Call it the wild and wacky Week 7 of football games around the Lancaster-Lebanon League, with a mixed bag of matchups on the schedule.
There are three makeup head-to-head section games on the slate, plus eight league-mandated crossover clashes. There’s even a Saturday game.
Oddly, two teams are idle; when Donegal and Ephrata moved up their Section 3 makeup date, that left Elco and Columbia without games. Elco will remain idle, instead resting up and prepping for its district playoff game against Northern York next week. Columbia, meanwhile, was still searching for a game late in the week; the Crimson Tide will return to the field for sure next week to play Ephrata in a makeup crossover matchup.
Here’s a preview of the entire Week 7 schedule, with all of Friday’s games beginning at 7 p.m. …
SECTION 1-2 CROSSOVERS
Cedar Crest (2-3 league, 2-4 overall) at Elizabethtown (0-5, 1-5): The Falcons and the Bears will knock heads for the first time since they were Section 2 foes in 2016-17, and Cedar Crest swept that series, outscoring E-town 58-7. The Bears’ top priority is keeping Falcons’ QB Chris Danz grounded; he passed for 313 yards with two scores in a win over Penn Manor last week. … Key kids: E-town LB Bobby Walters has piled up a team-best 91 tackles, and he has to help limit CC RB Aadyn Richards, who rushed for 117 yards and two scores against PM last week.
Warwick (5-0, 6-0) at Hempfield (3-2, 3-3): The Warriors have locked up the outright Section 2 title, and they’ll need to come out of this clash healthy with a D3-5A semifinal date against New Oxford on tap for next Friday. Warwick leads this series 35-13, including two victories in a row against its former Section 1 foe. Bottom line: Hempfield must contain the Warriors’ piping-hot offense, which delivers 395 yards and 47 points a game. Knock-knock. Who’s there? Warwick RB Colton Miller and his 20 TD runs. … Key kids: Hempfield ball-hawker ‘backers Nate Roeder (39 tackles) and Devon Shorter (68 tackles) have to make sticks and keep Miller out of the end zone. Period.
Cocalico (3-2, 4-2) at Manheim Township (4-1, 4-2): A couple of premier programs squaring off in Neffsville, although neither of these squads will make a postseason appearance — Cocalico for the first time since 2015 and Township for the first time since 2008. The Streaks have dominated this series with an 18-3 lead, including a 2-0 mark in the last crossover cycle. It’ll be the Eagles’ triple-option attack against the Streaks’ spread scheme. May the best defense win. … Key kids: Cocalico ‘backers Luke Angstadt (50 tackles, 5 for losses, 1 sack) and Austin Vang (40 tackles, 8 for losses) can’t let Township’s high-flying O — which averages 402 yards a game — get up to cruising altitude.
Solanco (3-2, 3-3) at Penn Manor (0-4, 0-5): The Golden Mules and the Comets will collide for the first time 2013, and PM has won six games in a row in this series. In fact, the Comets have outscored the Mules 82-0 in their last two meetings, and PM is 8-2 in its last 10 games vs. Solanco. Both teams here are looking for a spark; the Mules are on a 2-game slide — after electrifying wins over Cocalico and Manheim Central — and the Comets are 0-5 for the first time since 2015. As mentioned, not many meetings between these two; Solanco and PM were last section playmates way back in 1993, and the Mules’ last win over the Comets was in 2007. … Key kid: Solanco QB Mason St. Clair has 478 rushing yards, second-most among quarterbacks in the league. Elco QB Braden Bohannon leads the league with 802 rushing yards.
McCaskey (0-4, 0-6) at Conestoga Valley (3-2, 3-2): The Red Tornado and the Buckskins are headed in different directions; McCaskey’s losing skid is at 23 games in a row, while CV has won two in a row and three out of four behind a big-play offense and a rejuvenated offensive line. The Tornado leads this series 8-6, but the Bucks went 2-0 when they were Section 1 neighbors in 2016-17. … Key kid: CV QB Macoy Kneisley is 15 for 19 for 348 yards with three TD passes in the last two games, both rip-roaring Bucks’ victories.
