After a two-game skid, the defending Lancaster-Lebanon League Section Two and District 3-5A champion Manheim Central Barons got back on track with last Friday’s 54-6 road win at Elizabethtown.
And a pair of Baron players did so in history-making fashion. Senior quarterback Evan Simon completed 25 of 34 pass attempts for 357 passing yards and two touchdowns to go along with 74 rushing yards and a running score. In doing so, Simon surpassed 6,000 career passing yards and now sits eighth all-time in L-L history with 6,303 yards. Simon already set a new program passing record previously held by Jeff Smoker (5,900 yards).
And Simon’s favorite target in Friday’s win was senior wide receiver Colby Wagner, who pulled in 16 catches for 232 yards with one receiving TD and one rushing TD. The 16 catches are believed to have tied an L-L single-game record, joining Conestoga Valley’s Eric Espenshade (16 receptions versus Warwick in 1984) and Tyre Stead (16 receptions versus Lampeter-Strasburg in 2017).
For their efforts, Simon and Wagner are LNP’s Week Five co-Football Players of the Week, sponsored by Kegel's Produce. Here’s a Q&A with conducted with the duo at Monday’s practice, as the Barons (1-0 league, 3-2 overall) were busy preparing for Friday’s big-time L-L Section Two showdown against rival Cocalico (1-0, 4-1).
Simon, last week you joined the 6,000-yard passing club. What does it mean to you to be a part of history? Simon: “It’s really awesome. It’s a blessing. I’ve been surrounded with great family, great support, everyone throughout the community.”
What makes the relationship between you and Colby work so well? Simon: “First off, it starts off the field. We’ve been great friends for years. We’ve grown up together and we’ve played midget football. That chemistry has built up over the years. It’s working out.”
After a tough four-game start to the season, how did it feel on Friday to get everything clicking? Wagner: “It felt great. It was a huge confidence-booster. We finally got our offense rolling. Now we just need to keep scoring.”
Do you have a favorite pass play you like to run? Wagner: “My favorite pass play is just running straight up the field. If you’re fast enough you can get by anyone.”
You had 16 catches in Friday’s game. Were your hands sore afterward? Wagner: “I actually had a blister on the palm (of my right hand). They weren’t too bad. It was really fun, though.”
Time for some fun questions. ...if you were in charge of the lunch menu at school for a day, what would you add? Wagner: “I’d add a Chick-fil-A cart. Their chicken sandwiches are bomb. All their food is awesome. I’d also add soda, even though it’s not the healthiest for you.”
You’re good at football. What sport are you the worst at? Simon: “My worst sport is definitely baseball. I played when I was 12. I started off strong then got in a slump. That was my last time playing baseball.”
What’s your favorite subject in school and why? Wagner: “History. There’s just a lot to it. It’s never-ending. ...I like studying ancient Egypt. It’d be awesome to go there.”
What advice would you give to your freshman self? Simon: “I would tell myself to get as many reps as you can. Learn from the other guys. Benefit from them.”