It’s the final weekend of gridiron action before the much-anticipated head-to-head section openers, as the 37 Lancaster-Lebanon League football teams barrel into the Week 3 games.
An even dozen squads will carry a 2-0 record into the latest round of nonleague matchups, including Elco and Columbia, a couple of longtime section foes who are set to square off Friday.
Here’s a look at all 28 games on tap — 25 on Friday night and three more Saturday afternoon — with Friday’s action starting at 7 p.m. sharp.
Elco (2-0 overall) at Columbia (2-0): It's the Raiders and the Crimson Tide — oh my — and the old section foes will clash up on the hill, where one squad is walking away with a snazzy 3-0 mark. Two of the top defenses in the league squaring off here; Columbia has given up just 16 rushing yards in two games, and both clubs are yielding less than 200 yards a game out of the gates. … Key stat: Columbia QB Daezjon Giles (5 TD passes, 0 INT) is the top-ranked passer among Section 5 signal-callers with a nifty 142 rating. … Key kid: Elco RB Jake Williams leads all Section 4 backs with 322 rushing yards, and he’s averaging a healthy 10.1 yards per carry, second in the league among qualified backs. … And this: Elco is 9-1 vs. Columbia in their last 10 meetings; the Tide snapped an agonizing 9-year losing skid with a win over the Raiders last fall, on the way to winning Section 4 gold for the first time since 2002.
Cocalico (1-1) at Manheim Central (2-0): Former longtime section combatants will reignite their juicy rivalry, this time as nonleague foes. Barons are 10-4 — including four district playoff victories — against the Eagles over the last 10 years. They can’t meet in the playoffs during this 2-year cycle; Cocalico popped back up to Class 5A this fall, while Central dipped down to 4A. The Barons have scored 100 points in two games — second-most in the league. … Key stat: Cocalico has rushed for 550 yards, second-most in the league. The Eagles carved out 353 ground yards in a win over Warwick, but Solanco held Cocalico to 197 stripes last week in the Golden Mules’ 21-7 dub. … Key kid: MC RB Brycen Armold bolted for 175 yards and four scores in last week’s wonderfully wacky 44-43 OT win over Immaculata (New Jersey). Cocalico can’t let Armold find daylight. … And this: This is game No. 2 of Central’s 5-game home stand.
Warwick (0-2) at Cedar Crest (2-0): Two teams going in different directions early on; the Falcons’ offense — averaging 300 yards a game — has been a handful, while the Warriors need to cut down on the turnovers in order to dent the W column. … Key stat: Warwick has yielded 502 rushing yards, most in the league. … Key kid: CC WR Nolan Groff had nine catches last week vs. CD East, and his three TD grabs are tied for second-most in the league. … And this: Warwick QB Jack Reed is sitting on 2,905 career passing yards — 95 shy of joining the 3,000-yard air club. … FYI: Warwick is 0-2 for the first time since 2015. The Warriors are a sparkling 48-21 since, with four D3 playoff trips and three section championships over that clip. ... This will be game No. 3 of Warwick’s road odyssey; the Warriors have eight away games on their docket because of ongoing construction at Grosh Field. They’ll get their first home game next Friday vs. Conestoga Valley, when the district will wheel in portable bleachers. No word yet on Warwick’s scheduled home date in Week 10 vs. Governor Mifflin. There are a few options on the table. Stay tuned. … FYI: Cedar Crest QB Jay Huber leads all L-L League signal-callers with 65 pass attempts.
Solanco (2-0) at Penn Manor (1-1): A rip-roaring getaway for the Golden Mules, who have knocked off district heavyweights Lampeter-Strasburg and Cocalico to date. Back to the drawing board for the Comets, who were blanked by L-S last week, after a solid win over Conestoga Valley in Week 1. … Key stat: Solanco’s D has bent, but hasn’t broken; Mules are giving up 347 yards a game, but they’ve mustered enough offense — and points — for a 2-0 start. … Key kid: PM RB Jonathan Osman had four catches for 98 yards out of the backfield last week. Solanco’s D must keep tabs on him. … And this: Solanco is 2-0 for the first time since 2018. That was the last time the Mules made a postseason trip.
