The football season has been over for more than five months, but the awards keep piling up for Noah Palm and Nolan Rucci.
Cocalico’s senior dual-threat wizard and Warwick’s junior blue-chip interior lineman added to their all-star hauls this week, when they were honored by the Manheim Touchdown Club.
Palm, the reigning Class 5A Pennsylvania Football Writers Player of the Year, was tabbed Lancaster-Lebanon League Player of the Year, and Rucci, who recently trimmed his college wish list to his final nine, was named L-L League Lineman of the Year.
Local media, including print and broadcast reporters, voted for the Player of the Year award.
The Lineman of the Year was chosen by a committee of L-L League coaches, including Manheim Township’s Mark Evans, former Hempfield skipper Tom Getz, Annville-Cleona’s Matt Gingrich, Manheim Central’s Dave Hahn, Warwick assistant Todd Rucci and Garden Spot’s Matt Zamperini.
Palm, Manheim Central’s Evan Simon, who enrolled at Rutgers in January, and Rucci were finalists for the Player of the Year, while Rucci, Cocalico’s Brock Gingrich, a Big 33 selection, and Manheim Central’s Troy Kolk were finalists for Lineman of the Year.
Simon finished his prep career with 8,078 passing yards, No. 2 in L-L League history, and he was tabbed Mr. PA Football following the 2019 season; Gingrich is a University of Delaware recruit, and he's the back-to-back L-L League Section 2 Outstanding Lineman of the Year; and Kolk anchored Central's offensive line, while piling up 80 tackles and 3.5 sacks last fall for the Barons.
Gingrich, Warwick’s Joey McCracken and Elco’s Braden Bohannon also received votes for Player of the Year, and Manheim Township’s Ben Mann, Hempfield’s Max Hostetter and Donegal’s Connor Ruhl also received votes for Lineman of the Year.
McCracken passed for 2,912 yards with 27 TD strikes last season, when Warwick went to the D3-5A semifinals; Bohannon passed for 468 yards, rushed for 1,557 yards and accounted for 25 touchdowns last fall, helping Elco go back to the D3-4A playoffs; Mann is the reigning L-L League A. Landis Brackbill Award winner, and he's heading to Yale; Hostetter and Ruhl were both all-star selections last season.
The MTC also announced its College Player of the Year winners: Cedar Crest grad Evan Horn, a safety for the University of New Hampshire, was named for Division I, and Manheim Central grad Tyler Lutz, a linebacker for Lebanon Valley College, was named for Division II/III.
The annual MTC banquet had been set for this week, but was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. MTC officials are delivering the awards to the winners, and L-L League players who were set to appear in Saturday’s Tri-County All-Star Game will receive their team jerseys, even though the game was canceled because of coronavirus concerns.
Palm, a University of New Hampshire recruit, had a wildly successful 2019 campaign, passing for 1,014 yards and rushing for 1,627 yards from his QB spot, making 110 tackles from his safety position, and accounting for 47 touchdowns while helping Cocalico win the District 3 Class 5A championship.
Palm was named L-L League Section 2 Outstanding Back and Defensive Back of the Year, he pocketed the Lions Club Section 2 Player of the Year award, and he was named to the Big 33 team.
Rucci dominated along the line of scrimmage for Warwick, which went to the district semifinals for the first time in program history. He helped power the Warriors’ offense, which averaged 386 yards and 36 points a game.
On defense, Rucci piled up 66 tackles and a pair of sacks, and he was tabbed L-L League Section 1 Outstanding Lineman of the Year, he earned multiple all-state nods, and Rucci was an All-USA selection by USA Today.
Horn registered 70 tackles, with four sacks and four interceptions last fall for UNH, while Lutz had 74 stops, two sacks and an interception last season for LVC.