From the first day of heat acclimatization practice on Aug. 31, until the 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 going on around the league …
Let the Lampeter-Strasburg vs. Jersey Shore preview items begin:
1. District 4 champ Jersey Shore, coached by Tom Gravish, is 9-0 and back in the Class 4A state semifinals for the second year in a row; the Bulldogs fell to Dallas 56-28 in last year’s PIAA final four. Dallas lost to Thomas Jefferson 46-7 in the state title game — after TJ beat L-S in the semifinals. … JS plays in the Heartland Conference, and they’ve been humming right along this season: Shamokin (W 41-7), Shikellamy (W 53-0), Central Mountain (W 55-7), Selinsgrove (W 33-0), Shikellamy (W 16-0), Central Mountain (W 21-9), Mifflinburg (W 48-7), Shamokin (W 54-0 D4 title game), Crestwood (W 26-14 PIAA sub-regional). … Since a 6-7 season in 2013, JS is 63-22 with four D4 championships — plus back-to-back trips to the state semifinals, including Friday’s visit to L-S. … Jersey Shore — no, not the beach — is a suburb of Williamsport and is located in Lycoming County, approximately 85 miles west of Wilkes-Barre, and about 145 miles from Lampeter. Pack plenty of snacks, fellas. Enjoy the bus ride to Lancaster County. … FYI: Friday’s winner gets the Oil City vs. Thomas Jefferson survivor in the PIAA championship game, set for Saturday, Nov. 28 in Hersheypark Stadium. Kick time is TBA.
2. Four Jersey Shore playmakers to know: QB Branden Wheary is 121 of 210 for 1,722 yards with 21 TD strikes against just one pick … RB Cam Allison has 178 carries for 978 yards with seven TD runs … WR Cayden Hess has 56 catches for 763 yards with seven TD grabs … Multi-purpose back Owen Anderson has rushed for 432 yards on 52 touches with eight TD runs, and he’s caught 35 passes for 600 yards with eight TD snags, as the Bulldogs average 426 yards and 38 points a game. … Wheary passed for 161 yards with a TD toss to Anderson against Crestwood, and JS iced that game behind DB Kooper Peacock, who had two interceptions in the final four minutes as the Bulldogs stymied the previously undefeated District 2-champ Comets.
3. L-S, the outright L-L League Section 3 champ and coached by 23-year vet skipper John Manion, is in the state playoffs for the second year in a row and for the third time overall. The Pioneers are 0-2 in states, falling to Garnet Valley 27-20 back in 2007 and to eventual state-champ Thomas Jefferson 44-2 last fall. … Five L-S playmakers to know: QB Sean McTaggart is 72 of 122 for 1,389 yards with 23 TD strikes against two picks; he had nine TD tosses against no interceptions in D3-playoff wins over Conrad Weiser and Elco … Multi-purpose back Alex Knapp has rushed for 380 yards with six TD runs and he’s caught 13 passes, three for scores … TE Beau Heyser (15-302, 20.1 yards per catch, 5 TD) and home-run threat wideouts Austin Stoltzfus (13-414, 31.8 yards per catch, 7 TD) and Ian Herr (15-377, 25.1 yards per catch, 5 TD) have been sure-handed targets for McTaggart, as L-S (9-0) averages 376 yards and 46 points a game.