Conestoga Valley (1-1) at Garden Spot (2-0): Buckskins are feeling better about things after breezing past Daniel Boone by 35 points last Friday. Now they get a Spartans’ offense that is gouging out chunk yardage (413 stripes a game) and a whole slew of points (39 a game). … Key stat: GS WR Zac Nagle is averaging a whopping 23.6 yards per catch (13-306, 3 TD). … Key kid: CV RB Nick Tran mad-dashed for 173 yards and a couple of scores last week vs. Daniel Boone. Sounds like the Bucks won that trench battle up front. Keep an eye on the line of scrimmage in this clash between the former longtime section rivals. … And this: Garden Spot is 2-0 for the first time since 2015. … FYI: GS QB Kye Harting leads all L-L League signal-callers with 594 passing yards, and Nagle leads the circuit with 306 receiving yards.
Ephrata (1-1) at Lebanon (0-2): For the first time since 2005 — it’s been a pretty long drought in Ephrata, yes — the Mountaineers hoisted the George Male trophy last Friday, when Ephrata KO’d Warwick after 15 straight setbacks in that series. Have to believe the confidence level is pretty high in the Mounts’ locker room these days. The Cedars’ D — which couldn’t slow down Garden Spot last week — will be tested by Ephrata’s red-hot offense, which is averaging 411 yards a game. Ephrata and Lebanon split their Section 3 series 2-2 over the last four years. … Key stat: Lebanon has rushed for 120 yards, third-fewest in the league. … Key kid: A superb start for Ephrata jack-of-all-trades Jeremiah Knowles. Check the numbers: Nine catches for 129 yards and a TD grab; 274 all-purpose yards, including 127 return yards, for 137 yards per game; plus a team-best 22 tackles, including one stick for a loss and two interceptions. … And this: Ephrata RB Andre Weidman has joined the 2,000-yard rushing club (2,167) and he’s also up to 3,205 career all-purpose yards for the Mounts.
Octorara (1-1) at Lancaster Catholic (2-0): The Braves rode into Kinzers last Friday, blanked Pequea Valley and rode home with the coveted Brave Bowl trophy — and some much-needed good momentum and vibes moving forward. Lancaster Catholic is in a terrific groove out of the gates, with wins over York Catholic and Delone Catholic. … Key stat: Lancaster Catholic is 2-0 for the first time since 2019, when the Crusaders opened up 4-0. … Key kid: Octorara DB Chandler Stoltzfus — his big brother, Weston, QB’d the Braves the last couple of seasons, and he was the top-rated passer in the league last fall — has a team-leading 13 tackles, plus a pick.
Central York (1-1) at Hempfield (2-0): The Panthers are coming off a close-call setback against resurgent Cumberland Valley, and now they’ll get a Black Knights’ squad that survived York by three narrow points last week, and must be ready for CY’s spread attack under former longtime Lebanon skipper Gerry Yonchiuk. … Key stat: Hempfield has given up just 145 rushing yards, fifth-fewest in the L-L League. … Key kids: CY RB Juelz Goff is a blue-chip recruit, and Panthers’ D-end Dan Schrader (6 tackles, 3 for losses, 2 sacks, 1 INT) has been a menace off the edge. … And this: Hempfield is 2-0 for the first time since 2015. The Knights won 10 games that season, and went to the D3 semifinals. … FYI: Hempfield shifty QB Jackson Landis has a league-leading six TD runs.
