Here are five must-see individual matchups you’ll want to watch when L-L League football teams hit the field for Week 8 games:
Solanco at Lampeter-Strasburg: It’s the 10th annual Milk Jug trophy game between these backyard rivals, and the Pioneers’ defense — second-best in the league, allowing 194 yards a game — will be tested by the Golden Mules’ powerful rushing attack. Solanco has a league-best 2,394 ground yards, and FB Nick Yannutz is the league’s top rusher (148-1,026, 13 TDs). Keep an eye on busy-body L-S LB Jake Hines (39 tackles, 7 for losses, 3 sacks, 11 QB hurries, 2 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery) to swarm and try and keep Yannutz under wraps. … And this: L-S leads the Milk Jug trophy series 6-3, although Solanco won last year, 48-27 in Quarryville.
Donegal at Annville-Cleona: The Indians are looking to bounce back after losing grip of sole possession of first place in the Section 3 chase last week, and they’ll need an inspired defensive effort against the run-heavy, Veer-schemed Little Dutchmen. Donegal rugged run-stuffer DT A.J. McCarty (36 tackles, 8 for losses, 2 sacks, 1 pass breakup) can fill gaps with the best of them, and he’ll be called upon to do so early and often against A-C. … And this: A wicked closing stretch for the Dutchmen, who get tri-leader Donegal on Friday, and then travel to scorching-hot Elco in Week 9, before finishing up with tri-leader Lebanon at home in Week 10.
Cedar Crest at Manheim Township: The Blue Streaks will be going for an 8-0 getaway — they are 7-0 for the first time since 1977, by the way — and they’ll have to stop Falcons’ bullish RB Tyler Cruz to do so. Cruz (176-1,018, 14 TDs) is second in the league in rushing and carries, while Township is No. 1 in the L-L League in team defense (157 yards a game against) and rush D (386 rushing yards against). Cruz had a 323-yard game vs. Hempfield back in Week 5 himself. Streaks’ twin ‘backers Josh Emge (31 tackles, 3 for losses, 1 sack, 1 QB hurry, 1 pass breakup) and Sam Emge (24 tackles, 3 for losses, 1 QB hurry) can crash the backfield with the best of them, and they’ll be zeroed-in on Cruz. … And this: Cedar Crest took Township to OT last year before the Streaks prevailed 16-10 in Lebanon, on the way to splitting the Section 1 crown with Warwick and Wilson.
Warwick at Wilson: The Warriors’ high-powered offense hiccuped last week in a setback against Manheim Township — in fact, they dipped from first in the league to fourth in the league in that category — so Warwick will be looking to re-fire its jets against the Bulldogs, who are allowing just 261 yards a game. And Wilson has yielded just 439 rushing yards, second-fewest in the league. Look for Bulldogs’ LB Anthony Koper (40 tackles, 2 for losses) to bring pressure and try and disrupt the Warriors’ attack, which is still a force, despite last week’s result vs. Township. … And this: Last fall, Warwick beat Wilson for the first time since 2007, and QB Joey McCracken set an L-L League record with 530 passing yards — on just 11 completions — in the game. Trey Glass had 260 receiving yards that night, a single-game league record until Manheim Township’s Anthony Ivey had 292 receiving yards two weeks ago against … Wilson.
Octorara at Columbia: Crimson Tide QB Matt McCleary has attempted 216 passes, most in the league, so the Braves’ defense should know what’s coming in this Section 3 clash. Keep an eye on Octorara safety Jansen Schempp (26 tackles, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery) to help out in coverage against Columbia’s stable of receivers, who must go up against a stingy Braves’ secondary that has allowed a league-low 372 passing yards. … And this: McCleary has a league-leading 1,875 passing yards, so he’ll need 125 air yards to hit 2,000 this season.