Manheim Twp. vs Hempfield-LL Football

Manheim Township quarterback Evan Clark (3) celebrates after his touchdown run against Hempfield during firs- half action of an L-L League Section 1 football game at Hempfield High School in Landisville on Friday Oct.16, 2020.

Here is what we learned about the Lancaster-Lebanon League football teams from the Week 5 games, as told by the reporters who covered all of the action.

NOTE: Because of COVID-19 concerns in their school districts, Donegal, Lebanon and Penn Manor did not play football games in Week 5.

SECTION 1

CEDAR CREST: The Falcons have been moving the ball through the air at a pretty clip this season, but in Friday’s 41-6 setback against rampaging Wilson, Cedar Crest didn’t have much luck up top, or on the ground. The Bulldogs’ suffocating defense held the Falcons to just 135 total yards and turned Cedar Crest over four times, including a fumble recovery for a TD. The Falcons will look to recapture their air success — and some all-around balance — when Penn Manor comes to town Friday. — Jeff Reinhart

HEMPFIELD: You hate to use injuries as an excuse, but the Black Knights played without leading rusher Tanner Hess and leading receiver Jadin Jimenez in Friday’s 49-7 setback against rival Manheim Township. Would Hess and Jimenez made a 35-point difference? We’ll never know. But not having a pair of offensive weapons certainly didn’t help Hempfield, which had its 3-game winning streak snapped, and the Knights were bumped out of a first-place tie. Hempfield is at Wilson on Friday, and if the Knights can snap back and beat the Bulldogs, they’d earn a share of the section crown. Talk about motivation. — Jeff Reinhart  

MANHEIM TOWNSHIP: Credit the Blue Streaks’ offensive line, which blew open bountiful holes and kept QB Evan Clark upright on Friday, in Township’s rip-roaring 49-7 win at Hempfield. The Streaks scored early and often, dominating up front to keep their offense chugging right along. Township’s defense remained hot, holding Hempfield to just 154 yards in the Streaks’ third win in a row. You think these guys would like another stab at La Salle College and Wilson right now? The sizzling Streaks have definitely found their groove. — Jeff Reinhart

McCASKEY: Credit the Red Tornado for making Saturday’s trip to Harrisburg. The Cougars are simply scorching right now, with two district titles and a finals appearance in the last four years, and Harrisburg certainly played like a chiseled, playoff powerhouse against McCaskey, holding the Tornado to minus-8 yards and zero first downs. Harrisburg’s hard-charging defense was simply that good. McCaskey’s losing skid is at 22 games in a row, as the Tornado continues to search high and low for answers. — Jeff Reinhart

WILSON: Caution: Flammable. The broiling Bulldogs made it four wins in a row, and they clinched at least a tie for the section title with a dominating 41-6 win over Cedar Crest. Once again, Wilson’s defense rose to the occasion, holding the Falcons to just 39 rushing yards while pilfering four takeaways. Jadyn Jones took one of the fumble recoveries to the house for a TD. Heading into Friday’s showdown against Hempfield, the Bulldogs are rocking the top-ranked defense in Section 1, allowing just 242 yards a game. That 48-7 setback against Governor Mifflin back in Week 1 seems like ions ago. — Jeff Reinhart

L-L LEAGUE FOOTBALL STANDINGS, STATISTICS

SECTION 2

COCALICO: Efficiency was the name of the game for the Eagles in their 52-0 win over Elizabethtown. Of the 10 players who touched the football on offense, five scored: Carson Nash, Steven Flinton, Micah Ulysse, Jacob Kohl and Gavin Glass. Flinton, in particular, was stout, scoring three times on seven touches. Cocalico averaged 7.1 yards a carry on its 53 rushes. — Kyle Morgan

CONESTOGA VALLEY: 2020 has been a strange trip for the Buckskins, even by the standards of the time. They’ve been blown out twice and lost a game to COVID-19, but put on a spectacular, big-play offensive show — with a creative and aggressive play-calling performance by coach Gerad Novak — on Friday in getting their first win against an arch-rival in 14 years, and celebrated at the final gun as if they fully understood what it meant after a 41-35 victory at Manheim Central. Also, they have a guy named Booper, so they have that going for them, which is nice. — Mike Gross

