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 …
1. It is one of the coolest stats out there in L-L League land, and it’s something we don’t see everyday. But there’s a really good chance we’ll see it this year: A 1,000-yard-pass/1,000-yard-rush season. Cocalico senior QB Noah Palm is closing in fast on that accomplishment. It’s pretty rare; to date, just nine different players in league history — going back to the inception of the league in 1972 — have put together a 1,000-pass/1,000-rush season. The last was in 2017. The first was back in 2003. Heading into Week 10, Palm has 1,019 rushing yards and 819 passing yards for the Eagles, who host Lampeter-Strasburg on Friday. Tack on at least one D3-5A playoff game, and that gives Palm two games minimum to gather 181 passing yards and join the elite club. Two players have eclipsed 1,000/1,000 twice. Here’s the list …
2003 — Jarryd Moyer, Manheim Central (1,547 pass, 1,006 rush)
2008 — Arron Achey, Elco (1,116 pass, 1,187 rush)
2009 — Arron Achey, Elco (2,026 pass, 1,145 rush)
2009 — Justin Gorman, Manheim Central (2,245 pass, 1,113 rush)
2013 — Mark Pyles, Lebanon (2,518 pass, 1,028 rush)
2014 — Sam Kramer, Hempfield (1,216 pass, 1,015 rush)
2015 — Sam Kramer, Hempfield (1,102 pass, 1,234 rush)
2015 — Bryan Downey, Lancaster Catholic (1,240 pass, 1,024 rush)
2016 — Kody Kegarise, Manheim Central (2,314 pass, 1,610 rush)
2017 — Mark Himmelsbach, Hempfield (1,437 pass, 1,483 rush)
2017 — Cameron Roth, Garden Spot (2,480 pass, 1,035 rush)
* Kegarise’s monster 2016 campaign — he had 3,930 total yards and he accounted for 48 touchdowns (including 29 TD runs) — ended with the Barons’ signal-caller earning Maxwell Club Pennsylvania Player of the Year honors. Of the 10 instances where an L-L League player has had a 1,000/1,000 season, Kegarise had the most rushing yards in that season; Achey, Roth, Gorman and Pyles also had 2,000-yard passing seasons when they pulled off this feat. Pyles also won Maxwell Club Pennsylvania Player of the Year honors after his epic 2013 season, when he helped Lebanon make the D3 playoffs on his way to Bucknell.
2. Elco’s rushing attack carved up Annville-Cleona in Week 9, when the Raiders gouged out 400 rushing yards in a 35-17 victory. It was Elco’s sixth dub in a row, and it put the Raiders in a second-place tie in the Section 3 race with Lebanon. It also kept Elco right in the mix for a D3-4A playoff spot; the top 10 finishers qualify, and the Raiders will go into Friday’s regular-season finale at home vs. Columbia on the 10-line. So it should be a win-and-you’re-in scenario for Elco. Overlooked in the Week 9 victory over A-C because of the Raiders’ running success: LB Luke Williams continued his monster D season with 18 total tackles, including 13 solo sticks, going up against the Dutchmen’s rugged Veer rushing attack.
3. THIS AND THAT: If the season ended today, 12 L-L League teams would be in the District 3 playoffs. None of this is official, of course, but it’s always fun looking at potential matchups. If the playoffs started tomorrow, the games would be: In 6A, (1) Wilson vs. (8) Hempfield in an all-Section 1 tussle; (2) Manheim Township vs. (7) Cumberland Valley; and (6) Cedar Crest vs. (3) Central Dauphin. … In 5A, (2) Cocalico would have a first-round bye; (3) Manheim Central, the back-to-back reigning champ, vs. (14) Mechanicsburg; (6) Warwick vs. (11) Exeter; and (13) Solanco vs. (4) York. … In 4A, (6) Lampeter-Strasburg vs. (3) Susquehanna Township, and (10) Elco vs. (7) Gettysburg. … And in 3A, (3) Lancaster Catholic vs. (6) Bermudian Springs, and (4) Annville-Cleona vs. (5) Littlestown. And yes, that Catholic/Bermudian Springs game would be a rematch of last year’s semifinals, when Bermudian Springs KO’d undefeated, top-seeded Catholic. You think the Crusaders would love some payback for that? … Complete District 3 playoff rankings (and yes, 1-loss Wilson jumped unbeaten Manheim Township, which beat the Bulldogs, for the 1-spot in 6A). ... Someone inquired about Donegal’s current 3-game slide, and when was the last time the Indians dropped three games in a row? That would be the 2017 season, when Donegal started 0-3, with nonleague setbacks against Elizabethtown, Manheim Central and Palmyra to open the campaign. They rebounded nicely for a 5-5 season. The Indians head into Friday’s clash at home vs. Northern Lebanon on the 13-line in the D3-4A power ratings. The top 10 teams go, so Donegal would need a win and help, with Kennard-Dale, West Perry and section rival Elco all ahead of the Indians in the race. Just four short weeks ago, Donegal sat alone atop the Section 3 race. … Pequea Valley has suffered three shutout losses in a row; the Braves haven’t scored since the fourth quarter in a Week 6 game vs. Northern Lebanon. … Manheim Central’s senior class has won a Section 2 championship in all four of their years in the program. The Barons have clinched no worse than a tie for the section banner — their fifth in a row — and they’ll go for the outright crown on Friday at Solanco. Central now owns 26 L-L League section championships (outright or shared), second-most in league history behind Wilson (27). The Bulldogs are mathematically still alive to tie for the Section 1 title, but they need a win over McCaskey, and for Hempfield to trip up undefeated Manheim Township to get a piece of the pie. … Columbia receiver Ryan Redding hauled in his 100th career reception for the Crimson Tide last week, in a 62-14 victory over Northern Lebanon. Now another L-L League receiver is poised to join the 100-catch club: Lebanon’s Alex Rufe, after a 9-catch effort last week in a 40-20 win over Octorara, is up to 97 career grabs for the Cedars — including a league-best 65 receptions this season heading into Friday’s game at Annville-Cleona. Video interview with Rufe here.