Elizabethtown (2-0) at Lower Dauphin (2-0): Hersheypark Stadium will play host to Bears vs. Falcons, as someone will depart the sweetest place on Earth with a clean-sheet 3-0 mark. E-town’s offense is cranking out a league-best 503.5 yards a game with 585 air yards. The Bears fell to LD 32-12 last fall, and the Falcons blanked E-town 38-0 in 2012 and 48-0 in 2013. LD picked up a forfeit win over Middletown back in Week 1. No football for the Blue Raiders this fall after a hazing incident in the program. … Key stat: LD gave up 222 yards last week against Twin Valley, but the Falcons got a second-half field goal to snap a 14-14 halftime tie to clip the Raiders. … Key kid: E-town WR Cade Capello — a converted RB — has a league-leading 18 receptions. LD’s D-backs will be tested here. … And this: E-town QB Josh Rudy has joined the 3,000-yard passing club; he’s at 3,123 air yards after his sizzling start (528 yards, 8 TD, 0 INT). Rudy leads all L-L League signal-callers with those eight TD tosses — seven to WR Braden Cummings, who leads the league in TD grabs. Seven of his 10 receptions so far this season have gone for scores. … FYI: Only two weeks in yes, but E-town is No. 1 and Solanco is No. 3 in the D3-5A power ratings.
Lampeter-Strasburg (1-1) at Kennard-Dale (0-2): Rematch alert: The Pioneers white-washed the Rams 31-0 in the D3-4A semifinals last fall, and L-S, after a Week 1 setback against scalding-hot Solanco, bounced back in fine fashion last week with a shutout win over Penn Manor. K-D’s setbacks: 49-0 against surface-of-the-sun hot Wyomissing, and a close-call defeat against Spring Grove. … Key stat: L-S pitched five shutouts last fall, on the way to the D3-4A finale for the third year in a row. The Pioneers picked up their first shutout this season last week. … Key kid: L-S RB Carson Coleman has been a force, with 243 rushing yards and three TD romps.
Donegal (0-2) at Palmyra (1-1): The Indians need a kick-start, after falling to Elizabethtown and York Suburban. Turnovers have been a bugaboo for Donegal. After edging out Lebanon in Week 1, the Cougars fell to East Pennsboro last week. Palmyra has a 4-2 series lead over the Indians, dating back to 2012. … Key stat: Donegal is allowing 429 yards a game, and that’s 37th — and dead last — in the L-L League. Odd seeing the Indians ranked there. … Key kid: Donegal RB-LB Noah Rohrer (200 rushing yards, 5 TD; 19 tackles, 3 for losses) is off to a great two-way start for the Indians.
Martin Luther King (1-1) at Wilson (1-1): MLK made the trek to West Lawn last year, and the Bulldogs pinned a 50-8 setback on the Cougars. Wilson got up off the mat after a Week 1 setback vs. Roman Catholic, decking Central Dauphin in Week 2 to erase a lopsided loss vs. the Cahillites. WR and return-man du jour Cam Jones, a Holy Cross commit, subbed in at RB vs. CD and zoomed for 122 yards with a TD run. MLK, out of the American Conference in the Philly Pub League, beat Belmont Charter and fell to Springside Chestnut Hill Academy so far this season. … Key stat: Wilson has yielded 461 rushing yards, fifth-most in the league. … Key kid: On the plus side, Bulldogs’ LB Nate Capitano (10 tackles, 2 INT, 1 pass breakup) has been a ball-hawker in the early going for Wilson.
Hanover (0-2) at Pequea Valley (0-2): Not a great start in the win-loss column for either of these teams, as the Nighthawks prep for their third L-L League opponent in the row, after one-sided setbacks against Annville-Cleona (55-12) and Columbia (30-7). Meanwhile, PV’s offense is stuck in neutral — no points and 172 total yards in two games — as the Braves continue to look for some firmer footing. … Key stat: Hanover has given up 598 rushing yards, including 457 ground stripes by Annville-Cleona. … Key kid: Hanover QB Chase Roberts, who had a TD toss vs. Columbia last week, is also a baseball standout.
