Solanco’s Grady Unger breaks a tackle from Conestoga Valley’s Derek Ulishney during a L-L League Section Two contest at Solanco High School on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.

Here is what we learned from this weekend’s Lancaster-Lebanon League Week 5 football games, as told by LNP/LancasterOnline reporters who covered all the action:


CEDAR CREST: The Falcons’ offense continued to fire on all cylinders as they piled up nearly 500 yards and matched their season scoring average with 34 points en route to staying undefeated in their win over Hempfield. Starting RB Tyler Cruz shined behind an outstanding all-around run blocking effort from the offensive line and receivers. Defensively, Cedar Crest had two takeaways and it limited Hempfield’s dual-threat quarterback, Tanner Hess, to 146 yards of total offense. — Will Welliver

HEMPFIELD: The Black Knights used a late first-half touchdown to jump-start an effort that saw the Hempfield twice pull within a touchdown of the lead in the second half of its loss at Cedar Crest. Tanner Hess threw for two touchdowns and Anthony Droege added one on the ground, but the offense was sidelined for much of the fourth quarter, trailing by six, as the defense couldn’t get the stop it needed during the Falcons’ 15-play, 8:01 fourth-quarter touchdown drive that sent Hempfield to its fourth straight defeat. — Will Welliver

MANHEIM TOWNSHIP: The Blue Streaks’ defense is still really good. Manheim Township held Cocalico to 93 rushing yards in Friday’s 56-7 win. The Eagles’ Veer offense came in averaging 266 rushing yards a game. The Streaks are holding opponents to 132 total yards a game, and have allowed just 182 rushing yards all season, both league-best marks. They’ve also only given up 34 total points, the second-best mark in the league, trailing only Warwick (33). Manheim Township also wasn’t fazed by playing on grass, perhaps because Blue Streaks’ coach Mark Evans said afterward his bunch purposely practices on grass every Wednesday. Up next is a trip to Berks County for the L-L League Section 1 bout at rival Wilson. — John Walk

McCASKEY: The Red Tornado suffered its fifth consecutive loss on Friday at the hands of Warwick, 49-6. While starters Matthew Remash (8-of-16 for 46 yards with two interceptions) and Donovan Trowery (seven carries for 15 yards) couldn't kick-start McCaskey’s offense, sophomore Shaliam Montalvo (2-of-3 for 52 yards), junior Da-Vion Scarborough (two catches for 52 yards), and junior Jayon Burnside (five catches for 51 yards) did show promise under fire. — Kyle Kutz

PENN MANOR: The Comets faced a tall task on Friday when unbeaten Wilson came to Millersville. But Penn Manor kept throwing haymakers until the bitter end. In fact, the Comets had an early 8-3 lead, and made the Bulldogs earn every inch before Wilson walked away with a 51-24 victory. Yes, that’s four losses in a row for Penn Manor. But unlike last week, when the Comets couldn’t generate anything against Manheim Township, Penn Manor pushed ahead for nearly 200 total yards and three scores against the Bulldogs. So the Comets’ offense appears to be turning the corner. — Jeff Reinhart

WARWICK: The Warriors remained undefeated after a 49-6 rout of McCaskey in Week Five. The usual suspects — QB Joey McCracken, RB Colton Miller and WR Caleb Schmitz — combined for six total touchdowns, while the Warriors' defense forced two key interceptions, courtesy of linebacker David Hnasko and safety Adam Martin. Without a doubt, Warwick will head into its third consecutive Section 1 matchup, next Friday at home against unbeaten Cedar Crest, with a full head of steam. — Kyle Kutz

WILSON: The Bulldogs took care of Penn Manor by a 51-24 count for their fifth win in a row out of the chute this season. It was career victory No. 150 for coach Doug Dahms. He needs one more win to tie John Gurski for the most coaching victories in program history, so he can do it next Friday, when fellow unbeaten power Manheim Township comes to West Lawn for a much-anticipated Section 1 showdown. And a tip of the hat to longtime Wilson defensive coordinator Ernie Wolber, who picked up his 200th career victory as a member of the Bulldogs’ staff. — Jeff Reinhart



