There will be several veteran sure-handed wide receivers and tight ends on display later this fall, when another season of Lancaster-Lebanon League football commences.
With summer camps and offseason workouts at full throttle, we counted 30 receivers who had 15 or more catches in 2018 due back in L-L huddles this coming season.
We’ll list those returning receivers here, by most receptions last fall, and then break them down. So keep reading …
Trey Glass, rising senior, Warwick — 72 catches for 1,331 yards, 18.5 avg., 15 TD
Luke Pierson, rising junior, E-town — 40 catches for 635 yards, 15.9 avg., 5 TD
Ryan Redding, rising junior, Columbia — 40 catches for 524 yards, 13.1 avg., 2 TD
Brett Benjamin, rising senior, Manheim Township — 37 catches for 595 yards, 16.1 avg., 4 TD
Alex Rufe, rising junior, Lebanon — 32 catches for 536 yards, 16.8 avg., 6 TD
Tucker Parmer, rising senior, Ephrata — 31 catches for 437 yards, 14.1 avg., 4 TD
Colby Wagner, rising senior, Manheim Central — 26 catches for 832 yards, 32.0 avg., 12 TD
Terrance Elliott, rising senior, Columbia — 25 catches for 404 yards, 16.2 avg., 5 TD
Austin Stoltzfus, rising junior, L-S — 22 catches for 324 yards, 14.7 avg., 0 TD
Ben Wagner, rising senior, Manheim Central — 22 catches for 449 yards, 20.4 avg., 4 TD
Demetrius Diaz-Ellis, rising junior, Columbia — 21 catches for 509 yards, 24.2 avg., 7 TD
Jansen Schempp, rising senior, Octorara — 21 catches for 287 yards, 13.7 avg., 3 TD
Jackson Shand, rising senior, Hempfield — 21 catches for 212 yards, 10.1 avg., 2 TD
Brady Gibble, rising senior, Wilson — 21 catches for 446 yards, 21.2 avg., 9 TD
Matt Fry, rising senior, Wilson — 20 catches for 229 yards, 11.5 avg., 3 TD
Sam Knowles, rising senior, Ephrata — 20 catches for 323 yards, 16.2 avg., 4 TD
Mickey Stokes, rising senior, Manheim Township — 19 catches for 281 yards, 14.8 avg., 5 TD
Darnell Tucker, rising junior, Columbia — 19 catches for 265 yards, 14.0 avg., 1 TD
Nate Leedy-Reidel, rising senior, Northern Lebanon — 18 catches for 262 yards, 14.6 avg., 3 TD
Alex Folmer, rising senior, Northern Lebanon — 17 catches for 173 yards, 10.2 avg., 1 TD
Cole Miller, rising senior, Cedar Crest — 17 catches for 367 yards, 21.6 avg., 2 TD
Luke Miller, rising senior, Hempfield — 17 catches for 142 yards, 8.4 avg., 0 TD
Anthony Ivey, rising sophomore, Manheim Township — 17 catches for 265 yards, 15.6 avg., 1 TD
Erik Williams, rising senior, Elco — 17 catches for 288 yards, 16.9 avg., 6 TD
Tyler Long, rising senior, Annville-Cleona — 16 catches for 318 yards, 19.9 avg., 3 TD
Chris Rios, rising senior, Cedar Crest — 16 catches for 224 yards, 14.0 avg., 2 TD
Michael Finger, rising senior, Pequea Valley — 15 catches for 169 yards, 11.3 avg., 0 TD
Derek Ulishney, rising senior, Conestoga Valley — 15 catches for 236 yards, 15.7 avg., 1 TD
Two of those players entered last season listed as a full-time tight end on their team’s respective depth chart: CV’s Cardina and Elco’s Williams. Everyone else was listed as a wide receiver heading into 2018. … Octorara’s Schempp shared the QB duties with Nick Mattingly. Schempp and Mattingly played wideout when they weren’t behind center for the Braves. … Mattingly was a Section Three all-star selection at wideout; he had eight catches for 180 yards (22.5 yards per grab) with a pair of TD receptions. … Three more rising-senior tight ends to mention here for sure: Manheim Township’s Ben Mann (7-107, 15.3 avg., 2 TD), who recently committed to Yale, Lancaster Catholic multi-purpose threat Andrew Miklos, who is beginning to pile up some scholarship offers of his own, and Octorara’s Matt Keating (14-164, 11.7 avg., 3 TD) were all L-L all-star selections last fall, and will be key targets for their respective squads this season.
