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 …
Three winning teams, so three sets of Helmet Sticker winners for the victors from Friday:
1. WARWICK HELMET STICKERS
Stickers for a 4-pack of Warriors’ performers, who helped Warwick KO Manheim Central 31-28 in a thrill-a-minute, down-to-the-wire D3-5A quarterfinal-rounder at Elden Rettew. First up, lefty kicker Tanner Haines, who booted the game-winning 17-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Warriors the electrifying victory. Haines wouldn’t have gotten that attempt without special teams specialist Adam Martin, who also gets a sticker. With 1:55 to go in regulation, Martin crashed through the line and blocked Central’s punt attempt, giving Warwick terrific field position in the waning seconds. It got a little dicey with a couple of penalty flags, but Martin’s block eventually set up Haines’ game-winning attempt. A sticker for workhorse back Colton Miller, who rumbled for 163 yards on 34 carries, with three TD runs. Warwick dominated the ground-game department, with Miller doing a bulk of the damage between the tackles — so a tip of the hat to Warwick's O-line, as well. On a windy, cold night, those guys more than held their own up front in the trenches. Last but certainly not least, a sticker for WR Caleb Schmitz, who had a big night catching the ball with seven receptions for 92 yards, including a 33-yard TD grab. It seemed like every time Warwick needed a key catch to keep a drive alive, Schmitz was there. … Couldn’t help but think about Warwick’s close-call loss at Wilson earlier this season. It was an eerily similar situation Friday at Central; the Warriors had a first-and-goal situation with time running out. But unlike the Bulldogs’ game, when Warwick ran out of timeouts, had to spike the ball to kill the clock on another play, and ultimately saw the game end when Wilson’s Anthony Koper stuffed Miller just short of the goal line as time expired, this time Warwick had timeouts. Plus, it was a tie game; the Warriors weren’t trailing. And this time, Warwick finished the job. It had goal-to-go at the 1 with 4 ticks left, and after a timeout, coach Bob Locker sent in the field-goal unit. Haines — with Kai Cipalla snapping and Justin Gerhart holding — knocked the game-winner through the uprights as time expired. It was a fabulous game. The rematch will come in the regular season next fall, when Warwick and Central square off as Section 2 foes, when the L-L League goes to four sections.
2. COCALICO HELMET STICKERS
Two stickers for the top-seeded Eagles, who steamrolled Governor Mifflin 42-14 in another D3-5A quarterfinal-rounder. First up, DB Marshall Patterson, who scooped up a fumble and raced 22 yards the other way for a defensive touchdown. Gotta love those in the momentum-building, game-changing department. And the bye week didn’t bother QB Noah Palm, who picked up right where he left off in the regular season with four TD keepers — covering 9, 8, 3 and 17 yards, respectively — and he also forced a fumble from his safety spot as Cocalico set up a must-see, all-L-L League semifinal showdown vs. Warwick — the Eagles’ long-time August scrimmage partner. … Keep an eye on the weather next Friday: Cocalico has a grass surface, and D3 prefers a turf surface if the weather isn’t cooperating. Remember last year: It snowed on Friday, and Cocalico moved its D3-5A semifinal to Saturday afternoon to Manheim Central’s turf surface, and the Eagles topped York at a neutral site.
3. LAMPETER-STRASBURG HELMET STICKERS
A 4-pack of stickers for the Pioneers, who picked off previously undefeated and top-seeded York Suburban 27-18. Down a man in the backfield, Alex Knapp stepped up and had a night. He had a pair of TD runs, covering 85 and 9 yards, respectively, and he bolted for 95 yards total as the Pioneers never trailed. And a sticker for return-man Jacob Kopelman, who made a game-changing play in special teams. When Suburban was mounting a comeback, Kopelman returned a kickoff 84 yards for a TD to restore order for L-S, which will take on Bishop McDevitt in a D3-4A semifinal-rounder next. Kopelman also had 10 tackles and a fumble recovery on defense. And stickers for two more standout defensive performers: Parker Owens (7 tackles, 4 for losses, 1 sack, 5 QB hurries) was terrific in the trenches, and DB Logan Bradley (2 INT, 3 pass breakups, 6 tackles, 1 for a loss) keyed the secondary, as L-S won and advanced. … Quite sure we’ll discuss the L-S vs. McD matchup more in-depth as the week goes on, but as a quick primer, this will be the fourth time the Pioneers and the Crusaders will lock horns in the D3 playoffs, and it’s been all McD; Crusaders are 4-0 in the playoff series vs. L-S, with wins in 2010 (40-10 in the 3A semifinals), 2011 (28-14 in the 3A championship game), 2012 (40-13 in a 3A first-rounder) and 2017 (47-17 in 4A semifinals). … And this: Former Elizabethtown stud LB Devyn Clair — L-L League fans will certainly remember him — is a senior blue-chip standout for McDevitt. He’ll see an old foe on Friday in Harrisburg, when the Pioneers come calling.