COCALICO: The previously undefeated Eagles hung with Manheim Township through the first quarter. And though they trailed 28-7 at halftime, two of the Blue Streaks’ first-half touchdowns came on a short field following Cocalico fumbles. Perhaps the outcome wouldn’t have changed, but clean up the turnovers and maybe the score wouldn’t have been as lopsided as the 56-7 loss to Manheim Township. Regardless, Cocalico will have to regroup for L-L League Section 2 rival Manheim Central on the road next Friday. And in case you missed it, the Eagles are a bit dinged up, as FB Austin Vang left early in the first half Friday with a right knee injury, while QB/safety Noah Palm and RB Ronald Zahm left early in the second half and were both limping after the game. — John Walk

CONESTOGA VALLEY: Exhale, Witmer. After a couple of close calls, the Buckskins finally cracked the W column on Saturday night with a 42-28 victory at Solanco. Jaiyell Plowden had an 88-yard kick return for a TD, Bradley Stoltzfus passed for 190 yards with three TD tosses — two to Zach Fisher — and Derek Ulishney had a TD grab and he intercepted a pass for the Bucks, who snapped an 8-game losing skid. Yes, Solanco’s ground-and-pound triple-option attack still managed 400-plus yards. But CV hung in there defensively, and made key stops when the game was still very much in the balance. “We’ve tried to change some things, and we’ve talked to the kids a lot about changing things,” CV coach Gerad Novak said after the win over the Mules. “So a game like this is where you see those kids, those seniors who have been listening to us for the last couple of years, now they’re getting the mental part of the game. And some good things happened here for us, for sure.” — Jeff Reinhart

ELIZABETHTOWN: In freshman Josh Rudy and sophomore Patrick Gilhool, the future looks bright for the Bears at the quarterback position, with a pair of strong-armed young passers. Gilhool didn't start in the loss to Manheim Central on Friday, and he didn’t play against Cocalico in Week 4 due to an injury. But he returned to play in the second half against the Barons and went 6-of-13 for 40 yards in the loss. Elizabethtown, though, will be looking to tighten things up a bit with their pass defense moving forward after yielding 382 yards through the air against the Barons. — Bruce Morgan

GARDEN SPOT: There’s still some fight in New Holland. Trailing 48-0 to visiting Lampeter-Strasburg on Friday night, the Spartans exited halftime and promptly went 83 yards in just five plays against the Pioneers’ second-team defense — all runs by bruising RB John Dykie, all of which went 10-plus yards. Safe to say the Spartans have a formula. It’s just a matter of getting bigger, stronger and more experienced in order to compete against some of the top-flight programs in the league. — Daryl Simione

LAMPETER-STRASBURG: The Pioneers love to grind out wins. But this season they haven’t had to, with big plays coming in both the run and passing game. And in Friday’s Week 5 victory over Garden Spot, the Pioneers received an electric, 69-yard punt return from newcomer Donovan Jackson to spark the early rout. “Donovan does a nice job,” said L-S coach John Manion of the transfer from Tennessee. “We were having trouble catching punts, then we put him in there and all of a sudden he had the one tonight, and he also had one he was close to breaking last week as well.” — Daryl Simione

MANHEIM CENTRAL: Not only did the Barons win their 19th straight Section 2 game in a row on Friday in a convincing 54-6 win over Elizabethtown, but senior quarterback Evan Simon passed for 357 yards and he moved ahead of Jeff Smoker as the program's all-time passing-yard leader with 6,303 career yards. That was all part of a solid all-around effort from the Barons, as they piled up 547 yards of total offense, with senior Colby Wagner grabbing 16 receptions — believed to be an L-L League single-game record — for 232 yards, and the defense limited the Bears to minus-25 yards on the ground and 96 total yards. — Bruce Morgan

SOLANCO: Grady Unger is the Mules’ latest option-whiz QB. He was fantastic on Saturday night against Conestoga Valley, bolting for 181 yards on 25 keepers, including a TD run. Alas, Solanco dropped a 42-28 decision vs. the Bucks. But Unger managed the game, knowing when to keep it, when to hand it off to the league’s leading rusher, FB Nick Yannutz, who rumbled for 85 yards and three touchdowns, and when to pitch it to speed backs like Ronnie Fulton and Rashawn Carter. Penalties and the failure to convert on fourth down four separate times ultimately stung Solanco on Saturday. But in Unger, the Mules have a solid field general. — Jeff Reinhart


ANNVILLE-CLEONA: The Little Dutchmen scored on offense, defense and special teams in a 70-43 victory over Columbia. The special teams score was what put A-C at the 70 mark, as Tyler Long ran back an 81-yard kickoff to hit the milestone. That also set up Macrae Plummer for his 10th extra point in 10 tries. The defensive score was a 30-yard interception return by Dylan Scheer in the second quarter. — Dave Bohr

