From the first day of heat acclimatization practice on Aug. 31, until the 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 going on around the league …
1. Some good news and some bad news for Ephrata. First, the bad news: Sadly, the Mountaineers’ season is over. Kaput. Because of coronavirus issues in the school district, Ephrata’s crossover game on Friday at Columbia has been canceled, and the Mounts’ nonleague clash at Manheim Central on Nov. 13 is also off. Neither game will be rescheduled. … Now, some good news: For the first time in a long time, Ephrata’s senior class will walk away with an overall winning record. The Mounts went 4-3 this season, 6-4 last fall and 5-5 in 2018 for a 15-12 mark. That’s the first time since — wait for it — 1990-92 that a Mounts’ senior class had a winning record. Ephrata went 6-5 in 1990, 6-5 in 1991 and 8-3 in 1992 under coach Ken Grove for a 20-13 mark. Thanks to Andy Fasnacht for that fun fact.
BONUS NUGGET — Columbia has added a game on the fly; the Crimson Tide, which had its scheduled crossover game vs. Ephrata on Friday canceled, will host Southern Huntingdon at 6 p.m. on Monday. ... The Rockets, a Class 2A team from District 6, are 4-1 this season, with wins over Williamsburg (20-6), Mount Union (32-14), Claysburg-Kimmel (18-7) and West Branch (48-9). ... Southern Huntingdon's lone loss is listed as a forfeit last week vs. Cambria Heights. The Rockets are also slated to play Northern Bedford on Nov. 13. ... Here's a fun fact: Southern Huntingdon's rookie head coach, Aaron Batzel, is 24 years old. ... Rockets' offense is spearheaded by dual-threat QB Nate Myers, who has passed for 415 yards with four TD tosses, and he's also rushed for 493 yards and six scores. Zach Hunsinger (149 rushing yards, 2 TD) and Kendel Marino (115 rushing yards, 3 TD) have also contributed out of the backfield. ... Southern Huntingdon is situated in Three Springs, which is about 70 miles west of Harrisburg. ... The Rockets compete in the Inter County Conference, which includes Bellwood-Antis, Claysburg-Kimmel, Glendale, Juniata Valley, Moshannon Valley, Mount Union, West Branch, Williamsburg, Everett, Fannett-Metal, Forbes Road, McConnellsburg, Northern Bedford, Southern Fulton and Tussey Mountain. ... Rockets have 10 takeaways — five fumble recoveries and five picks, with three interceptions by DB Dawson Booher — and Southern Huntingdon's leading tacklers are LB Aaron Keough (45 stops, 7 for losses, 1 sack) and LB Brody Pyles (16 tackles, 3 for losses, 3 sacks). Their top priority is slowing down a Columbia attack that averages 376 yards and 31 points a game. QB Robert Footman (1,290 passing yards, 14 TD) keys the Tide's balanced O. ... Columbia hasn't been on the field since Oct. 23, so the Tide will have some rust to dust off.
2. L-L League teams that are finished for the season: Ephrata, Solanco and Wilson. … Also, Garden Spot (coronavirus issues in the school district) had to cancel Friday’s crossover game vs. Pequea Valley — which was able to nab a nonleague date at Pine Grove — and the Spartans are done this season. … Non-playoff squads slated to continue playing after this weekend include McCaskey, Penn Manor, Cedar Crest, Lebanon, Conestoga Valley and Manheim Township, who all have games lined up for Nov. 13. … Township is also slated to play Nov. 20. … We’ll see if Manheim Central, which lost its game vs. Ephrata next week, will try and pick up a game. … Columbia’s season is also in jeopardy, after losing its game vs. Ephrata on Friday. The Crimson Tide has been idle since Oct. 23, and is searching high and low for an opponent this weekend.
3. A coaching milestone update: Lampeter-Strasburg skipper John Manion picked up his 175th career victory last week, when the Pioneers knocked off Northern Lebanon to improved to 7-0 this fall and lock up the outright Section 3 championship. Now in his 23rd season — tied with Manheim Township skipper Mark Evans as the longest-tenured coach in the L-L League — Manion’s teams are 175-82 overall, with eight section titles and a pair of District 3 crowns. The Pioneers open defense of their D3-4A championship on Friday with a semifinal clash against Conrad Weiser in Lampeter.