From the first day of heat acclimatization practice on Aug. 5, until the very last Lancaster-Lebanon League football team is standing later this fall, we’ll bring you three fun L-L League pigskin facts on a daily basis to keep you updated about what’s happening around the league …
More news and notables, facts and stats as teams continue training camp, leading up to Saturday’s full slate of scrimmages:
1. ELCO’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
I’ve heard of a lot of cool team-bonding events over the years, but this one might take the cake: Late last week, Elco coach Bob Miller loaded up his squad in a bus and departed Myerstown for Philadelphia. But not to visit the Liberty Bell or grab cheese-steaks. Nope, the Raiders headed to the famed Philadelphia Art Museum, where Miller had his team run the famed steps — you know, where the Rocky statue is. And not just one time up and back, either; there were multiple trips up and down the steps to get a sweat going and a preseason workout in. The team even proudly wore their Elco gear for all to see. That’s pretty awesome. They take their team-bonding events pretty seriously in Raider Country, and a tip of the cap to Miller — the reigning Section 3 Coach of the Year — and his staff for making this happen.
2. SACK MASTERS
Here are the top returning sack-registers in each section:
Sam Emge, rising senior linebacker, and Ben Mann, rising senior defensive end, Manheim Township — Emge and Mann had five sacks apiece last season for the Blue Streaks, who shared the Section 1 title with Warwick and Wilson and went to the D3-6A quarterfinals. Mann is a Yale recruit. Mann and Emge aren’t the only hit-machine defenders due back in Township’s camp; coach Mark Evans is set to return 10 of his top 11 tacklers from last year’s 10-win club, including Emge and Mann, who know their way around a backfield.
Brock Gingrich, rising senior defensive tackle, Cocalico — Eagles’ interior lineman brute had a whopper 2018 season, earning all-state status, as well as Section 2 Offensive Lineman of the Year and Outstanding Lineman of the Year honors for his work at OG and DT. Gingrich chased quarterbacks silly last fall, with seven sacks to his credit — plus 68 tackles, seven for losses and a forced fumble. He’s a beast.
Hunter Hockley, rising senior linebacker, Elco — Raiders’ swarmer accumulated 4 1/2 sacks last fall, and he was in the backfield a bunch, with seven other stops for losses, plus 39 total tackles and an interception for good measure. Elco’s D was a bright spot last fall, when the Raiders finished second in the Section 3 hunt and went to the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Having Hockley back to chase quarterbacks is a terrific start for this season.
3. RELIABLE BOOTERS
Here are the top returning field-goal kickers in each section:
Jack Wagner, rising junior, Wilson — Wagner boomed seven field goals for the Bulldogs last fall, and he added 23 touchbacks on kickoffs, so he has a big leg. He also made good on 32 PAT attempts, and his longest field goal was a 42-yarder. Wagner is a weapon.
Cade Denlinger, rising junior, Elizabethtown — Denlinger booted four field goals last season, when the Bears won six games and went to the D3-5A playoffs in coach Andy Breault’s first season on the job. Denlinger drilled 30 PAT attempts, and his longest field goal was a 37-yarder.
Daniel Mueller, rising sophomore, Lancaster Catholic — What a ninth-grade season for the the Crusaders’ booter, who made five field goals, including a 38-yarder. Also a solid punter, Mueller made the rounds at special teams camps this summer, and he’s quickly moving up the charts in the Kohl’s Kicking Camps rankings. Remember his name moving forward.