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 …
Continuing to preview Friday’s PIAA Class 4A state semifinal showdown: Jersey Shore (9-0) at Lampeter-Strasburg (9-0):
1. From all accounts, Jersey Shore has a pretty potent passing attack; QB Branden Wheary (110 of 191 for 1,561 yards, 20 TD, 1 INT) has been money up top, and the Bulldogs’ 3-pack of sure-handed receivers in Cayden Hess (49-686, 7 TD), Owen Anderson (27-516, 8 TD) and Dalton Dugan (21-246, 4 TD) have done major damage through the air. So it could be a busy night for L-S’s secondary; keep an eye on Alex Knapp (10 tackles, 1 for a loss, 2 fumble recoveries), Berkeley Wagner (57 tackles, 3 for losses, 3 INT, 5 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble), Austin Stoltzfus (23 tackles, 1 INT, 5 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery) and Matt Weese (24 tackles, 2 for losses, 2 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery) to mark Jersey Shore’s pass-catchers and try and muddy up clean passing lanes. Turnovers will be a key stat to watch in this clash; the more drives you can get — and finish — the better, because both of these offenses are potent.
2. It will also very likely be a busy night for Jersey Shore’s secondary, as the Bulldogs must curtail L-S QB Sean McTaggart (72 of 122 for 1,389 yards, 23 TD, 2 INT) and his merry band of receivers, like Beau Heyser (15-302, 5 TD), Ian Herr (15-377, 5 TD), Austin Stoltzfus (13-414, 7 TD) and Alex Knapp (13-131, 3 TD). McTaggart averages a nifty 19.3 yards per completion, so the Pioneers can singe you in the passing game. Three Jersey Shore D-backs to watch: Cayden Hess (21 tackles, 2 for losses, 5 INT), Kooper Peacock (28 tackles, 2 INT, 1 pass breakup) and Owen Anderson (31 tackles, 2 INT, 2 fumble recoveries, 1 forced fumble) have been steady in the back, as the Bulldogs have picked off 12 passes and broken up 16 other potential completions. … Peacock had two interceptions in the game’s final four minutes last week in Jersey Shore’s 26-14 state sub-regional win over Crestwood. … With Jersey Shore likely featuring a 5-man front on defense, that could mean a little more blocking time for Heyser at tight end. Regardless, he’s been a sure-handed red-zone target for McTaggart, while Knapp has dominated in the flat and Herr and Stoltzfus are speedy home-run threats.
3. L-S has scored all kinds of different ways this season, and more than the basic TD runs and TD passes: LB Conner Nolt (74-yard INT return vs. Solanco), DE Beau Heyser (39-yard INT return vs. Northern Lebanon; 3-yard blocked punt return vs. Donegal), LB Elijah Carr (25-yard blocked punt return vs. Northern Lebanon) and DE Parker Owens (76-yard blocked field goal return vs. Ephrata) have all found in the end zone on D or in special teams, and Owens forced a 2-point safety. … L-S has also blocked six kicks; Nolt has swatted away four all by himself, and Heyser and Berkeley Wagner have also registered a blocked kick for the Pioneers, who can get you any number of ways in all three phases of the game.