From the first day of heat acclimatization practice on Aug. 5, until the very 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 happening around the league …
1. Kinda crazy that Lampeter-Strasburg and Berks Catholic are the last two teams standing in the D3-4A bracket when you inspect it closely. L-S had to beat the No. 1 seed in the bracket — previously undefeated York Suburban, on the road — and then rally past 14-time district champ Bishop McDevitt, on the Crusaders’ home turf, to get here. Berks Catholic, meanwhile, was looking up at a 2-3 record back in September, the Saints were blanked by mega rival Wyomissing 23-0 in their regular-season finale, but KO’d 1-loss Milton Hershey in the semifinals to punch their tickets to the title tilt. This bracket was anything but chalk, as No. 8 L-S will take on No. 3 Berks Catholic for gold. There’s no arguing the pedigree of either program — the Saints are in a D3 finale for the seventh year in a row — but both teams took odd paths to the championship clash.
2. More Berks Catholic factoids: The Saints’ offense is averaging 26.3 points a game, but BC has been held to two scores or fewer in seven of its 12 games. In the Saints’ eight wins, they’re averaging 52.5 points a game; in the other four games, they’re averaging just 13.3 points. … BC has gotten it done on the ground, averaging 218 rushing yards a game, and 5.7 yards per carry. RB Abdul MacFoy (961 yards, 15 TDs) is the Saints’ leading rusher. Not so much up top for BC, which has amassed just 434 passing yards. … Defense has been a calling card for the Saints; they’re allowing just 152 rushing yards and 96 passing yards a game, and BC has 31 takeaways, with 12 picks and 19 fumble recoveries.
3. Cedar Cliff’s defense didn’t have much luck stopping Cocalico’s offense when the Colts hosted the Eagles back in Week 2; Cocalico QB Noah Palm zoomed for 194 yards with three TD keepers, and he had a TD toss to Ronald Zahm, as the Eagles gouged out 448 total yards and amassed 24 first downs in a runaway 43-14 win. Palm (1,001 passing yards, 1,316 rushing yards, 39 total offensive TDs) has steered Cocalico to 3,528 rushing yards and 381 yards and 39 points a game. Cedar Cliff has been opportunistic on D with 32 takeaways, and the Colts feature a pair of hard-hitting, gap-stuffing D-tackles who can pinch and cutoff running lanes in Albert Rosado (34 tackles, 12 for losses, 4.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles) and Ben Eisenhower (33 tackles, 12.5 for losses, 4 sacks). Cedar Cliff’s top tackler is LB Kevin Lusk (86 tackles, 12.5 for losses, 4 sacks, 2 INT, 2 pass breakups, 2 fumble recoveries), and when Palm goes up top — or, more likely, makes the proper read, breaks contain and takes off — Colts’ D-backs Mason Heiple (42 tackles, 3 INT, 10 pass breakups) and Pedro Cintron (23 tackles, 6 for losses, 3 INT, 3 pass breakups) have to be ready to make plays in the secondary — and tackling Palm in the open field is not an easy chore. This is a fascinating matchup, no matter how you slice it or dice it.