Here are five must-see individual matchups you’ll want to watch when L-L League football teams hit the field for Week 4 games ...
Conestoga Valley at Lampeter-Strasburg: It’s the annual Lampeter Bowl backyard rivalry scrap, and the Pioneers’ defense must tangle with the Buckskins’ red-hot passing attack. CV QB Bradley Stoltzfus has back-to-back 200-yard passing games — his 59 completions lead the league, and he’s thrown for 663 yards and 6 TD’s overall — and Zach Fisher and Derek Ulishney have 17 catches apiece for the Bucks. So all eyes on L-S’s secondary in this matchup: Jacob Kopelman (7 tackles, 4 pass breakups, 1 INT), Logan Bradley (12 tackles, 2 pass breakups, 2 INT), Alex Knapp (3 tackles, 2 pass breakups) and Matt Weese (9 tackles, 2 pass breakups) must drape the Bucks’ receivers and keep Stoltzfus guessing. L-S has allowed a league-low 109 rushing yards, and the Pioneers must also keep tabs on CV breakaway back Booper Johnson (235 yards, 2 TD). But those DB’s will be tested by CV’s air attack, no doubt. ... FYI: Don't forget, this is a 7:30 p.m. kickoff in Lampeter. It will be Hall of Fame Night for L-S, and they're allowing for some extra time for the ceremonies.
Octorara at Elco: Raiders’ dual-threat Braden Bohannon leads all Section 3 quarterbacks with 323 rushing yards, including a 118-yard effort last week against Lancaster Catholic. That means a busy night for the Braves’ D-line, which must fill the gaps and not let Bohannon shake free. Look for Octorara LB Colby Wrigley (27 tackles, 1 1/2 sacks) and D-end Aidan Ross (6 tackles, 1 1/2 sacks) to keep tabs on Bohannon and Elco’s Veer attack. Octorara’s defense is certainly feeling good about things; the Braves are coming off a 35-0 win over Northern Lebanon, for the program’s first shutout victory since 2011. And Octorara’s D is fifth-best in the L-L, allowing just 239 yards a game.
Cedar Crest at McCaskey: The Red Tornado’s defense has been gashed for 840 rushing yards, and the Falcons feature durable RB Tyler Cruz, who has 405 yards and six touchdowns. McCaskey must disrupt Cedar Crest’s ground attack, so keep an eye on hard-charging Tornado D-end Ben Desmarais to apply pressure off the edge. He had a fumble return for a TD earlier this season, and he can blow up plays in the backfield. McCaskey will certainly need it; the Tornado’s losing streak is up to 10 games in a row.
Garden Spot at Solanco: The Spartans’ top priority is corralling the Golden Mules’ powerful triple-option running attack, with the league’s leading rusher, FB Nick Yannutz, and shifty QB Grady Unger both doing plenty of damage. Unger has back-to-back 100-yard efforts as Solanco has gouged out 877 rushing yards, second-most in the league. Garden Spot LB Aiden McCloud (11 tackles) and D-tackle Luke Shirk (7 tackles) must be run-stuffers against the Mules, as the Spartans look to snap this maddening 17-game losing streak.
Ephrata at Lancaster Catholic: It’s a Section 3 first-place showdown, and the Crusaders must find a way to cool off the Mountaineers’ smoldering-hot offense, which lit up Annville-Cleona for 648 yards in a 58-26 win last week. Catholic’s D has been stingy, with just 221 rushing yards against, and the Crusaders are allowing just 273 yards a game. They’ll likely lean on Swiss army knife Andrew Miklos to attack from all over the place on defense, and try and limit Ephrata QB Caden Keefer, who passed for 380 yards and four scores against A-C.