ELIZABETHTOWN: The Bears' offensive struggles continued in their shutout loss to Cocalico. They had just 18 yards and only one first down in the first half, finishing with just five total. Adding to the misery is the fact that Elizabethtown’s defense forced two first-half turnovers — upping their total to 12 this season — that they failed to take advantage of, turning the ball over on downs both times. — Kyle Morgan

MANHEIM CENTRAL: The Barons have a quarterback, now and going forward, in junior Judd Novak. Their skill-position group is, if not vintage Central, certainly better than most. They always compete. But the defense has fallen and can’t get up. Before Friday, stopping the run had been the main issue. Against CV, they held the run in-check often enough, snap-for-snap, but yielded nearly 20 yards per pass attempt and plays, in the air and on the ground, of 81, 69, 65 and 60 yards. — Mike Gross

SOLANCO: The Golden Mules entered Friday riding a 3-game winning streak, which included respectable victories over Section 2 stalwarts Cocalico and Manheim Central. That streak came to an end in the form of a 48-14 loss to unbeaten Warwick. To have a chance, Solanco needed to keep it close and control time of possession with its run-based Flexbone offense. The Mules seemed to have figured something out on a 14-play, 70-yard first-half drive in which they mostly attacked the middle with their triple-option offense, cutting the deficit to 14-7. But it was only one of a few drives in which they mustered much momentum. And Solanco’s defense was gashed for 412 yards. With Friday’s loss, any playoff hopes for the Mules were essentially dashed. — John Walk

WARWICK: Warriors’ senior RB Colton Miller entered Week 5 already leading the L-L League in rushing touchdowns. He further distanced himself in that category with five more rushing scores in Warwick’s 48-14 win at Solanco, to go along with a season-high 234 rushing yards. His five scores were as follows: 1 yard, 26 yards, 11 yards, 57 yards, 62 yards. Warwick coach Bob Locker also purposely had QB Joey McCracken stretch his legs a bit. In his fourth game back from a devastating knee injury last February, McCracken rushed for 24 yards on three carries. He also completed 5 of 12 passes, one of them to the right flank to all-state two-way player Caleb Schmitz, who did most of the work on a 52-yard score by shedding two tacklers and rumbling the rest of the way. Warwick also has one of the best O-lines in the league. Locker put it this way: “We’ve got talent. We’re not going to hide from it.” The Warriors will try to win the Section 2 crown outright with a win over Cocalico on Friday. — John Walk

SECTION 3

EPHRATA: Talk about opportunistic. The Mountaineers’ defense stepped up large on Saturday, forcing seven turnovers in Ephrata’s 23-6 nonleague win against Sun Valley down in Aston. The Mounts scooped up five fumbles and picked off a pair of passes; Zach Wanous had an interception and a fumble recovery, and Andre Weidman’s late INT sealed the deal for Ephrata. — Jeff Reinhart

GARDEN SPOT: Against Lampeter Strasburg, the Spartans were over-matched and the setback they took from the Pioneers’ defense seemed to wear on the players as many played both ways. Senior QB-DB Jesse Martin again showed no quit, despite a relentless rush from L-S. He also showed his value on defense with two key interceptions. — Matt Pawlikowski

LAMPETER-STRASBURG: We know the Pioneers are good because of their 5-0 record. But they showed just how talented they are against Garden Spot, as they were stellar in all three facets of the game. Sure, there were a few miscues, but once coach John Manion spoke to his players late in the first quarter, they looked like a team poised to go deep into the postseason. Quarterback Sean McTaggart, who threw for 185 yards and four touchdowns, credited the O-line for giving him the time he needed to find open receivers or open up the rushing lanes for a squad that averaged 7.3 yards per carry, and was led by Alex Knapp who rushed for 89 yards. Giovanni Malatesta, who handled the ball much of the second half, found holes big enough to grind out 52 yards on just five carries. L-S’s first-team defensive unit hasn’t allowed a touchdown since the second game of the season against Lebanon. Except for a late score by Garden Spot, even with its starters out for most of the second half, nearly posted a third consecutive shutout, showing its depth. Parker Owens was a beast with two sacks and five tackles for a loss, Beau Heyser had 10 tackles and Nick Del Grande added a sack, to go along with his five tackles. And did we mention Elijah Carr, who had eight tackles? So what exactly did Manion say that motivated his team to score 34 unanswered points? McTaggart said it was a few simple words. “He said to just breathe, don’t try to do too much. Do what we’re supposed to do, do everything the right way, do it the way we’re coached.” — Matt Pawlikowski

