From the first day of heat acclimatization practice on Aug. 8, until the very last Lancaster-Lebanon League football team is still standing later this fall, we’ll bring you three L-L League gridiron facts on a daily basis to keep you in the loop about what’s happening around the league …
Putting a bow on the Week 3 previews. This time next week, teams will be prepped and ready to go for their much-anticipated head-to-head section openers, as the new-look L-L League really kicks it into another gear.
1. Octorara had to replace all-star safety man Mike Trainor in the secondary this season, and here’s a name to remember: Mason Colligan has stepped in and stepped up in the Braves’ DB rotation. He helped Octorara slay backyard rival Pequea Valley in the Brave Bowl trophy game last week, and he’s piled up eight tackles with a pick and a fumble recovery in two games. Colligan should be busy Friday when Octorara heads into the big city to take on undefeated Lancaster Catholic. The Crusaders feature wily vet QB Will Cranford, and Colligan and his DB mates will be tasked with slowing down sleek WR Jaevon Parker (team-best 8 catches) and TE Hudson Hess, who had three of his five receptions last week in Catholic’s win at Delone Catholic. And a heads-up to Octorara’s special teams units; the Crusaders have already returned two kickoffs for touchdowns this season — one by Parker and one by R.J. Gonzalez, as Catholic is 2-0 for the first time since 2019.
2. Donegal is jonesing to get in the W column after a 0-2 start, and the Indians are bringing up the rear in the L-L League in team defense, allowing nearly 430 yards a game. That’s pretty uncharacteristic for this bunch. Donegal will make a road trip to Palmyra on Friday, where the Indians must keep tabs on Cougars’ RB Juan Figueroa. Back in Week 1, Figueroa rushed for 157 yards and he scored both of Palmyra’s touchdowns in the Cougars’ 14-6 triumph over Lebanon. Gut-hunch is that Donegal’s D is going to find its groove sooner rather than later — there’s way too much returning talent on that side of the ball in Mount Joy — and keep an eye on a 3-pack of Indians’ linebackers to swarm vs. Palmyra: Noah Rohrer (19 tackles, 3 for losses, 1 forced fumble), Cooper Miller (11 tackles, 1 fumble recovery) and Jon Holmes (10 tackles) are vet ball-hawkers. With Lampeter-Strasburg on deck in the Section 4 opener next week, Donegal would love a dub — and especially a better D effort — against the Cougars.
3. Of all the nutty stats that jumped off the page last Friday in Manheim Central’s crazy 44-43 OT win against Immaculata (New Jersey) this number might have stood out the most: MC LB Nick Haas piled up 17 tackles, and he picked off a pass for good measure. The Barons will need Haas’ tackle-making abilities on Friday, when old pal Cocalico pays a visit to Manheim to pop the lid on their juicy rivalry. The Eagles shredded Warwick for 354 rushing yards in their Week 1 win over the Warriors, and Cocalico has piled up 550 rushing yards in two games. It’s been business as usual in that department for the Eagles. Central knows all about the Eagles’ vaunted Veer, and despite giving up some chunk yardage vs. Immaculata, the Barons’ rush D is still third-best among Section 2 squads in the early going. Gotta believe you’ll hear Haas’ name called early and often Friday, when the Eagles and the Barons — oh my, indeed — lock horns.