Here are five must-see individual matchups you’ll want to watch when L-L League football teams hit the field for the second week of District 3 playoff action:
Lampeter-Strasburg at York Suburban: With QB injuries hampering the Pioneers — Sean McTaggart (knee) has missed the entire season, and now 1,000-yard passer Conner Nolt (ankle) is on the shelf — L-S went ground-and-pound last week vs. Elco, with Bryan McKim (1,111 yards, 15 TDs) and Alex Knapp (568 yards, 6 TDs) leading the way. Here are three Suburban defenders to keep an eye on: LB Dermot Pogson (50 tackles, 3 sacks), DT Devante Embrey-Banks (27 tackles, 9 for losses, 12 QB hurries, 4 sacks) and DB David Moye (8 INT, 2 pass breakups) make the Trojans’ D tick, and they’ll try and put the clamps on L-S’s spread scheme. … And this: Undefeated Suburban has 22 takeaways, including 15 interceptions. They’ll be zeroed-in on Berkeley Wagner (8-for-10 for 80 yards, 1 TD) and Logan Bradley (2-for-3 for 8 yards), who shared the QB duties for L-S last week, in the Pioneers’ 34-7 win over Elco. … Suburban, which drew a first-round bye, is back in the D3 playoffs for the first time in three years. The Trojans’ last D3 playoff game? A 48-0 loss in the 4A quarters against — ta-da — L-S, back in 2016.
Warwick at Manheim Central: In their nonleague meeting earlier this season, the Warriors chalked up 439 yards — including 290 through the air by QB Joey McCracken — in their 37-7 win over the Barons. Safe to say Central’s defense will need an inspired effort in the rematch, meaning DB Owen Pappas (84 tackles, 3 fumble recoveries) and LB Maliki Rivera (81 tackles, 8.5 sacks) must help keep McCracken (2,510 passing yards, 25 TDs), RB Colton Miller (1,094 yards, 26 TDs) and Warwick’s high-powered offense — averaging 390 yards and 38 points a game — in check. … And this: This is the first time Warwick and Central, which are neighboring school districts, will clash in a D3 playoff game. Starting next season, the Warriors and Barons will be Section 2 rivals when the L-L League goes to four sections.
Governor Mifflin at Cocalico: Mustangs’ blue-chip RB Nick Singleton leads all Berks County backs with 1,669 rushing yards and 31 total touchdowns, so the Eagles’ defense — which held Mifflin to 203 total yards in their 26-14 nonleague victory over the Mustangs earlier this season — must keep him in their cross-hairs. Cocalico ‘backers Tyler Angstadt (72 tackles, 4.5 for losses, 1 forced fumble) and Luke Angstadt (58 tackles, 2 for losses) need a big wrap-and-tackle night vs. Singleton and the Mustangs’ run-heavy attack. ... FYI: Singleton, a sophomore, already has scholarship offers from Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse and Virginia Tech. … And this: In their nonleague clash back in Week 3, Singleton rushed for 105 yards and two scores — and Mifflin had 149 total rushing yards — but Cocalico won the game, 26-14. That loss dropped the Mustangs to 0-3, but they’ve bounced back strong with eight wins in a row, including a 54-14 romp over Northern York in a D3-5A first-rounder, and won the Berks Division I title with a 6-0 league record. … This is the first time Cocalico and Mifflin will square off in a D3 playoff game.
Central Dauphin at Manheim Township: The Rams’ offense will try and solve the Blue Streaks’ gnarly defense, which is yielding just 129 yards a game with 552 rushing yards allowed — plus 25 takeaways. CD RB Timmy Smith (809 yards, 8 TDs) is a reliable back, so keep an eye on a pair of Township ball-hawkers in DE Ben Mann (47 tackles, 11 for losses, 5 sacks, 2 QB hurries, 2 fumble recoveries) and LB Bryce Casey (39 tackles, 12 for losses, 5.5 sacks) to apply pressure off the edge. … And this: In their nonleague meeting back in Week 3, Township’s D held CD to 132 yards and nine first downs in a nip-and-tuck 10-7 win; Jackson Wright’s 27-yard field goal with a minute to go won it for the Streaks. … This is the sixth time MT and CD will lock horns in a D3 playoff game; Township won in 2007 and 2017, but the Rams have victories in 2012, 2016 and last year, a 27-0 6A semifinal-round win in Neffsville.
Annville-Cleona at Wyomissing: The undefeated Spartans have gouged out 3,343 rushing yards so far this season, with Max Hurleman (1,042 yards, 17 TDs), Evan Niedrowski (491 yards, 14 TDs) and Jevin Tranquillo (486 yards, 9 TDs) all doing major damage. Enter A-C’s swarming linebacker corps — Dan Tobias (132 tackles, 5 for losses, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery, 1 forced fumble), Romeo Varela (102 tackles, 6 for losses, 1 sack, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 QB hurries) and Chase Maguire (68 tackles, 12 for losses, 4 sacks, 2 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery, 1 forced fumble) — who need to help bottle up Wyo’s run-happy backs. … And this: A-C’s defense is giving up 350 yards a game, and the Dutchmen have yielded 1,932 rushing yards. … This is the first time A-C and Wyo will get together in the D3 playoffs.