As for the section-by-section breakdown …
* It’s a good news/bad news scenario for Warwick, which is coming off a 9-win season and the program’s first District Three playoff victory. The good news: Glass, who shattered a slew of records last fall, is set to return for his senior season. The bad news: Glass suffered a knee injury in the Warriors’ D3-5A quarterfinal-round setback at Cedar Cliff, and he’s still on the road to recovery. Warwick opens up with Ephrata, Garden Spot and Manheim Central before getting into Section One play. No word just yet when Glass will return to the Warriors’ lineup. But with gunslinger QB Joey McCracken back for his much-anticipated junior season, Warwick is going to need Glass, who set the school’s single-season mark with 72 catches, 1,331 receiving yards and 15 TD grabs last year. And in Warwick’s league win over Wilson, when McCracken set the L-L record with 530 passing yards, Glass had five catches for an L-L-record 261 receiving yards. … We already told you that Manheim Township is in good shape with QB Harrison Kirk and RB Jaden Floyd back in the fold. And the news only gets better for the Streaks, with Benjamin, Stokes, Ivey and Mann all due back as pass-catching threats. Ivey had a breakout ninth-grade season last fall, doing damage on the flanks and in special teams. He’s a burner with skills aplenty, and folks are already noticing: Ivey has scholarship offers from Virginia Tech and West Virginia in his back pocket, and he’s yet to play a game in his sophomore season. Meanwhile, Benjamin and Stokes are super-reliable hands guys, who run good routes and just make catches. Gut hunch: If Township’s O-line holds up, the Streaks are going to do some serious damage on offense in the coming months. … Wilson, which shared the Section One title with Township and Warwick last fall, also has a pair of sure-handed wideouts due back in Gibble and Fry. Gibble averaged more than 21 yards per catch last year, so he’s a serious home-run threat. We’re anxious to see who wins the Bulldogs’ QB job after Anthony Futrick graduated. … Cedar Crest will also have a pair of wideouts back in the fold in Miller and Rios. Tack on RB Tyler Cruz, and the Falcons are ahead of the curve in the skill-department category. But Cedar Crest must replace dual-threat QB Logan Horn, and that won’t be easy. … Hempfield also returns a pair of receivers: Shand has size and can go up and get it in traffic, and Miller can go over the middle in the Knights’ option-oriented scheme. They’ll benefit from the return of QB Colin Peters, who already has a good rapport with those guys. Will Hempfield miss burner Darien Ressler? Yes. But there are some pieces back on the flanks in Landisville.
* The leading receiver from Section Two is due back this fall, and that’s Pierson at E-town. The Bears were fantastic through the air in 2018, with Cole Patrick winging darts all over the lot. He had a pair of 400-yard efforts to get the season going, and pretty much every skill kid in E-town’s huddle joined in on the fun — including Pierson, who had 40 grabs last year. No Patrick this time around, so we’re anxious to see who wins the Bears’ QB derby and steps into Patrick’s big shoes come late August. Whoever it is will have Pierson at his disposal, and that’s a good start. … Great news for Manheim Central: Yes, the Barons will have Rutgers recruit Evan Simon back at QB for his much-anticipated senior season. And he’ll have a pair of veteran wideouts at his disposal in twin brothers Colby and Ben Wagner, who both averaged more than 20 yards per catch last season, when Central successfully defended its Section Two and D3-5A titles and went to the PIAA championship tilt. Colby averaged a jaw-dropping 32 yards per catch (with a dozen TD grabs) and Ben was at 20 yards per reception. They can both beat you in special teams, too. … Ulishney return to the flanks for CV, giving the Bucks a vet playmaking trio that includes QB Bradley Stoltzfus and RB Booper Johnson. … With rising junior QB Sean McTaggart back taking snaps, we’re expecting big things from L-S’s offense. McTaggart will have one of his favorite targets, Stoltzfus, at his disposal to trigger the Pioneers’ passing attack.
* Section Three will have 13 receivers who had 15 or more catches last fall back in the saddle this season. Who has the most returning flank talent? That would be Columbia, which won three games last fall, flirted with a late-season playoff push, and had everyone’s attention. Redding (who was listed as a TE in the postseason all-star balloting), Elliott, Diaz-Ellis and Tucker are all due back in Tide camp, giving QB Matt McCleary a stable of vet receivers to work with. That foursome combined for 105 receptions and 15 TD grabs last season. Opposing DB’s beware: Columbia won't be shy about going up top. … Ephrata, fresh off a 5-win season and looking for more, returns a pair of sure-handed wideouts in Parmer and Knowles, who have vet QB Caden Keefer to play pitch and catch with. … Here us now and believe us in late October: Northern Lebanon, which came back to the pack with a 1-9 finish last season, is going to get things turned around and will be a factor in the Section Three race this fall. QB Ethan Borcky returns, and he’ll have Leedy-Reidel and Folmer back on the flanks to work with. … We’re also anxious for this combo: Lebanon QB Isaiah Rodriguez throwing to Rufe, who had a breakout sophomore season in 2018 with 36 receptions. FYI: Rodriguez will be in New Orleans over the weekend (along with Cedar Crest QB Chris Danz) participating in the prestigious Manning Passing Academy camp. Cedars’ skipper Gerry Yonchiuk is working the camp, which will feature some of the top college signal-callers dropping by as counselors. … Elco is heavy on the ground-and-pound, but when QB Braden Bohannon goes up top, Williams from his TE spot is a heck of a target; he had six TD grabs last season, and he’ll give Bohannon an excellent red-zone option. … A-C’s Long has football in his genes — daddy Tommy Long was a stud RB at Lebanon Catholic back in his prep days — and he gives the Dutchmen a home-run threat on the outside. He averaged nearly 20 yards a catch with three TD catches last fall, for a team that rarely goes up top. Perhaps returning QB Junior Bours will look deep for Long a little more often this time around? … We’re anxious to see what changes new skipper Jeff Werner brings to Pequea Valley this season. In Finger, the Braves have a scrappy flank threat who can beat you deep, and he’s not afraid to go over the middle.
Tomorrow: We’ll wrap up this series with the top returning defensive players, linemen and specialists in the L-L League.