From the first day of heat acclimatization practice on Aug. 31, until the 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 going on around the league …
1. Elizabethtown’s top priority on Friday against Solanco is slowing down the Golden Mules’ Flexbone attack. That means pinching in off the ends and containing Solanco QB Mason St. Clair and backs Ronnie Fulton, Zach Turpen and Robert Castagna, who helped the Mules gouge out 192 rushing yards in Week 1 vs. Lampeter-Strasburg. Yes, the Pioneers won the game 47-15, but Solanco showed some flashes running the ball, which is the Mules’ bread and butter. E-town’s defensive ends are off to a fast start; in the Bears’ 42-6 Week 1 triumph over McCaskey, all-star Jett Kelly made seven stops, including a pair for losses, and Justin Black had four tackles, including two for losses off the edge. So those guys were sniffing the backfield early and often vs. the Red Tornado, which managed just 122 total yards against the opportunistic Bears, who also forced three turnovers. Speaking of turnovers, Solanco had five giveaways vs. L-S. Safe to say that can’t happen again. The winner here gets an early leg-up in the Section 2 race, and that’s always a good thing.
2. Out of the frying pan and right back into the fire for Penn Manor’s defense, which was tested by Warwick in Week 1, and now the Comets get Hempfield on Friday in Landisville. The Black Knights piled up 300 yards in their gut-punch 41-34 OT setback at Exeter, as newbie QB Cam Harbaugh passed for 152 yards and a score, and vet RB Tanner Hess scooted for 111 yards and a couple of touchdowns. So Penn Manor’s D must account for Hempfield’s double-barreled attack. We’ll have our eyes on a trio of Comets’ defenders in this matchup: LB Hunter Hoffman had 10 tackles, including a pair of sticks for losses, against Warwick, while D-ends Ben Weaver (7 tackles, 1 sack) and Mekhi Lee (6 tackles, 1 for a loss) were also busy vs. the Warriors. And if Harbaugh looks to go up top — flank threat Jadin Jimenez had seven grabs last week vs. Exeter — PM DB’s Isaac Hostetter and Kyle Murr both had interceptions against Warwick. Needless to say, this is an important game for early Section 1 jockeying; you don’t want to fall too far behind in this race.
3. Elco unleashed freshman RB Jake Williams against Ephrata; the ninth-grader had a memorable debut, darting for 135 yards with a pair of TD runs in the Raiders’ 28-27 victory over the Mountaineers. Tack on QB Braden Bohannon, who had 81 ground yards and a TD keeper vs. Ephrata, and he was a 1,600-yard rusher last year during his all-state campaign, and Annville-Cleona’s defense is going to have its hands full with Elco’s Veer attack. The Dutchmen yielded 377 rushing yards last week in a 42-14 setback vs. Donegal. Keep an eye on a troika of A-C defenders here: Safety Alex Long (16 tackles, 2 for losses vs. Donegal), DB Andrew Eby (10 tackles) and LB Logan Wagner (10 tackles, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery) need to swarm and keep Bohannon guessing.
AND THIS: We have Bohannon for 2,858 career rushing yards, leaving him 142 ground yards shy of joining the 3,000-yard club. That’s some pretty elite company — and the list doesn’t include many quarterbacks.