COLUMBIA: If anything positive can be taken from a 27-point loss, it is that the Crimson Tide was able to pass the ball effectively in the second half, even when Annville-Cleona knew it was coming. After halftime, down by four scores the whole way, Matt McCleary was 9-for-17 for 234 yards with two touchdowns. Ryan Redding had 158 receiving yards in the fourth quarter alone. — Dave Bohr

DONEGAL: After taking an early punch from Ephrata on Friday night, the Indians’ defense responded and pitched a second-half shutout. While Donegal was the recipient of five Ephrata turnovers, the Indians played a clean game. “We turned the ball over three times last week (in a 35-24 win at Lebanon), but we fixed that this week at practice,” Donegal coach Chad Risberg said. “We didn’t turn it over this week, which is a good thing.” — Joel Schreiner

ELCO: It’s more about what we didn’t learn about the Raiders that bears discussion. We still don’t know if they can throw the ball if they have to. Quarterback Braden Bohannon only put the ball in the air four times against Northern Lebanon. Two were completions for long gains. One was picked off. Bohannon appeared to have a nice touch on the ball and RB Erik Williams, who had both the catches, is dangerous after the catch. But that is a small sample size, and looking at the season, Bohannon has only put the ball in the air 24 times through five games. Bohannon is the leading rusher in Section 3, but Elco is last in the section in passing yards. To keep their two-game win streak going, and to finish with a winning record, somewhere along the line the Raiders will need to show they can throw the ball when the defense puts eight guys in the box to stop the run. — Chris Courogen

EPHRATA: The Mountaineers must rebound from a mistake-filled loss to Donegal. After turning the ball over only four times in the first four games, Ephrata gave it away five times against the Indians, while also allowing a fake punt to go for a first down and they had a PAT blocked. “We have to move on,” Mounts’ coach Kris Miller said. — Joel Schreiner

LANCASTER CATHOLIC: The Crusaders have the size, the athletes, the pedigree and certainly the coaching to win the L-L League Section 3 title and make the postseason. But when the Crusaders have struggled this year, the errors have been largely unforced, and this group isn't always explosive enough to erase mistakes. Ball protection and special teams have to, and can, get better. — Mike Gross

LEBANON: The Cedars are one of those new-age football teams for which hoary old notions like field position and down-and-distance don’t mean much. The big play is out there, and the fast, explosive Cedars keep searching for it. The difference with his Lebanon edition is a couple of old-school hitters — LB Andrew Bowers is at the head of this class — who nobody pushes around. — Mike Gross

NORTHERN LEBANON: What has been readily apparent in back-to-back losses to Annville-Cleona and Elco is that the Vikings have simply been out-manned. It’s not a lack of skill players; QB Ethan Borcky probably deserves some attention from Division III college coaches. Northern Lebanon has a solid set of receivers and RB Chase Bressler is a patch-catching weapon out of the backfield. But up front the Vikings, who have just 22 players on their roster, have simply not been big enough or strong enough, on either side of the ball, to compete. They are hoping that changes next week at Pequea Valley, where the Vikings will try to end their nine-game losing streak. The Braves, who have a 15-game losing streak of their own, and Northern Lebanon are cut from the same cloth. The Vikings, no doubt, are looking forward to playing against somebody their own size.  — Chris Courogen

OCTORARA: After a low-scoring game at Elco last week, Octorara's offense got back in sync to defend the Brave Bowl title on Friday. The Braves ran through Pequea Valley's defense for 311 rushing yards, as the line created big holes for Logan Forte and Jansen Schempp, who each scored twice, while the defense scooped up a fumble and had an interception. While the scoring surges have come every other week this season, Octorara will need to keep the momentum going, or the Braves will have their hands full at section leader Donegal in Week 6. — Diana Pugliese

PEQUEA VALLEY: The struggle continued for the Braves on Friday with another lopsided loss. On their nine possessions, five ended with a punt, one on a turnover on downs and two on turnovers, before Antonio Lazar capped off a six-play drive with a touchdown in the fourth quarter. There were bright spots, however, including a 49-yard keeper from QB Collin Bailey in the second half. Given a more protection — Bailey was sacked four times for a loss of 33 yards — Pequea Valley could snap its losing streak at home against winless Northern Lebanon next week. — Diana Pugliese

More LNP L-L League football coverage