After an unusual offseason and a late start to the regular season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Lancaster-Lebanon League football campaign has finally arrived. It will certainly look different, with no fans permitted in the stands and teams practicing coronavirus protocols. Teams will play a truncated seven-game season beginning Friday.

 Section 2 preview     Section 3 preview    Section 4 preview

Section 1 capsule   

Here is a look at the L-L League Section One teams:

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Cedar Crest’s Tyler Cruz reacts after a penalty was called on his team for a personal foul in a L-L League Section One contest at Warwick High School on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019.

Cedar Crest

With the lowest enrollment in Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, Cedar Crest is, in the words of coach Rob Wildasin, “a small fish in a big pond.’’

Last season, the Falcons started 5-0 and 6-1, putting themselves in position for big things. Then came the meat of the schedule. Crest ultimately reached seven wins, thus locking up a berth in the District Three Class 6A playoffs, but lost to Warwick, Manheim Township and Wilson down the stretch by a combined 131-21.

In districts, the Falcons lost 36-6 to Central Dauphin, which reached the 6A state final.

Read the full Cedar Crest preview

2019 Hempfield at Manheim Township Football

Tanner Hess (5) of Hempfield runs against Manheim Township during week 10 L-L League section 1 football action at Manheim Township High School in Lancaster on Friday, October 25, 2019.

Hempfield

  • PIAA: Class 6A.
  • COACHGeorge Eager — 1st season. He’s the former Manheim Township and F&M standout, and at age 33, Eager is the youngest coach in the L-L League. He took over for Ron Zeiber, who stepped down following last season.
  • LAST YEAR: 2-4 Section 1, 4-6 overall.

Rip! Rip! Rip!

Spend any amount of time in proximity to Franklin & Marshall's football coaching staff and one will recognize this as a formation/play call. And so it was familiar to hear it called during a summer gathering of Hempfield’s football team.

Under the guidance of new head coach — and F&M alum — George Eager, the Black Knights will undoubtedly show the occasional Diplomats' element.

“You should see some new stuff coming from us,” said Knights' senior running back Tanner Hess, who rushed for just under 1,000 yards last fall, with 16 touchdowns. “It’s going to shock a lot of teams.”

Read the full Hempfield preview

Manheim Central vs Manheim Twp.-HS Football

Manheim Twp.'s Cade Clancy, runs in for a touchdown against Manheim Central during a scrimmage at Manheim Twp. High School Friday September 11, 2020.

Manheim Township

  • PIAA: Class 6A.
  • COACHMark Evans — 9th season, 68-29 overall; including his first stop at Elco, this is Evans’ 23rd season overall, tied with Lampeter-Strasburg’s John Manion for the current longest-tenured skipper in the L-L League.
  • LAST YEAR: 6-0 Section 1 (champs), 11-1 overall (Lost to eventual champ Central Dauphin 35-34 in District 3 Class 6A quarterfinals).

As soon as the dust settled on Manheim Township's season-ending, double-overtime loss to Central Dauphin in the 2019 District Three Class 6A semifinals, the Blue Streaks have used the initialism WIT as a theme and a rallying cry.

It stands for "whatever it takes."

In 2020, whatever it takes has included wearing masks and social distancing and holding on to hope for an uninterrupted campaign on the gridiron. For Township, whatever it takes also means replacing all but one starter in a lineup depleted by graduation.

Read the full Manheim Township preview

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McCaskey’s Thyago Alvarez (52) prepares to snap the ball against Hempfield in an L-L League Section 1 game at Hempfield High School in Landisville on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.

J. P. McCaskey

  • PIAA: Class 6A.
  • COACHSam London — 2nd season, 0-10 overall.
  • LAST YEAR: 0-6 Section 1, 0-10 overall.

McCaskey had limped toward the finish line of a tepid 2019 season. The winless Red Tornado had been outscored 117-0 in the two games prior to its season finale at Wilson, before spotting the Bulldogs a 49-6 lead at the half.

But in the final two quarters of a 0-10 season, and a loss that extended the program's winless streak to 17 games, the Tornado rallied, scoring 20 unanswered points to give first-year coach Sam London something to build on.

"They were proud of their effort," London said. "It can kind of be a glimpse of what's to come. We played a boatload of young kids in that game, and a majority of them are back. It was encouraging to go into the offseason like that."

Read the full McCaskey preview

LL Football Heat acclimatization Practice

Head coach John Brubaker, left, speaks to the players during the first day of heat acclimatization practice at Penn Manor High School Monday August 31, 2020.

Penn Manor

  • PIAA: Class 6A.
  • COACHJohn Brubaker — 6th season, 9-41 overall.
  • LAST YEAR: 1-5 Section 1, 3-7 overall.

No weight room? No locker room? No problem?

The ongoing construction at Penn Manor High School — more like destruction at this point — has meant the Comets' 2020 football team has had just one more hurdle to navigate in its quest to improve on last year’s 3-7 campaign.

Running aside and parallel to the Comets' practice field, Millersville’s Model Ave. is currently a parking lot of shipping containers holding all their equipment.

Before each practice the containers are opened, the equipment unloaded and, after practice, in keeping with COVID-19 protocols, the equipment is cleaned and sanitized before being locked up.

Read the full Penn Manor preview

Wilson vs Warwick-LL Football

Wilson's Mason Lenart (12) and the rest of the team celebrate after beating Warwick 14-7 in an L-L section one football game at John Gurski Stadium on the campus of Wilson High School Friday October 11, 2019.

Wilson

  • PIAA: Class 6A.
  • COACHDoug Dahms — 15th season, 155-30 overall.
  • LAST YEAR: 5-1 Section 1, 10-2 overall (Lost to Harrisburg 33-29 in District 3 Class 6A quarterfinals).

It’s been a nerve-wracking, nail-biting time for Wilson’s football team.

Not because the Bulldogs have to replace a bunch of starters or because they’re facing a daunting schedule with all the usual bull’s-eyes that waft around West Lawn. That's nothing new for this crew.

This summer, the Bulldogs had to wait out the PIAA’s much-anticipated decision to let individual school districts allow their athletic programs to participate this fall. That was a big exhale moment.

But then coach Doug Dahms and his bunch survived a school board vote on Aug. 27, when they were given the final thumbs-up to have a season. That was an enormous exhale moment.

Read the full Wilson preview

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