Cedar Cliff (1-1) at McCaskey (1-1): Identical 1-1 starts for the Colts and the Red Tornado, who will both be looking for some momentum heading into league play in this clash. Cedar Cliff is coming off a win over Mechanicsburg; McCaskey’s D was roughed up last week against red-hot Elizabethtown. … Key stat: McCaskey is giving up 391 yards a game, third-most in the league. … Key kid: McCaskey WR De’Andre Jones is averaging 18.6 yards per catch with a pair of TD snags for the Tornado.
Littlestown (0-2) at Annville-Cleona (1-1): Another rematch alert: The Dutchmen light-sabered the Thunderbolts 39-12 in the D3-3A playoffs back in 2019, as A-C won a playoff game for the first time in program history. Littlestown absorbed a 66-18 body-blow loss to Boiling Springs and dropped a 10-7 heart-breaker to Susquehannock. A-C toppled Hanover, but coughed up a halftime lead and fell to rival Elco last week. … Key stat: A-C has gouged out a league-leading 620 rushing yards. … Key kid: A-C LB Darrian Holloway (team-best 18 tackles, 11 solo sticks, 1 QB hurry, 1 pass breakup, 1 fumble recovery) has been one of the Dutchmen’s D ringleaders. … And this: A-C RB Phoenix Music leads the L-L League in carries (59) and rushing yards (369).
York Tech (1-1) at Northern Lebanon (0-2): Tech shoulda/coulda beat James Buchanan back in Week 1, but couldn’t hold on late, in a game that was suspended by lightning and took two days to finish. The Spartans rallied nicely, downing Kutztown in Week 2. Meanwhile, the Vikings’ offense could use a jolt after a shutout loss against Susquehanna Township. … Key stat: NL has 74 rushing yards, second-fewest in the league. … Key kid: YT RB Anthony Torres rushed for 180 yards and three scores vs. James Buchanan, and he rumbled for 233 yards and three more scores against Kutztown. Conversely, NL’s D has given up 494 rushing yards, second-most in the league.
West York (0-2) at Exeter (2-0): The Bulldogs’ losing skid hit 16 games in a row last week; West York has fallen to Elco and Red Lion in the early going, and now the Bulldogs — who haven’t won a game since a 40-39 victory over Eastern York on Oct. 9, 2020 — face a trip to Exeter, which is sailing right along and firing on all cylinders. In last week’s conquest over Boyertown, Lucas Palange had nine tackles, including two hits for losses, and Jonathan Martin plied up eight tackles, with two sticks for losses, plus a pair of sacks and a QB hurry for the firecracker-hot Eagles. … Key stat: Exeter has allowed just 120 passing yards, third-fewest in the league. And the Eagles’ D is sixth-best in the L-L League, giving up 180 yards a game. … Key kid: Exeter TE Zach Zandier is averaging a hefty 30 yards per catch (4-120) with a pair of TD grabs. … And this: Exeter coach Matt Bauer is up to 95 career victories. He’s closing in fast on the triple-digit club.
Conrad Weiser (1-1) at Twin Valley (1-1): These former longtime Berks League rivals will clash in Elverson, both even-Steven at 1-1 apiece, and looking for more. Not sure if Weiser and TV can top last year’s meeting; the Raiders survived the Scouts 37-34 in OT. Still, Weiser leads the all-time series quite comfortably, 23-3. … Key stat: TV is giving up 427 yards a game, third-most in the league. … Key kids: Weiser DE Evan Miller (13 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT) and LB Sevon Parham (13 tackles, 1 sack) have been active defenders for the Scouts, although Weiser has yielded 483 passing yards, most in the league.
Daniel Boone (0-2) at Muhlenberg (1-1): Turns out DB QB Dean Rotter (shoulder) was good enough to go last Friday, but the Blazers came up on the short end of a 42-7 final at Conestoga Valley. The Muhls were feeling fine after dropping Octorara in Week 1. But they fell to rival Reading in the Battle of the Border trophy game last week. … Key stat: Muhls’ RB Giovanni Cavanna is averaging a lights-out 12.7 yards per carry (22-280) with three TD jaunts. … Key kid: DB RB Ethan Kryman rushed for 113 yards vs. CV last week. Muhlenberg’s D must be wary of him at all times. … And this: Cavanna’s shiny 12.7 yards per carry is tops among qualified backs in the L-L League.
