Hayden Johnson (copy)

Hayden Johnson (9) of Manheim Township passes against Hempfield during L-L League Week 8 action on Oct. 15, 2021.

And just like that — snap! — the finish-line Week 10 games have arrived. And there’s a lot going on, so pay attention.

Four teams have clinched no worse than a tie for section championships, and Wilson, Cocalico, Lampeter-Strasburg and Columbia need victories on Friday to capture solo crowns.

The District 3 playoff chase also reaches the finish line this weekend, and multiple Lancaster-Lebanon League teams are safely inside the bubble, while a couple of squads are hovering dangerously close to the cut line.

Previewing Friday’s Week 10 slate, with plenty of section-title and district-playoff implication information scattered in there for good measure. All games begin at 7 p.m. …


Manheim Township (3-1 league, 6-3 overall) at Wilson (4-0, 6-3): If the Blue Streaks want a piece of the section championship pie, they’ll need to ride into West Lawn and beat the Bulldogs on their home turf. No easy task there, but Township did win at Wilson back in 2019. The Bulldogs clinched no worse than a tie for the title with a gut-check win last week at Hempfield, and Wilson leads the series 38-10-1, including an escape-job 31-28 victory last year. Township’s last win: The aforementioned 30-14 dub in West Lawn in 2019. In that game, Township WR Anthony Ivey caught eight passes for an L-L League single-game record 292 receiving yards with two TD receptions. Key kid: Wilson RB Jadyn Jones has scooted for 301 yards with three TD runs in the last two games. Township can’t let him get his legs churning. And this: MT QB Hayden Johnson leads the league in pass completions (151) and he’s second in the L-L in passing yards (1,840) and TD tosses (24). Stat fact: All three of Township’s setbacks are by exactly three narrow points; the Streaks have losses against Dallastown (41-38), Harrisburg (20-17 in OT) and Hempfield (17-14). FYI: MT WR Anthony Ivey feature story.

Hempfield (2-2, 5-4) at Penn Manor (1-3, 5-4): The Battle of 462 traveling trophy will be up for grabs in Millersville; the Black Knights won the inaugural trophy clash with a 40-7 triumph last year, and Hempfield is right on the bubble for a D3-6A playoff spot and will need a win — and likely some help — to make the postseason. The Comets have already clinched their first non-losing campaign since 2014, and they’ll try and pry the 462 trophy away from their backyard rivals. Hempfield has won six games in a row in the series; Penn Manor’s last victory was 24-17 in 2014. Key kid: Hempfield safety Brian Williams had six tackles and a fumble recovery last week vs. Wilson. And this: Hempfield has flexed its muscles defensively to the tune of the fourth-ranked D in the league at 252 yards a game.

McCaskey (0-4, 2-7) at Cedar Crest (2-2, 4-4): Pride on the line in Lebanon, where the Red Tornado is out to snap a 5-game slide and the host Falcons are looking to close out their section slate with a winning record. Cedar Crest is 3-0 in the series since coming back up from Section 2, including a 27-11 dub last year. Key kid: CC WR Nolan Groff had five catches for 205 yards with three TD grabs last week vs. Penn Manor. McCaskey’s secondary must be wary of Mr. Groff. And this: McCaskey has allowed 1,556 passing yards, second-most in the league. FYI: McCaskey’s Bobby Lischner feature story.



Cocalico (4-0, 6-3) at Manheim Central (3-1, 8-1): It’s the juiciest rivalry going in Lancaster County, and the Eagles have already clinched at least a tie for the section title. The Barons can get a piece of the crown with a win here, and Central is 4-2 in the last six meetings, including a victory over Cocalico in the 2018 D3-5A finale. The Eagles won last year 35-19 for their first win in the series since 2016. Key kid: MC LB Kahlen Watt (69 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 5 INT) has returned three picks for touchdowns, and he popped a punt return for a score last week vs. Elizabethtown. And this: Cocalico features the No. 1 rushing attack in the league — 2,828 ground yards, and RB Anthony Bourassa leads the league with 1,725 rushing yards and 21 TD rumbles — and Central owns the best rushing defense in the L-L with just 867 ground yards against. Unstoppable force, say hello to immovable object. Stat fact: Cocalico has allowed 1,856 passing yards, most in the league. Fun fact: Even though Cocalico drops down to Section 4 next fall when the 13 Berks County League teams come aboard to form a 37-team, 5-section power conference, this rivalry will not end; Central and Cocalico have committed to playing a nonleague game early in the season in the next 2-year schedule cycle. FYI: Cocalico RB Anthony Bourassa feature story.

Warwick (3-1, 5-4) at Conestoga Valley (1-3, 3-6): The Warriors need a win to solidify their seed in the D3-5A bracket, while the Buckskins are looking to snap a 3-game slide, which includes shutout setbacks in their last two games. It’s been a bumpy stretch for the Bucks, who are dealing with injuries. Warwick has won five straight in the series, including a 41-0 victory last year. CV’s last win was 34-29 in 2015, when the Bucks and the Warriors were Section 1 foes. Key kid: Warwick RB Christian Royer (171-875, 15 TD) has the ability to control this game with his feet and his shoulder-lowering ability. And this: Warwick WR Cooper Eckert leads the league in receptions (57) and receiving yards (893). FYI: Solanco forfeited its Week 8 section game to Warwick, setting up this scenario: If Warwick beats CV and if Central beats Cocalico, the Warriors, Barons and Eagles would all share the section championship. Stay tuned.

