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 …
1. And just like that — snap! — Lampeter-Strasburg’s magical pigskin season is over. The Pioneers put up crooked numbers all over the place, and had a fourth-quarter lead on Friday night against Jersey Shore in the PIAA Class 4A state semifinals in Lampeter. Alas, the Bulldogs — who matched the Pioneers in the crooked-number department — came up with two key second-half takeaways, and Jersey Shore earned a 39-35 win for a spot in the PIAA finale next weekend opposite defending state-champ Thomas Jefferson. It was a crusher for L-S; the Pioneers sailed into Friday’s showdown at 9-0, fresh off L-L League Section 3 and District 3 championships. L-S’s gnarly defense was No. 1 in the league. The Pioneers’ offense spent the fall clobbering opposing defenses, with multiple mercy-rule victories. But L-S ran into a team with similar firepower on Friday, and in a game of touchdown runs, Jersey Shore got the all-important last one. Couldn’t help but feel for the Pioneers’ senior-laden team late Friday, as they walked away from their final huddle with vet coach John Manion. I could rattle off a bunch of stats to let you know how successful they were. But I’ll leave you with this: In what will go down as one of the craziest years in our lifetime, L-S continued to fight the good fight — Manion himself beat COVID-19 — stick together as a squad, be great teammates, win championships and get back to the final four in the state for the second year in a row. In the face of so much uncertainty, they found success. A lot of it. Be very proud of that.
2. Is there another major-college Division I recruit coming out of the L-L League? Manheim Township senior QB/DB Evan Clark announced this week that he received a preferred walk-on offer from Virginia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Clark had a crazy-good, two-way, dual-threat season for the Blue Streaks this fall. At QB, he clicked on 98 of 141 passes — 70 percent completions — for 1,505 yards with 18 TD tosses against no interceptions. Nope, not a single pick in Township’s spread attack. He also rushed for 339 yards with four TD keepers, flashing his multi-purpose abilities behind center. From his safety spot, Clark had 31 tackles, with one stick for a loss, plus a pair of sacks, two QB hurries, an interception and two pass breakups. After playing a mostly back-up role in 2019, Clark really came into his own and had a breakout 2020 campaign. And now the Hokies are interested in what he brings to the table. … Clark’s teammate, Township junior WR Anthony Ivey, made a verbal commitment to Penn State earlier this fall.
3. Another honor for Warwick senior offensive tackle Nolan Rucci, who we’re expecting to pick up many more awards before he shuffles off to Wisconsin to join older brother Hayden and the Badgers. Rucci this week was named an All-American by the All-American Bowl; he’s one of just 100 prep players in the country to receive that honor. The 21st All-American Bowl will not be played this season because of coronavirus concerns, but Rucci received his jersey in a ceremony this week. He will be featured as part of a 2-hour TV special called “All-American: Declaration Day” on NBC on Jan. 2. NBC will also broadcast “All-American Dream”, a 1-hour special highlighting this year’s All-American class, on Dec. 6. Rucci was selected by the All-American Bowl committee and 247sports.
Bound for Madtown 🦡 Welcome ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Wisconsin commit Nolan Rucci (@nolanrucci) to the 2021 All-American Bowl @NBCSports #AAB21 🇺🇸#OnWisconsin#AllAmericanBowl 🏈 @adidasFballUS https://t.co/PvY2sxAW6d pic.twitter.com/dMh2xX2b1x— All-American Bowl (@AABonNBC) November 19, 2020