Red Lion (2-0) at Reading (1-1): The Lions are back roaring again. After a 2-8 finish last year, they have wins over Ephrata and West York, and now they get a Red Knights’ outfit feeling better about things after prying the Battle of the Border trophy away from Muhlenberg — while picking up career victory No. 1 for rookie skipper Troy Godinet — last week. … Key stat: Reading’s D is yielding 187.5 yards a game — seventh-best in the league. … Key kids: RL QB Chris Price (20-for-31 for 286 yards, 3 TD passes) and RB LaDainian Strausbaugh (200 rushing yards, 2 TD) are making the Lions’ O tick.
Governor Mifflin (0-2) at Boyertown (1-1): A head-scratcher start for the Mustangs, who went from a 21-game regular-season unbeaten streak and back-to-back D3-5A title games, to a 0-2 start, with losses against Spring-Ford and Carlisle. Boyertown shredded Upper Perkiomen 61-0 in its opener, but fell behind Exeter 37-0 last week on the way to a lopsided loss. Mifflin leads this series by an 11-6 count. … Key stat: Mifflin has allowed 451 passing yards — third-most in the league. … Key kid: Boyertown RB Trey Yesavage had a pair of TD runs last week vs. Exeter. Mifflin must contain him. … And this: Mifflin is 0-2 for the first time since a 0-3 start in 2019. But the Mustangs rallied for eight straight wins that season, including a victory in the D3 playoffs. They’re hoping for a similar push this time around, starting here vs. the Bears.
Upper Perkiomen (1-1) at Fleetwood (1-1): What a difference a week makes. Upper Perk suffered that 61-0 beat-down against Boyertown, but rebounded quite nicely, dropping Schuylkill Valley last week to snap a 5-game losing slide. Meanwhile, the Tigers hung with Conrad Weiser before suffering a 28-21 setback, and would love to get back on track here after crunching Kutztown in Week 1. … Key stat: Good run-pass balance for Fleetwood; the Tigers have 306 rushing yards and 301 passing yards, and are averaging 303.5 yards a game. … Key kid: Fleetwood WR Mason Musitano is averaging a steady 16.6 yards per catch (9-149) with three TD grabs, tied for second-most in the league.
Eastern York (1-1) at Hamburg (2-0): The Hawks, who are cruising right along, were supposed to host Fairfield here, but the Knights (0-2) canceled the game on Wednesday because of a lack of healthy players. Hamburg was able to add a game on the fly, against the Golden Knights, who had a scheduled bye week. Ironically, EY just beat Fairfield 24-7 last Friday; according to reports, the Knights had just 19 players in uniform for that game. EY, which fell to Columbia 34-7 back in Week 1, handed rookie skipper Bud Kyle, the Crimson Tide's former coach, his first victory in the Fairfield game. The Golden Knights will get a smoking-hot Hawks’ outfit that is averaging 61 points and 381 yards a game, and is feeling fine after putting up a school-record 75 points last week against Warrior Run. Hamburg has scored 123 points, most in the L-L League. … Key stat: EY QB Austin Billet completed 12-of-19 passes for 167 yards with three TD passes, and he rushed for 63 yards on 15 keepers vs. Fairfield. Hamburg's D must keep tabs on the Golden Knights' multi-purpose threat. … Key kid: Two of Hamburg RB Ty Werley’s four catches out of the backfield have gone for scores. The Hawks have a staggering 18 touchdowns in eight quarters; 13 runs, three passes and two special teams scores, both by Pierce Mason.