Solanco (1-3, 3-6) at Elizabethtown (0-4, 3-6): The Golden Mules are feeling better about things after blanking Conestoga Valley 37-0 last week, and they’ll get a hungry Bears’ outfit that has lost four in a row and is itching for some positive results. Solanco is 3-2 in the last five meetings, including a 29-22 victory last year. The last five games have been close; E-town won 45-44 in 2018 after Solanco picked up a 28-27 double-OT win in 2017. Key kid: Solanco LB Jon Revolorio-Morales (40 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble) returned a pick for a TD last week vs. CV. And this: E-town has rushed for 887 yards, third-fewest in the league; Solanco has yielded 874 passing yards, fourth-fewest in the league.  



Lebanon (0-4, 0-9) at Lampeter-Strasburg (5-0, 8-1): The Cedars are back on the field after forfeiting last week’s game to Donegal because of coronavirus issues. The rampaging Pioneers have clinched no worse than a tie for their second straight section flag, and they’ll clinch it outright with a win here as L-S goes for its ninth victory in a row. The Pioneers beat the Cedars 42-20 last year. Key kid: L-S RB Giovanni Malatesta (77-472, 7 TD) averages 6.1 yards a carry, and he had three TD runs last week vs. Ephrata. And this: L-S sports the top-ranked defense in the league at 196 yards a game, and the Pioneers have 50 tackles for losses, 38 QB hurries and 20 takeaways — plus three shutout victories.

Lancaster Catholic (1-3, 4-5) at Donegal (2-1, 6-2): Plenty riding on this game, as the Crusaders and the Indians are both in line to snare D3 playoff spots, Catholic in 3A and Donegal in 4A. The Indians are back on the field after receiving a forfeit win from Lebanon last week. The Crusaders are 4-1 in the last five meetings; Donegal won 13-7 last fall. Key kid: Donegal RB Jon Holmes (52-441) is averaging 8.5 yards a carry with five TD sprints. And this: Donegal has allowed 988 rushing yards, third-fewest in the league. FYI: LC P-K Daniel Mueller makes verbal pledge to Villanova.

Ephrata (2-2, 5-4) at Garden Spot (2-1, 3-5): Last week’s setback against L-S all but knocked the Mountaineers out of the D3-5A playoff chase, as Ephrata was efforting for its first postseason trip since 1987. The Spartans’ offense continues to chug with some great run-pass balance for 327 yards a game. Ephrata beat Garden Spot 21-10 last year. Key kid: In the last two games, Ephrata WR Jeremiah Knowles has 11 catches for 240 yards with three TD grabs, plus an 88-yard kickoff return for a TD. Garden Spot has seven interceptions — five by DB Derrick Lambert — so keep an eye on that coverage matchup. And this: Andre Weidman — the league’s second-leading rusher with 1,247 yards and 17 TD — has been held to 74 total yards in the last two games. He’s due for a breakout game. Garden Spot is allowing 177 rushing yards a game, by the way. FYI: Ephrata’s Andre Weidman feature story. … FYI: GS K Walker Martin feature story.


Pequea Valley (0-4, 1-7) at Columbia (4-0, 7-1): The Braves can throw an oily monkey wrench into things if they can pull off an upset here, but it will be a tough task against the Crimson Tide, which has clinched no worse than a tie for its first section banner since 2002. Columbia gets it outright with a win, and the Tide will flash its red-hot offense against PV; Columbia is at 433 yards a game, No. 2 in the league. The Tide has won three in a row in the series, including a 44-23 victory last year. The Braves’ last win: 55-21 in 2017. Key kid: PV QB Peyton Temple (60-of-140 for 784 yards, 8 TD) has to help the Braves hog the ball and play keep-away from the Tide’s high-octane, quick-strike offense. And this: PV has given up 2,153 rushing yards, most in the league. Columbia prefers the friendly skies; QB Robert Footman leads the league in passing yards (2,406) and TD throws (27). One of his favorite targets, freshman WR Dominic Diaz-Ellis, leads the league with nine TD grabs. FYI: Columbia QB Robert Footman feature story.

Octorara (3-1, 7-2) at Northern Lebanon (1-3, 4-5): The Braves need a win and for Pequea Valley to shock Columbia to get a piece of the section title. Octorara also sits squarely on the cut-line in the D3-4A playoff chase, and a win here should send the Braves to the postseason for the first time as D3 members; Octorara had a D1 playoff trip back in 2014 when it was in the Ches-Mont League. The Vikings, in search of a .500 season and hovering around the cut-line in D3-3A, could make Octorara sweat it out with a victory, and a win would help NL’s postseason chances. The Braves are 3-0 against the Vikings since joining the league, including a 39-6 win last fall. Key kid: NL DE Mitchell Hetrick had two fumble recoveries for touchdowns last week vs. PV, including a 30-yard scoop and run return for a score. And this: After piling up 504 rushing yards and 634 total yards in a win over Annville-Cleona last week, Octorara now owns the league’s top-ranked offense with 441 yards a game. FYI: Octorara’s Mike Trainor feature story. … FYI: NL’s Kalani Adams feature story.

Elco (2-2, 3-5) at Annville-Cleona (2-2, 3-5): Old-school rivals will collide in Annville, where a pair of punishing ground attacks will do battle. The Dutchmen are still hanging around in the D3-3A playoff mix, and a win would improve their postseason chances. A-C is 3-2 in the last five meetings, but Elco has won two in a row, including a 40-10 triumph last year. Key kid: Elco RB Luke Williams (185-1,200, 12 TD) had a mammoth 45-carry, 206-yard night last week vs. Columbia. And this: A-C has yielded 2,010 rushing yards, second-most in the league. On the flip-side, the Dutchmen have rushed for 2,393 yards, second-most in the league. FYI: A-C’s Alex Long feature story.

TWITTER: @JeffReinhart77

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