Manheim Township left no doubt.
The Blue Streaks scored on their first seven possessions, and Township used some trickeration and a boatload of big plays on the way to a 49-7 L-L League Section One victory over rival Hempfield on Friday night in Landisville.
Cade Clancy rushed for 132 yards and four touchdowns, QB Evan Clark passed for 261 yards with a TD strike and a pair of TD keepers, and the Streaks beat the Black Knights for the seventh year in a row and retained the Joseph F. Kurjiaka Trophy.
"Consistency has been the big preaching point from our coaches," Clancy said. "We have to be consistent and finish, and do the little things right on every play. And you have to take advantage because you never know, with this situation, what game might be your last."
Hempfield (3-1 league, 3-2 overall) had its three-game winning streak snapped, and the Knights slipped out of a first-place tie with Wilson, which took over sole possession of the top spot with a 41-6 win over Cedar Crest. The Bulldogs (4-0, 4-1) will host Hempfield next Friday; Wilson has clinched at least a tie for the section title.
Township (3-1, 3-2) won its third game in a row, piling up 421 yards of total offense while limiting Hempfield to 72 rushing yards and just eight first downs.
The game turned quickly in the first quarter when Township executed back-to-back trick plays. Up 7-0 on Clark's 8-yard TD run, the Streaks pulled off an onside kick, with Matt O'Gorman kicking and then recovering his own pooch boot.
On the next play, Township pulled off a flea-flicker, with Clark uncorking a 40-yard pass to Anthony Ivey. One play later, Clancy darted 14 yards for a TD and a 14-0 lead, and the rout was on.
"That was a huge momentum-builder, and it took the life out of them," Clancy said of the onside kick. "Especially coming off our own touchdown, and then to make another big play like that right away. I think that got their heads spinning around. Then we punched another one in, so that was huge."
"We had the momentum after we scored," Township coach Mark Evans said, "and when you can get it right back (on an onside kick) like that, you want to go big. And it worked."
Clark's 1-yard dive made it 21-0, and Township grabbed a safe and sound 28-0 lead on the last play of the first quarter, when Clancy zoomed 41 yards for a TD.
Hempfield, which played without leading rusher Tanner Hess and leading receiver Jadin Jimenez, finally got on the board when Cam Harbaugh lobbed a 43-yard TD pass to David Almodovar.
But Township tacked on two more scores before the half: Clark went up top for a 53-yard TD strike to Ivey (3-153 receiving) midway through the second quarter, and Clancy capped the Streaks' first-half onslaught with a 7-yard TD burst for a cozy 35-7 lead at the half.
"They jumped on us early and we never recovered," said Hempfield coach George Eager, who was coaching against his alma mater. "They dominated the whole game. Right off the bat they get an onside kick, and then the flea-flicker. You look up and you're down 28-0. In Section One, you're not coming back against a powerhouse team like Township."
Clancy went 17 yards for his fourth and final TD with 4:18 to go in the third quarter, triggering the mercy rule and icing Township's third straight victory.
"The word of the week with the team was consistency," Evans said. "We're finally getting comfortable in our own skin, and we're finding that consistency."