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 …
It’s time for the weekly Helmet Sticker awards, and we’ll dole them out to players who helped their teams win in Week 3:
1. SECTION 1 HELMET STICKERS
SOARING FALCONS: How’s this for clutch: Cedar Crest K Jack Beasley booted the game-winning 38-yard field goal with 50 seconds to play — and then he chipped in on the tackle on the ensuing kickoff — in the Falcons’ riveting 17-14 come-from-behind win at York. Cedar Crest trailed 14-0 before rallying. And Beasley’s kick won it, as the Falcons improved to 3-0. And durable Cedar Crest RB Tyler Cruz got the Falcons’ comeback against York started with a 47-yard TD romp, and he raced for 152 yards on 29 workmanlike carries, as Cedar Crest remained unbeaten heading into Friday’s Section 1 opener at McCaskey.
BLUE STREAKS DUO: A big week for the kickers, as Manheim Township’s Jackson Wright also delivered in crunch time against Central Dauphin. Locked in a 7-7 game, and determined to come through after the Rams blocked two of his field goal attempts earlier in the game, Wright drilled the game-winner, coolly and calmly connecting on a 27-yarder with 1:09 to play. And Township vet QB Harrison Kirk had a big night through the air; the Colgate commit went 20-for-33 for 282 yards against CD. Kirk also scored the Streaks’ lone TD on a 1-yard keeper, as Township remained undefeated heading into Friday’s Section 1 opener at home vs. Penn Manor.
TRIO OF WARRIORS: Putting three Warwick top-performers here, with stickers going to WR Conor Adams, RB Colton Miller and QB Joey McCracken, who all came up aces in the Warriors’ 37-7 win over Manheim Central. Adams had seven catches for 151 yards, including a 76-yard TD grab. Miller bolted for 122 yards on 26 carries, including a game-icing 15-yard TD romp. And McCracken went 14-for-25 for 290 yards, with three more TD strikes, giving him 11 TD throws already this season, and he added a TD keeper. Warwick improved to 3-0, snapped Central’s 27-game regular-season unbeaten streak, and is set to play at Hempfield in the Section 1 opener next week after ending a 23-game losing skid against the Barons, dating back to 1983.
BULLDOG COMBO: Two Wilson players get a nod, as the Bulldogs soared past Spring-Ford 42-23 to go to 3-0. QB Kaleb Brown had his best game yet, going 13-for-20 for 161 yards with a pair of TD throws, and he rushed for 115 yards on 12 keepers, including a 67-yard TD jaunt. And Mason Lenart came up big in special teams, returning a kickoff 95 yards for a TD — the longest in the L-L League so far this season — as Wilson remained undefeated ahead of next week’s much-anticipated crossover clash against Manheim Central in West Lawn.
2. SECTION 2 HELMET STICKERS
COCALICO COMBO: Two Eagles’ players came up big as Cocalico improved to 3-0 compliments of a 26-14 victory over Governor Mifflin. First up, return-man Steven Flinton, who took a kickoff 76 yards to the house after the Mustangs had sliced into the Eagles’ lead. And scat-back Ronald Zahm had a pair of TD grabs, covering 26 and 6 yards, respectively, as Cocalico overcame an early 7-0 deficit to beat Mifflin and stayed unbeaten heading into Friday’s Section 2 opener at home against Elizabethtown.
STRONG MULES: A pair of Solanco standouts get stickers, leading off with FB Nick Yannutz, who continued his fast start with another strong rushing effort in the Golden Mules’ 21-10 win over previously undefeated New Oxford. Yannutz rumbled for 133 yards on 22 carries, including a 3-yard TD plunge. And QB Grady Unger had his best rushing game to date, racing for 131 stripes on 21 keepers, including a 1-yard dive TD, as Solanco won its second game in a row and picked up more momentum heading into next week’s Section 2 opener at home vs. Garden Spot.
PIONEER POWER: Three Lampeter-Strasburg players made the list, after the Pioneers cruised past West York 42-6 to remain undefeated on Saturday. First up, RB Bryan McKim, who rushed for 120 yards with a pair of long TD romps, covering 50 and 35 yards. Next up is QB Connor Nolt, who was a tidy 4-for-7 for 146 yards with a trio of TD passes — two to our third honoree, Austin Stoltzfus, who had TD catches covering 17 and 83 yards (giving him a pair of receptions for 100 yards on the dot) as L-S now looks forward to Friday’s Section 2 opener in the Lampeter Bowl against rival Conestoga Valley in Lampeter.
3. SECTION 3 HELMET STICKERS
MOUNTAINEER HEAVYWEIGHTS: What a huge win for Ephrata, which crunched Annville-Cleona 58-26 thanks to 648 yards of total offense. The heroes: QB Caden Keefer was nearly perfect; he completed 21-of-23 passes for 380 yards — the most by any QB in the league so far this season — with four TD throws. And RB Miracle Wratto was sensational, with 122 yards on 12 carries with three TD sprints, covering 73, 9 and 16 yards, respectively, as Ephrata won its second game in a row and set up Friday’s Section 3 first-place showdown at Lancaster Catholic.
DONEGAL PLAYMAKERS: A trio of Indians’ standouts came up big in Donegal’s gut-check 28-21 win over Columbia. Mason Ober rumbled for 126 yards on 14 carries, including the go-ahead 1-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. Garrett Blake rushed for 124 yards on 20 carries, including a pair of 11-yard TD jaunts, and he also had a 2-point conversion run. And Joe Fox came up with the defensive play of the game, knocking down Columbia’s last-gasp passing effort as Donegal held on for a 28-21 win and remained in a first-place tie in the crowded Section 3 hunt.
CRUZ CONTROL: A big night running the ball for Lancaster Catholic RB Alex Cruz, who gouged out 107 yards on 14 attempts. His 1-yard TD plunge gave the Crusaders a 14-0 lead, and Catholic went on to beat Elco 28-7, get to 3-0, and set up next week’s Section 3 first-place clash at home vs. Ephrata.
Jansen Schempp, Octorara: In the Braves’ 35-0 win over Northern Lebanon, Schempp rushed for 89 yards on 10 QB keepers, and he had TD runs of 1 and 5 yards, respectively, as Octorara pitched a shutout and won for the first time this season. The Braves are at Elco on Friday.
Isaiah Rodriguez, QB, Lebanon: Rodriguez accounted for five touchdowns in the Cedars’ 45-0 victory at Pequea Valley. Rodriguez had three TD keepers — covering 1, 1 and 30 yards, respectively — and he fired a pair of TD passes, both to Alex Rufe, covering 17 and 29 yards, as Lebanon won its second game in a row, and remained in a first-place tie in Section 3 ahead of next week’s home game against Annville-Cleona.