2019 Warwick at Garden Spot Football

Caleb Schmitz (34) of Warwick gives a stiff arm to Bryce Mercer (55) of Garden Spot during Week 2 L-L League high school football action at Garden Spot High School Stadium in New Holland on Friday, August 30, 2019.

Previewing the L-L League Section 2 teams, which are listed alphabetically ...

COCALICO EAGLES

PIAA: Class 4A

Coach: Bryan Strohl (1st season)

2019: 5-1 Section 2, 11-3 overall

Base offense: Flexbone

Base defense: 4-3

Key players returning: LB Luke Angstadt, LB Tyler Angstadt, OT-DE Ben Bearinger, WR-DB Casey Bernhard, DB Cole Boyer, OT Ryan Brubaker, OG-DT Chuckie Drain, RB-DB Steven Flinton, K Alex Mellinger, QB-DB Carson Nash, C Jared Stauffer, RB Micah Ulysse, RB-LB Austin Vang, OG-DT Damien Wolf

Outlook: Strohl steps in for Dave Gingrich, who guided the Eagles to the District 3 Class 5A title in his final season on the job last fall. Here are two more changes in Denver: Cocalico dips down to 4A this season, and the Eagles lost reigning PA 5A Player of the Year Noah Palm to graduation. But the cupboard is anything but bare; Flinton is an experienced, speed-demon ball-carrier, there is a slew of muscle returning up front, and multiple top tacklers from last year’s team are due back. All eyes on Nash, who is set to step in at QB, succeeding Palm. The bar is still very high in Eagle Country.

CONESTOGA VALLEY BUCKSKINS

PIAA: Class 5A

Coach: Gerad Novak (5th season, 15-25)

2019: 2-4 Section 2, 2-8 overall

Base offense: Spread

Base defense: 4-3

Key players returning: WR-DB Zach Fisher, K-P Nate Heck, RB Booper Johnson, RB-LB Kaden Martin, C-DT Kyle McGallicher, WR-DB Keaghan Sweigart, WR-DB Avery Tran

Outlook: There are some top-shelf playmakers due back for the Buckskins, including sure-handed receivers like Fisher, Sweigart and Tran. And Johnson is a multi-purpose player out of the backfield. Two areas of concern for CV: Novak needs to rebuild the O-line and the D-line, and the Bucks will be breaking in a new QB; say hello to sophomore Macoy Kneisley, who steps in for 2,000-yard all-star passer Bradley Stoltzfus. CV will also get a late start because of a coronavirus-imposed school closure.

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ELIZABETHTOWN BEARS

PIAA: Class 5A

Coach: Andy Breault (3rd season, 10-11)

2019: 2-4 Section 2, 4-6 overall

Base offense: Spread

Base defense: 4-3

Key players returning: WR-DB Brock Belmont, K Cade Denlinger, DB Riley Drager, TE-DE Brandon Frey, QB Patrick Gilhool, OG-DE Jett Kelly, RB-LB Logan Lentz, OT-DT Billy McNitt, WR-DE Elijah Reitmeyer, QB-DB Josh Rudy, TE-DE Hayden Stahlman, WR-LB Bobby Walters

Outlook: Start with some good news, as Kelly and McNitt return to anchor the O-line and cause headaches up front defensively. Gilhool threw for 1,298 yards last fall, and he’s back to pilot the offense. He’ll have some new skill kids flanking him, and Breault said he’ll have some youth up and down his depth chart — which will change with K-P Denlinger concentrating on soccer this fall. But it never takes the Bears very long to retool, so don’t sleep on this pack.

MANHEIM CENTRAL BARONS

PIAA: Class 5A

Coach: Dave Hahn (6th season, 57-10)

2019: 6-0 Section 2, 9-3 overall

Base offense: Multiple Spread

Base defense: 4-2-5

Key players returning: OG Jeremy Knight, QB Judd Novak, WR-DB Owen Pappas, K-P Nate Reed, K Logan Shull

Outlook: Graduation was unkind to the Barons, who lost 20 total full-time starters, including 8,000-yard passer Evan Simon. Alas, this is Central, which doesn’t rebuild. Pappas and Knight are back, and Novak took some snaps behind Simon last year, and he’s looking to secure the starting gig coming out of camp. While pretty much everyone else will be a first-time starter, having Reed and Shull returning to handle the kicking and punting chores will be huge. Can Central make it six section titles in a row? It won’t be easy, but the new-look Barons will certainly be up for the challenge.

SOLANCO GOLDEN MULES

PIAA: Class 5A

Coach: Tony Cox (7th season, 37-28)

2019: 2-4 Section 2, 5-6 overall

Base offense: Flexbone

Base defense: 4-3

Key players returning: OG Jesse Balderston, DT Justin Dagen, LB Nick DeFrancesco, LB Moses Dominguez, RB-DB Ronnie Fulton, DE Caden Fuller, C Cole Gladfelter, LB Seth Harnish, RB Mason Hecker, K Trent McDowell, RB-LB Johnny Morales, DE Devin Rapant, DT John Sankus, OT Connor Smith, WR Ryan Smith, OG Connor Sprout, QB-DB-P Mason St. Clair, RB Zach Turpen

Outlook: Plenty of thumpers returning to the trenches in Quarryville — including O-line stalwarts Balderston, Sprout, Smith and Gladfelter — and that’s a heck of a start for the Mules, who are angling for their third trip in a row to the playoffs. Keep an eye on a pair of playmakers here: The elusive St. Clair is set to take over the QB duties and pilot Solanco’s triple-option scheme, and Fulton should get plenty of touches out of the backfield, running behind that rugged line.

WARWICK WARRIORS

PIAA: Class 5A

Coach: Bob Locker (20th season, 98-101)

2019: 4-2 Section 1, 10-3 overall

Base offense: 1-back

Base defense: 3-4

Key players returning: OG Owen Campbell, WR-DB Cooper Eckert, C Caleb Goss, WR-DB-K Tanner Haines, WR-DB Adam Martin, QB Joey McCracken, TE-LB Nate Maher, RB Colton Miller, TE-DE Thatcher Miller, QB Jack Reed, RB-LB Christian Royer, OT-DE Nolan Rucci, WR-DB Caleb Schmitz

Outlook: Rosy in Lititz, where the Warriors are set to return a gnarly nucleus from last year’s 10-win, district semifinalist team, including Rucci, who is one of the top prep O-linemen in the country and a recent Wisconsin commit. He’ll help pass-protect for McCracken, who is returning from a knee injury he suffered during basketball season. All he did last fall was throw for 2,900 yards and earn all-state honors. Schmitz, an all-state safety and Cincinnati commit, also returns, along with the Miller twins: Colton is a bruiser RB, and Thatcher blitzes off the edge. Insert favorite’s tag here.

TWITTER: @JeffReinhart77

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