From the first day of heat acclimatization practice on Aug. 9, until the very last Lancaster-Lebanon League football team is still 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 …
More scrimmage previews to whet your palate:
1. Coatesville at Wilson, Aug. 21, 10 a.m. — A couple of Class 6A heavyweights will clash in West Lawn, where the Bulldogs will be zeroed in on getting plenty of reps at two key spots: O-line and QB. Wilson lost some major thumpers up front — O-line stalwarts C Greg Maus, OG Chase Walters and O-tackles Ethan Ashcroft and Matt Schurfer all graduated — with a pair of holdovers back in tow in Kyle Hassler and Jack Dendall. Everyone else will be a relative newbie along the line of scrimmage, so the quicker that group can come together, the better for the Bulldogs, who will have RB Jadyn Jones and RB Gavin Lenart back to run the ball behind that revamped unit. The QB starter is still hanging in the balance; Gannon Brubaker backed up Penn State recruit Kaleb Brown last fall, going 6-for-23 for 72 yards through the air, and Brubaker missed some time this summer with an injury. Brad Hoffman, a transfer from Berks Catholic, is also very much in the mix. He went 29-for-64 for 603 yards with eight TD tosses last season for the Saints, operating Berks Catholic’s Wing-T scheme. Hoffman has spent this summer beefing up his passing game while learning the intricacies of the Bulldogs’ spread attack. Coatesville is, well, Coatesville. The Red Raiders are coming off a jaw-dropping 5-year clip, where they posted a 53-9 record with a couple of state-playoff runs. There was a 13-2 campaign in 2017, with a loss to St. Joe’s Prep in states, and an unforgettable 15-1 ride in 2018, with a loss to Harrisburg in states. Former McCaskey assistant Matt Ortega is the coach. You remember his son, former all-stater Ricky Ortega, who is playing QB at Villanova. And there’s another Ortega son in Coatesville’s pipeline, and he’s being coached up by local QB whisperer Jim Cantafio — Wilson’s former coach. Should be some heavy duty hitting going on when Coatesville visits Wilson.
2. Donegal at Steel-High, Aug. 21, 9 a.m. — The Indians are diving right into the deep end with a matchup against the reigning PIAA Class 1A champions; the Rollers mined their third state gold trophy last fall, capping a 10-0 season with a 32-20 win over Jeannette on the big stage in Hershey. Donegal’s defense will get tested right out of the chute, particularly the Indians’ secondary, as Steel-High welcomes back QB Alex Erby for his much-anticipated sophomore season. A trio of areas to keep an eye on for Donegal when the Indians gas up the bus and head over to Steelton: It looks like Landen Baughman has the QB keys to Donegal’s Wing-T attack. He’ll start his on-the-fly, live-action maturation process against the state champs. Hello. Second, the Indians have some retooling to do up front after stalwarts Joel Grillo and Owen Kling graduated. Holdover trench types like C Owen Champ, OG Brandon Coco, OG Gavin Creek and O-tackles Casey Tippett and Brandon Witmer have to start getting on the same page. Pronto. Baughman must also take this opportunity to jive with his backfield mates, making the right reads while getting the football to runners like Ian Brown, Jon Holmes, Connor Hyle, Noah Rohrer and Cody Stough — who must take over the reins from reliable backs Garrett Blake and Mason Ober. Gotta believe facing a state-title team in August will only help Donegal moving forward, as the Indians very much plan on being players in the Section 3 hunt.
3. Kutztown at Annville-Cleona, Aug. 21, 6 p.m. — This will be the only evening/night kickoff on the L-L League scrimmage slate, so if you’re car-hopping around watching games, you can end your day in Annville. First, some good Kutztown news: The Cougars snapped their hair-pulling 35-game losing streak last year, teeing off on Shenandoah Valley 36-0 in their season finale for their first victory since 2016. So Kutztown, which will play at Pequea Valley in a Week 3 nonleague tilt, took some good vibes into the offseason. A-C’s top priority when Kutztown comes calling: Getting plenty of reps up front, where OG Josh Lindsay and C Ethan Schriver will have some new trench mates flanking them. The great news for the Dutchmen: QB Gavin Keller took ample snaps last fall, and the RB triumvirate of Rogan Harter, Chase Maguire and Alex Long are all set to return in A-C’s Veer attack. The Dutchmen would love to wedge their way back into the Section 4 race this time around. They can start building some mo here.