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 …
Week 4 has arrived, and that means no more nonleague games. It also means Section 1 and Section 2 head-to-head openers. And it also means the start of the L-L League-mandated crossover games, and the first one is a real doozy: Manheim Central at Wilson in West Lawn on Friday. Hang a couple of stars next to that matchup. Plenty to discuss this week, including a Week 3 wrap-up — how crazy was this past weekend, by the way? — and tons of Week 4 preview material. So let’s get started:
1. There were 15 L-L League backs who eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark in Week 3, the most in any game week so far this season. That included five quarterbacks — Solanco’s Grady Unger (21-131 vs. New Oxford), Hempfield’s Tanner Hess (19-151 vs. Central York), Elco’s Braden Bohannon (24-118 vs. Lancaster Catholic), Conestoga Valley’s Bradley Stoltzfus (17-118 vs. Spring Grove) and Wilson’s Kaleb Brown (12-115 vs. Spring-Ford) — and four sets of teammates who all rushed for triple digits: Unger and Nick Yannutz (22-133) for Solanco; Stoltzfus and Booper Johnson (23-134) for CV; Brown and Avanti Lockhart (14-109) for Wilson; and Mason Ober (14-126) and Garrett Blake (20-124) for Donegal against Columbia. … Three L-L League quarterbacks had 100/100 nights in Week 3: Hess (151 rushing yards, 120 passing yards) for Hempfield; Brown (115 rushing yards, 161 yards) for Wilson; and Stoltzfus (118 rushing yards, 276 passing yards) for CV.
BONUS NUGGET: When Octorara blanked Northern Lebanon 35-0 in Week 3, it was the Braves' first shutout victory since a 33-0 nonleague win at Pequea Valley back on Sept. 16, 2011. And since the inception of the program in 2009, it was just Octorara's second whitewash win in school history.
2. Haven’t had to dig around for this stat in a while: After seeing its solid 27-game regular-season unbeaten streak come to a close following a 37-7 setback at Warwick, Manheim Central will try and avoid back-to-back losses for the first time since … 2014, in Mike Williams’ final season on the job for the Barons. That year, Central fell to Cocalico 26-24 in Manheim on Oct. 17, and then the Barons dropped a 21-14 decision at Garden Spot the next week, on Oct. 24. Central got some revenge later against the Spartans, dropping Garden Spot 72-24 in a D3-3A first-round game. Central went 8-4 that season, falling to eventual champ Bishop McDevitt 35-10 in the D3-3A quarterfinals, in Williams’ final game of his storied head-coaching career.
3. This and that: Governor Mifflin held Cocalico QB Noah Palm relatively in check on the ground, but the Eagles earned a 26-14 win to go to 3-0. Palm had 46 rushing yards vs. the Mustangs, leaving him just 62 yards shy of joining the 3,000-yard rushing club. He’ll go for that milestone on Friday when Cocalico kicks off Section 2 play at home against Elizabethtown. It’s the second off three straight home dates for the Eagles, who will host Manheim Township in the Week 5 crossover game. Palm did have a pair of TD throws to Ronald Zahm against Mifflin, and he’s now accounted for 13 touchdowns in 12 quarters this season. … Brett Benjamin, Manheim Township’s standout senior wide receiver, missed some time early in the season with some nagging injuries. He made his debut in the Blue Streaks’ riveting 10-7 win over Central Dauphin, and he picked up right where he left off last year: Benjamin had six catches for 82 yards against the Rams, as Township improved to 3-0. … Benjamin’s teammate, senior QB Harrison Kirk, is also closing in fast on a milestone number: After a 282-yard passing effort against CD, Kirk is up to 2,824 career passing yards. So he’ll need 176 yards on Friday at home against Penn Manor in the Section 1 opener to join the 3,000-yard club. … Warwick junior QB Joey McCracken is also closing in fast on 3,000 passing yards. He’s actually just ahead of Kirk with 2,870 yards. McCracken will need 130 yards to crack the 3,000-yard club on Friday when the Warriors visit Hempfield in the Section 1 opener for those clubs. Through three weeks, McCracken leads the L-L League in passing yards (900) and TD throws (11). … Hate mentioning the losing streaks, but let’s get it out of the way here early in the week and move on: Garden Spot is at 17 setbacks in a row, dating back to midway through the 2017 season; Pequea Valley is at 13 setbacks in a row, dating back to the last game of the 2017 season; and McCaskey’s setback streak hit 10 in a row on Saturday following a loss at Reading. The Red Tornado’s last win was in Week 3 last year against, ironically, Reading. … And yes, the Week 4 slate will be played on Friday the 13th, including the only 7:30 p.m. start this season: Conestoga Valley at Lampeter-Strasburg for the annual Lampeter Bowl scuffle.