YORK — No one had to tell Lampeter-Strasburg that it was facing the No. 1-seeded team when the Pioneers traveled to York Suburban in Friday's District Three Class 4A quarterfinal round.
Of course, no one had to tell coach John Manion and company that L-S had a legitimate chance to win, even against an unbeaten opponent playing on its home field after a bye week.
Despite being the eighth seed, L-S went out to a big lead in the first half, then fought off a Trojans' comeback before going on to clinch a 27-18 victory.
The Pioneers improved to 9-3 overall and next weekend get to face longtime district nemesis Bishop McDevitt, which topped Susquehanna Township 21-7.
Manion hopes the confidence shown by his football team Friday night will carry over.
“It doesn't get any easier. McDevitt has been a thorn in our side for many years,” he said. “Something about this team says we are fine doing whatever we do next week.”
L-S led 21-3 at the half, but saw York Suburban, particularly prolific senior running back Savion Harrison, start to do some damage.
While Harrison ran for 166 yards in the first half and 238 for the game, the Trojans were held out of the end zone until he closed out a seven-play, 64-yard drive with a touchdown.
Moments later, Nate Banks caught a pass at the Pioneers' 30 and ran it in for a 55-yard touchdown, that combined with the two-point conversion, brought York Suburban within 21-19.
However, on the Trojans' next possession, Logan Bradley intercepted a pass.
Although Suburban got the ball back, Jacob Kopelman made his second big play of the game, recovering Harrison's fumble and, four plays later, L-S quarterback Conner Nolt scored on a 7-yard run with 4:12 to play, putting the game away.
Bradley followed 28 seconds later with his second interception of the night and the Pioneers — who were playing without injured leading rusher Bryan McKim — ran out the clock.
“(The defense was) really good when we had to be,” Manion said. “The third quarter was awful on both sides of the ball for us.
“I can't understand why. They have been a second-half team all year, but we answered the bell when it mattered, right when we were getting to the toughest point of the game.”
After forcing the Trojans to go three and out to start the game, it took all of one play for the Pioneers to score when Alex Knapp ran 85 yards for a touchdown.
Another Trojans' drive stalled, and L-S answered in style with an 11-play, 47-yard drive, capped by Knapp's 9-yard run.
York Suburban (10-1) kicked a field goal, cutting the deficit to 14-3, but Kopelman took the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a 21-3 lead at the intermission.