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 …
Continuing our look at Saturday’s scrimmages, here are three more matchups to keep an eye on:
1. Lebanon at Conestoga Valley, 6 p.m. — The sun will be setting when the Cedars and Buckskins square off in Witmer, and although this is just a scrimmage, expect to see plenty of airborne footballs as two of the top gunslinger quarterbacks in the L-L League will be squaring off. Lebanon junior Isaiah Rodriguez — all 6-foot-5 of him — was a 1,900-yard passer with 18 TD strikes in his breakout sophomore campaign last fall, helping the Cedars go 5-5 in their new Section 3 surroundings. Meanwhile, CV senior Bradley Stoltzfus is a high-percentage passer who knows his way around a pocket; he threw for 1,600 yards with 11 TD tosses, completing 60 percent of his attempts in 2018. Rodriguez and Stoltzfus will also be breaking in some new go-to targets on the flanks, so this lone scrimmage tune-up will be key for Lebanon’s and CV’s passing attacks.
2. Lampeter-Strasburg at Lancaster Catholic, 10 a.m. — Nothing to do Saturday morning? Then head over to Catholic’s new turf stadium for this intriguing scrimmage, featuring a pair of teams with plenty of high expectations for the upcoming season. This will be L-S’s final season in Section 2, as the Pioneers are ticketed for a return trip to Section 3 for the 2020-21 cycle as part of the league’s next realignment phase, which will feature four sections for at least the next two years out. That means one more go-round with the usual Section 2 suspects for L-S, which is set to return ample firepower on the offensive side of the ball. Catholic is prepping for another Section 3 run; the Crusaders went 9-0 in league play last year to win the title outright, and they went 10-0 in the regular season before being tripped up by Bermudian Springs in the D3-3A semifinals. You think Catholic will be extra motivated after how last year ended? Two vet signal-callers to watch in this skirmish: L-S junior Sean McTaggart had a whopper sophomore season, throwing for 1,700 yards with 13 TD passes, and Catholic senior Gavin Sullivan is back for his third season behind center piloting the Crusaders’ attack, and he threw for 888 yards with 11 TD strikes last fall.
3. McCaskey, Octorara, Philadelphia West Catholic at Oxford, 10 a.m. — Four teams, including a pair of L-L League outfits, will clash just over the line in Chester County. Honestly, I thought we’d see more of these three- and four-team scrimmages with just the one scrimmage date. But this is the only multi-team scrimmage featuring a pair of L-L League teams in McCaskey and Octorara. Tack on longtime Philly Catholic League heavyweight West Catholic, and this scrimmage will be worth your drive time. This will be McCaskey’s first head-to-head action under first-year coach Sam London. We’re anxious to see how his new schemes will play out on the field — and what the Tornado’s quarterback situation looks like, with five signal-callers on London’s crowded preseason depth chart. For Octorara, it’s Year 2 in the L-L League for coach Jed King and his troops, and the Braves should see plenty of speed and athleticism between McCaskey, West Catholic and Oxford — a former Ches-Mont League rival that won five games last year.
Bonus nugget: Speaking of Oxford, the Hornets’ head coach is 1999 Cocalico grad and former Eagles’ option QB Michael Means.