotep Charter
  2. Cathedral Prep
  3. Delaware Valley
  4. Penn-Trafford 
  5. Upper Dublin
  6. Penn Hills
  7. Exeter Township
  8. Governor Mifflin
  9. Pine-Richland
  10. West Chester Rustin

Teams to Watch: East Stroudsburg South,, Gateway, Shippensburg, Strath Haven, Unionville. 

No true Central Pennsylvania teams cracked the preseason Top Ten, though Shippensburg garnered an honorable mention based in part on last year's undefeated regular season. Berks County squads Exeter Township (the defending District 3 champ) and Governor Mifflin are now part of the Lancaster-Lebanon League.


  1. Aliquippa
  2. Bishop McDevitt
  3. Jersey Shore
  4. Thomas Jefferson
  5. Allentown Central Catholic
  6. Central Valley
  7. Lampeter-Strasburg
  8. Meadville
  9. McKeesport
  10. Valley View

Teams to Watch: Bishop Shanahan, Manheim Central, Pope John Paul II, Selinsgrove.

Defending District 3 champion and state runner-up Bishop McDevitt makes the preseason list, right under the Quips, who knocked off the Crusaders in last year's state final. Lampeter-Strasburg, now part of a loaded L-L League Section 4 field, will be battle-tested if it makes it to the postseason. The same could be said of Manheim Central, now part of a much-improved L-L League Section 2.


  1. Belle Vernon
  2. Wyomissing
  3. Neuman-Gorretti
  4. Danville
  5. Central Martinsburg
  6. Elizabeth Forward
  7. Hickory
  8. North Schuylkill
  9. Scranton Prep
  10. Grove City

Teams to Watch: Avonworth, Berks Catholic, Clearfield, Loyalsock. 

Berks Catholic garners an honorable mention in the preseason rankings. The Saints are now part of a L-L League Section 4 field that includes Wyomissing, Exeter, and Lampeter-Strasburg.


  1. Southern Columbia
  2. Farrell
  3. Beaver Falls
  4. Sto-Rox
  5. Mount Carmel
  6. Richland Township
  7. Bishop Guilfoyle
  8. Lakeland
  9. Wilmington
  10. York Catholic

Teams to Watch:  Berlin Brothersvalley, Serra Catholic, Sharpsville, South Williamsport, Steel Valley, Washington. 

York Catholic, the defending District 3 champ, begins a new era following the departure of former coach Eric Depew, who left to take a new job at his alma mater, Red Land. Longtime assistant Brad Hayek takes over the reins of a team expected to contend yet again.


  1. Bishop Canevan
  2. Old Forge
  3. Steelton-Highspire
  4. Canton
  5. Our Lady of Sacred Heart
  6. Reynolds
  7. Homer Center
  8. Tri-Valley
  9. Muncy
  10. Redbank Valley

Teams to Watch: Clairton, Leechburg, Northern Bedford, Northern Lehigh, Rochester.

Steel-High, the defending district champ, brings back almost everyone from a state playoff team last season, including its starting QB and almost every offensive weapon. The Rollers are going to be tough.

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