LANCASTER CATHOLIC: The Crusaders might have found their quarterback of the future, as well as the present. Sophomore Will Cranford programs at 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds and he looks smaller, but there is no question about the size of his heart. The kid is fearless. In Catholic’s 28-20 overtime, nonleague loss to Juniata, Cranford completed 11 of 24 attempts for 248 yards and he led the Crusaders on a four-play, 71-yard touchdown drive that tied the game with two minutes to play. He ignited Nevin Roman’s 73-yard catch-and-TD-dash down the left sideline with a swing pass, and he directed 6-play and 11-play drives that led to Daniel Mueller field goals. Therein lay the issue as Catholic needed to roll sevens on those red-zone possessions. — Dave Byrne

SECTION 4

ANNVILLE-CLEONA: Big plays and turnovers plagued the Little Dutchmen in their 44-7 loss to Columbia. They allowed six plays of 30 yards or longer, and A-C lost three fumbles — two of which led directly to Columbia touchdowns. The Dutchmen are averaging 37 points a game in their two victories, but against the Crimson Tide, their lone touchdown came on defense, and the team is averaging just 10 points a game in their three losses. — Will Welliver

COLUMBIA: Averaging nearly 375 yards a game, the Crimson Tide’s offense did more of the same against Annville-Cleona, piling up 534 yards and scoring seven touchdowns. Defensively, the Tide shutout the Dutchmen’s offense, allowed just 211 yards of offense, and limited A-C to only four snaps in the red zone. The Tide will need more of the same next week at undefeated Elco. — Will Welliver

ELCO: A couple of defensive players stepped up for the Raiders in their 36-7 win over Northern Lebanon. Though already up 22-0, Elco made a nice three-and-out stop with back-to-back sacks by Logan Tice and Owen Kahl. That helped set up a short field for another Elco score, and also helped the Raiders hold the Vikings to zero total yards in the first three quarters. — Dave Bohr

SIGN UP FOR L-L FOOTBALL EXCLUSIVE NEWSLETTER

SIGN UP FOR LNP | LANCASTERONLINE $1 SPORTS PASS

NORTHERN LEBANON: The Vikings are running out of opportunities for their first win of the season after a 36-7 loss to Elco. But they continued to show a willingness to play until the final whistle, scoring their lone touchdown on the game’s final drive with 28 seconds to play. Rasheed Beldor scored on a 7-yard run a few plays after pulling in a 34-yard pass on a 4th-and-7. — Dave Bohr

OCTORARA: The Braves dominated with a 49-27 win on the road over Pequea Valley in the 11th annual “Brave Bowl” on Friday. Thanks to top-notch performances from RB Michael Trainor — 213 rushing yards and a pair of TD runs, plus a TD reception — and QB Weston Stoltzfus, who completed 10 of 11 passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns, Octorara’s Wing-T attack racked up 615 yards of total offense. Octorara is now up 8-3 in the series against PV, which began in 2010. — Kyle Kutz

PEQUEA VALLEY: The Braves suffered a 49-27 at-home loss against Octorara in the 11th annual “Brave Bowl” on Friday. Pro: PV was able to score on both sides of the ball, with two offensive and two defensive touchdowns. Con: PV yielded more than 600 yards of total offense. Next week, the Braves have a chance to snap their 24-game slide against Northern Lebanon. — Kyle Kutz

TWITTER: @JeffReinhart77

More LNP L-L League football coverage