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 …
Here are three top takeaways from Friday’s Week 5 games:
1. So many things happened on Friday night, but I want to start here: Conestoga Valley 41, Manheim Central 35. In Manheim. At Elden Rettew. That place has been a house of horrors for the Buckskins over the years, but CV finally kicked the door down Friday, holding off Central in a wonderfully wacky shootout. It was the Bucks’ first win over the Barons since 2006, which was also in Manheim, by a 12-7 score. That’s the night Ty Bynum returned the opening kickoff for a TD, and CV never looked back. Prior to that game, Central won 18 games in a row against the Bucks, when folks like Mike Williams, Jim Cantafio, Dan Kreider, Jordan Steffy, Jeff Smoker, Mike Cook and Matt Nagy were on the field. Those were the days. Friday, CV took out years of frustration against their longtime nemesis for their second win this season; CV edged Elizabethtown 10-7 in a defensive-fest a few weeks back. Friday, the Bucks survived a scoreboard-popping fireworks show with Central, which dropped its fourth game in a row. And yes, it felt very weird typing that. I had to pause. It looks like the Barons are on their first four-game slide since 1976, which is a mind-bender for sure. CV? Well, the Bucks are getting it done with a completely revamped O-line and a rookie sophomore QB who continues to get better every week out. Against Central, Macoy Kneisley went 8 for 10 for 218 yards with a pair of TD tosses, and the Bucks cashed in on some trickeration and big plays. As for Central, well, we never worry about the Barons. Is this an odd, head-scratcher stretch Central is going through? Indeed. But the Barons will be back. Quickly. They finish up at Elizabethtown next Friday and with Wilson in the Week 7 league-mandated crossover game. However, if the Bulldogs make the D3-6A playoffs, they’ll go to the district semifinals that night, leaving Central without a game. Stay tuned. The Barons have added Ephrata for a Nov. 13 nonleague date and … nothing to confirm just yet, but we’re hearing Central might be adding another very intriguing game for later in November. Sit tight on that.
2. As for the section races …
Section 1: Wilson (4-0, 4-1) has clinched no worse than a tie, and the Bulldogs will host Hempfield (3-1, 3-2) on Friday in West Lawn. The Black Knights need a win to force a tie. Manheim Township (3-1, 3-2) is at home with McCaskey, and a Blue Streaks’ win, plus a Hempfield victory, would mean a three-way tie for the title, just like in 2018, when Township shared the Section 1 crown with Warwick and Wilson. The easiest scenario here: Wilson wins it outright with a win over Hempfield.
Section 2: Warwick (4-0, 5-0) snapped the first-place tie with a win over Solanco (3-1, 3-2) on Friday, and the Warriors own the top spot heading into their section finale next Friday at home vs. Cocalico (3-1, 4-1). If Warwick beats the Eagles — in a rematch of last year’s wildly entertaining D3-5A semifinal clash — then the Warriors clinch the crown outright. If Cocalico wins, they’d force a tie for the title with Warwick. And if Cocalico wins, and if Solanco beats Conestoga Valley at home, the Golden Mules would earn a three-way piece of the pie. The easiest scenario here: Warwick wins it outright with a win over Cocalico. And yes, Warwick RB Colton Miller had five more TD runs on Friday vs. Solanco, giving him — gulp — 18 TD runs in five games this season. Amazing.
Section 3: Lampeter-Strasburg (4-0, 5-0) earned at least a tie for the title with a 40-7 win over Garden Spot. But the two teams chasing the Pioneers — Lebanon (2-1, 3-1) and Ephrata (2-1, 2-2) — are either not playing or not playing a section game this week. Lebanon is idle because of coronavirus concerns in the school district, and the Cedars will return to the field next Saturday vs. Donegal. Meanwhile, Ephrata, which was supposed to play Lebanon on Friday, scheduled a nonleague game Saturday night at Sun Valley down in Aston, and the Mounts will host L-S next Friday, before making up their game against Lebanon on Nov. 13. Lebanon and Ephrata need L-S to lose (the Pioneers have the Mounts head-to-head) to force any kind of a tie. The easiest scenario here: L-S wins it outright with a win at Ephrata next Friday.
Section 4: Elco (4-0, 5-0) has clinched at least a tie for the title compliments of a 36-7 victory at Northern Lebanon. Columbia (3-1, 4-1) and Octorara (3-1, 4-1) are tied for the second spot. Columbia is at Elco on Friday, while Octorara is at Annville-Cleona. The easiest scenario here: Elco wraps up the outright title with a win over Columbia. If the Crimson Tide tops the Raiders, they’d force a tie, and Octorara, in that scenario, would get a three-way slice of the title with a victory over A-C.
3. Week 5 continues with two games on Saturday’s slate: McCaskey at Harrisburg at 1 p.m. and Ephrata at Sun Valley at 7 p.m. The Vanguards — pretty sweet nickname there for Sun Valley — were 1-11 last season, and in 2018, they went to Ohio to take on Washington out of Massillon, and Sun Valley lost that game 101-6. Sorry good people of Aston, but that’s not a misprint. The Vanguards will host the Mounts on Saturday night, as Ephrata was able to add a game when Lebanon had to PPD. … Tall order, as well, for McCaskey, which gets a Cougars’ club coming off D3 titles in 2016 and 2018, plus a semifinal appearance last year. Harrisburg is trying to wedge in four games before the D3 playoff cutoff date of Oct. 26. McCaskey will be the Cougars’ second game. They’ve reportedly added a third game — get this — on Tuesday vs. Williamsport. That would leave Harrisburg five days after that to play one more game to become postseason eligible. McCaskey, meanwhile, is out to snap a 21-game losing slide, and the Tornado picked up this game when Penn Manor had to PPD because of positive COVID-19 tests in the district. It’s been a strange, real-life Week 5.
FYI: 8-2 with the Friday picks, whiffing on Conestoga Valley and Manheim Township.