Schuylkill Valley (0-2) at Susquenita (1-1): The Panthers are hitting the re-set button after that Upper Perk setback, when SV turned the ball over five agonizing times. The Blackhawks dropped their opener to West Perry, but came back nicely last week with a 42-0 drubbing over Biglerville. This series is tied up at 1-1; the Panthers and the Blackhawks met in Week 1 in 2014-15. Susquenita’s win was a 7-0 eke-it-out victory in 2015. … Key stat: SV is giving up 385.5 yards a game, most among Section 5 teams. … Key kid: A quick start for SV RB Dom Giuffre, who is averaging 8.0 yards per pop (31-247) with two TD runs.
Pottsville Nativity BVM (1-1) at Kutztown (0-2): The Green Wave, out of the Schuylkill League in D11 in Pottsville, will make the trek to Kutztown to clash with a Cougars’ club coming of consecutive setbacks. But Kutztown kept Fleetwood and York Tech honest, and is averaging nearly 250 yards a game; QB Jacob Lafferty rushed for 164 yards with three TD keepers last week vs. YT. Nativity leads this series 3-1; Kutztown’s win was in 2016 by a 27-13 count. … Key stat: Nativity has only rushed for 66 yards in two games, against Wyalusing Valley and Schuylkill Haven. … Key kids: QB Ben Kreitzer (394 passing yards, 4 TD tosses) and LB Devon Smith (19 tackles, 1 forced fumble) make the Green Wave go.
Manheim Township (1-1) at Harrisburg (1-0), 1 p.m.: The Blue Streaks and the Cougars clashed last fall in Neffsville, and Harrisburg eked out a 20-17 win in OT — on the way to winning the D3-6A championship. After a gut-punch Week 1 loss at Cumberland Valley, Township rallied for a 40-0 triumph over Dallastown last week, so the Streaks’ D is feeling it. Harrisburg socked Delaware Valley 32-3 in its opener; the Cougars only have nine games on their regular-season slate. … Key stat: Township’s D was razor-sharp against Dallastown; the Streaks held the Wildcats to 88 total yards and three first downs. … Key kid: MT LB Declan Clancy has a team-best 15 tackles, including one stick for a loss, for the Streaks. … And this: MT QB Hayden Johnson leads all L-L League signal-callers with 43 completions.
Berks Catholic (0-2) at Pope John Paul II (2-0), 1 p.m.: The Saints are itching to hit the W column after setbacks against Loyalsock and Executive Education Academy. They’ll go to Royersford to get a PJP squad that has wins over Archbishop Carroll and Father Judge. BC outlasted PJP 47-40 last fall, and the Saints lead the series 2-1. … Key stat: BC’s D is yielding 406.5 yards a game, third-most in the league. … Key kid: PJP RB Boyd Skarbeck rushed for 160 yards with three TD bolts vs. Archbishop Carroll. … And this: Berks Catholic is 0-2 for the first time since 2011, which was the second year of the program after Holy Name and Central Catholic merged.
Trinity (1-1) at Wyomissing (2-0), 1:30 p.m.: The Shamrocks ran into Roman Catholic — which drilled Wilson 46-15 in Week 1 — last week, and the Cahillites toppled Trinity 41-14, one week after the Shamrocks dropped Delone Catholic. The Trinity-Roman game was called midway through the fourth quarter because — according to reports — a scrum of some sort broke out on the sideline. Trinity LB Max Schlager had 11 tackles in the DC game, and keep an eye on Shamrocks’ freshman RB Messiah Mickens, who already has a scholarship offer from Texas A&M in his back pocket. Wyo is cruising; the Spartans have back-to-back 49-0 wins — over Kennard-Dale and Pottsville, and they’re the only team in D3 yet to allow a point this season — and they own the top-ranked D in the L-L League, giving up just 100 yards a game. … Key stat: Wyo has given up just 96 passing yards, fewest in the league. … Key kid: Wyo QB Ben Zechman — operating behind the Spartans’ behemoth O-line — has been nearly perfect: 9-for-12 for 259 yards with three TD tosses and no picks. His 156 passer efficiency rating is tops in the league.
Watch our roundup show after L-L League football media day last month ...