It was no surprise that Seneca Valley's Josh Kaltenberger and Mars' Michael Carmody earned All-State football recognition in Class 6A and 5A, respectively.
That doesn't take away from the appreciation both senior offensive linemen have for being selected, however.
“It's an honor,” said Kaltenberger, who played center and guard last fall. “I was hoping I'd get it, but I couldn't have done it without the help of my coaches and teammates. I give a lot of credit to my family, too, for supporting me.”
Carmody was one of just five offensive linemen in the state to receive the Class 5A honor while the Class 6A picks numbered just six. In both cases, Carmody and Kaltenberger were the only players on the offensive line chosen from the western side of the state.
Carmody was also honored as such as a junior.
After lettering as a sophomore at tackle, Kaltenberger spent two seasons as a starter for SV. As a center, he helped the Raiders reach Heinz Field for the WPIAL championship game in 2018.
Kaltenberger, who has committed to play at Purdue University, played the first half of last season at center before an injury to a teammate forced him to move to right guard.
“It was a bit of a transition for me,” he admitted, “but I still enjoyed it. That experience helped make me a better player.”
Purdue recruited Kaltenberger (6-foot-5, 290 pounds) as a center, but as he put it, he “can play anywhere.”
He added: “I improved a lot from my junior to senior year. I got better with my footwork, started bending at the knees more and I became a lot stronger. That helped me become a better finisher, taking each play 'til the end.”
Kaltenberger will be getting a head start on the college game, taking advantage of early enrollment at Purdue. He began classes there Monday and will take part in the program's workouts and spring practices.
SV coach Ron Butschle knows Kaltenberger's departure leaves big shoes to fill.
“When Josh was a sophomore, he was three inches shorter and 80 pounds lighter,” he said. “To see him now, he's grown into a 290-pound man.
“Having a player from our program named all-state is not something that happens every year. This is a huge honor.”
Carmody, a tackle who signed to attend and play at Notre Dame, is more agile than his 6-7, 295-pound frame would indicate.
“The most impressive thing about Michael is his athleticism and that's evident on the basketball court,” said Mars offensive line coach Dave Goodworth. “You don't see too many guys that tall and pushing 300 pounds who can run and jump like he can.”
Notre Dame first showed interest in Carmody at the end of his sophomore year, during which he played tight end for the Planets. Like most college programs who contacted him, the Fighting Irish expressed a desire to make him a tackle.
By the following season, Carmody had been switched to that position. He is hoping to see the field sooner rather than later in college.
“A lot of offensive linemen are red-shirted because it is one of the most physically demanding positions,” he said. “But that's not my mindset going in. I want to compete for a spot right away.”
The last two years have been a whirlwind for Carmody. Along with signing with Notre Dame, he was selected to play in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio and the Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii.
“Everything has come at me so fast the last two years,” he said. “Beginning with the recruiting process and meeting all the people I did, it's all been a blessing for me.”