Lebanon (2-2, 3-2) at Lancaster Catholic (0-5, 0-6): This is a makeup game between the Cedars and the Crusaders, who split their Section 3 series in the last cycle. Big question here: Will Lebanon QB Isaiah Rodriguez return after missing last week’s game with an injury? The Cedars could surely use the 5,000-yard passer. Catholic is scuffling, but newbie QB Will Cranford has thrown for 490 yards and three scores in the last two games. … Key kid: Lebanon LB Skyler Sattizahn is a gamer. He played through some aches and pains last week vs. Donegal, and he’s seemingly in on every stick on defense for the Cedars. Sattizahn is always one of the last guys getting up from the pile after a play.
Ephrata (2-2, 3-3) at Donegal (2-2, 3-2): This is also a makeup game between the Mountaineers and the Indians, who split their Section 3 series in the last cycle. Donegal picked up a much-needed bounce-back win at Lebanon last week, and the Indians continue to get healthier — which is a bonus. Ephrata has run hot and cold, and is still searching for some consistency. … Key kid: Donegal RB Garrett Blake had a 112-yard, 2-TD performance last week against Lebanon, and he’s piled up a team-best 43 tackles from his DB spot for the Indians.
Annville-Cleona (1-3, 2-4) at Pequea Valley (1-3, 1-4): This is a makeup game between the Little Dutchmen and the Braves, who are feeling fine after snapping a 24-game losing streak with a 14-0 win over Northern Lebanon last Friday. A-C has won the last four games in this series, and will unleash its triple-option attack against PV, which will need a strong rush-D performance. … Key kid: PV DB Carter Rohrer (team-high 31 tackles, 3 INT) must help limit the Dutchmen’s Veer scheme.
SECTION 3-4 CROSSOVERS
Garden Spot (2-3, 2-4) at Octorara (4-1, 5-1): This will be the first ever varsity tackle football game between the Spartans and the Braves, and they’re both humming right along. Garden Spot has put its 26-game losing streak in the rearview mirror with a pair of wins, including a 31-8 triumph last week over Lancaster Catholic. Octorara features the league’s top-ranked offense, averaging a nifty, chain-moving 428 yards a game. … Key kid: GS DT Tyler Hurst (24 tackles, 3 sacks) has to help clog up the middle and slow down the Braves’ high-octane attack.
Northern Lebanon (0-5, 0-6) at Lampeter-Strasburg (5-0, 6-0): The Vikings and the Pioneers will duke it out in a regular season game for the first time since 2009. However, this is a rematch of the 2017 D3-4A quarterfinals, and L-S won that game 34-19. NL has struggled across the board this fall, and now the Vikings are tasked with taking on the undefeated, outright Section 3 champs, and top-seeded team in the upcoming D3-4A playoffs. L-S must come out of this game healthy heading into its district game next Friday vs. Conrad Weiser. … Key kid: NL RB Conor Leonard (262 rushing yards, 7.1 yards per carry) has been a key cog for the Vikings.
SECTION 1-2 CROSSOVER
Wilson (5-0, 5-1) at Manheim Central (1-4, 2-4), 12 p.m.: The Bulldogs have clinched the outright Section 1 crown for their league-best 28th championship, but Wilson was denied a District Three Class 6A playoff spot as the last team out in the bracket. Will the Bulldogs use that as motivation against the Barons, who snapped a 4-game slide with a win over Elizabethtown last week. Wilson leads this series of the league’s winningest programs by a 7-4 count; they split their crossover series in the last cycle. And yes, this game was bumped to Saturday since as of Monday night, Wilson wasn’t sure which team it was prepping for. So a day game in Manheim it is. … Key kid: MC QB Judd Novak threw for 354 yards with six TD tosses against the Bears last Friday. Alas, Central will miss the postseason for the first time since (gulp) 1991; Wilson for the first time since 2005.