Wyoming Area coach Randy Spencer has been selected to be an assistant coach in the 15th annual Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association East/West All-Star Game, where one of the players he will be working closely with is Avoca resident Thor Balavage.
Balavage, a Scranton Prep senior, was selected to play defensive end for the East in the May 1 game at Cupples Stadium in Pittsburgh.
Spencer will be working with defensive linemen while assisting coach Rick Pennypacker from Pottsgrove.
“I’m very excited to be able to work with him and the other coaches that were selected,” said Spencer, who was hoping to spend some time with Pennypacker this weekend when both attend the same coaching clinic.
While running the Wyoming Area program, Spencer concentrates on defense, serving as defensive coordinator as well as head coach. Working with University of Connecticut captain Julian Campenni through his recruiting process while playing for the Warriors helped Spencer learn even more about working with top-level defensive linemen.
Balavage will be one of those linemen Spencer works with in the state all-star game. They went against each other the last two seasons when Balavage was one of the leaders of the Scranton Prep team that beat Wyoming Area twice.
“I’m very aware of Thor’s abilities,” Spencer said. “He had an especially outstanding game against us this year. He’s really impressive as far as what he brings to the table, as far as skill set and technique, but moreso that he’s just very aggressive.
“He’s a high-motor, very productive, efficient player.”
Balavage led the Lackawanna Football Conference Division 1 and District 2 Class AAA champion Cavaliers in sacks and tackles for losses while gaining all-state honors. He was the Hookey Reap Award winner as the outstanding defensive lineman in Lackawanna County while finishing second in voting for the offensive half of the award.
The performance left Balavage reconsidering his future athletically. A District 2 Class AA champion and college recruit in wrestling, Balavage is now choosing between colleges and which sport to play when he gets there.
“I never expected to take awards like I did so it definitely changed my perspective,” Balavage said. “Maybe football could be an option for me.”
The all-star game will be another chance for Balavage to test himself against other football prospects.
The East team also includes two others from District 2. Scranton’s Dylan Granahan is a tight end and Donnie McDonough, who recently resigned from Western Wayne, is another assistant coach.
The team will practice April 17 and 24 in Downingtown, then again in Pittsburgh the day before the game.
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