From the first day of heat acclimatization practice on Aug. 5, until the very last Lancaster-Lebanon League football team is standing later this fall, we’ll bring you three fun L-L League pigskin facts on a daily basis to keep you updated about what’s happening around the league …
There are three titanic matchups on Friday’s slate, including two games featuring undefeated teams: Manheim Township (5-0) at Wilson (5-0), Cedar Crest (5-0) at Warwick (5-0) and Cocalico (4-1) at Manheim Central (3-2). We’ll get the Week 6 preview items started with some notables about those much-anticipated matchups:
1. Manheim Township snapped Wilson’s shiny 68-game L-L League Section 1 winning streak and captured the section and D3-6A crowns in 2017. Wilson got some payback last year with a 16-14 victory in Neffsville, and the Bulldogs and the Blue Streaks ended up sharing the section championship with Warwick. … Wilson leads the all-time series against Township 37-9-1. … With a win, Bulldogs’ skipper Doug Dahms would tie John Gurski for most coaching wins in program history with 151. … D3 power rankings: Wilson is No. 1 and Township is No. 2 in 6A. … Great QB matchup in this one: Township’s Harrison Kirk (62-of-96, 65 percent, for 939 yards, 10 TD) and Wilson’s Kaleb Brown (44-of-67, 66 percent, for 654 yards, 11 TD) have both been efficient. … Township is feasting on takeaways; Streaks have forced 11 turnovers, and Township has 44 tackles for losses and 16 QB sacks. … The crux: Can Wilson’s offense stay on the field, move the sticks and score points against the league’s stingiest defense; Township is allowing just 132 yards and 6 points a game, and the Streaks’ rush D has given up just 182 yards on the ground.
2. Warwick clipped Cedar Crest 58-17 last year in Lebanon, and now the Falcons face a trip to Lititz for this battle of unbeatens. … Cedar Crest, which is 5-0 for the second time in three years, begins its gauntlet now; the Falcons are at Township in Week 8 and then they host Wilson in Week 9. … Two red-hot running backs will square off in this showdown: Cedar Crest’s Tyler Cruz rumbled for 323 yards with three TD runs last week against Hempfield, and he leads the L-L League with 812 rushing yards, plus 10 TD bolts. Meanwhile, Warwick slugger Colton Miller had 137 yards and three scores last week against McCaskey, and he’s approaching the 500-yard mark with 11 TDs. … Warwick leads the L-L League in total offense (450 yards a game) and scoring (258 points, 51 points a game), as QB Joey McCracken has thrown a league-best 18 TD passes. … The crux: Can Warwick’s D bottle up Cruz? And can Cedar Crest’s secondary keep tabs on McCracken and his merry band of wideouts?
3. For our money, it’s the best rivalry going in the L-L League these days: Cocalico vs. Manheim Central. The Eagles and the Barons have been duking it out for Section 2 supremacy for years, and they’ve met in the D3-5A playoffs the last three years in a row: 2016 (Central won 50-13 in the semifinals), 2017 (Central won 21-20 in the semifinals) and 2018 (Central won 48-14 in the championship game). These two are ultra familiar with each other, to say the least. … Since a 28-24 Week 5 loss against Cocalico in 2016, Central has ripped off 19 Section 2 victories in a row. The Barons have won or shared the last four Section 2 crowns. … Central QB Evan Simon is now No. 8 in L-L League history with 6,303 career passing yards. His favorite target, Colby Wagner, had 16 catches last week vs. Elizabethtown. That’s believed to be a league single-game record for receptions; Wagner tied former Conestoga Valley WR Tyre Stead, who had 16 grabs against Lampeter-Strasburg in 2017. … Still one of our favorite stats out there: Cocalico QB Noah Palm, in 162 career pass attempts, has thrown just one interception. And it came against the Barons. … The crux: Can Cocalico’s D cool off Simon, who went up top for 357 air yards last week vs. E-town.
Plenty more about these three monster games — and the entire Week 6 slate — coming up.