Week 5 is upon us and we are starting to see who the front-runners will be in section play. Last week had its share of upsets but I’m expecting a lot less this Friday. Here are this week’s bold predictions.
Last week: 9-5
THE GAME: Penn Manor (4-0) at Lancaster Catholic (1-3)
THE WINNER: Penn Manor
THE REASON: The Crusaders finally got into the win column last week after a 31-28 victory over Manheim Township but will welcome an undefeated Comets squad that is only allowing 11 points per game and sports a lethal running combination in Levonta Jones and Charlie Bell.
THE GAME: Annville-Cleona (0-4) at Tamaqua (2-2)
THE WINNER: Tamaqua
THE REASON: Three of the Dutchmen’s four losses have been by less than a touchdown so they aren’t your run-of-the-mill 0-4 squad. I’m giving the edge to the Blue Raiders however because of the home field advantage and the slight advantage they have in points per game (25.3 as opposed to AC’s 19.7).
THE GAME: Cedar Crest (2-2) at Wilson (4-0)
THE WINNER: Wilson
THE REASON: The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 167-41 so far this season. This is bad news for the Falcons who have just a +19 point differential so far in 2013.
THE GAME: Conestoga Valley (0-4) at Elizabethtown (1-3)
THE WINNER: Elizabethtown
THE REASON: Neither team is firing on all cylinders here but the Bears at least showed they have the ability to defend their home field after defeating Donegal in week one. E-Town has been outscored 103-7 in the last two weeks but have the upper-hand over the Buckskins who haven’t scored over 16 points in a game yet this season.
THE GAME: Donegal (2-2) at Columbia (2-2)
THE WINNER: Donegal
THE REASON: The Indians gained a huge confidence boost after defeating section rival Garden Spot last week and looked like a different team with senior full back Kris Trimby back in the lineup. Look for another big game of the ground for Donegal this week against the Crimson Tide.
THE GAME: Elco (1-3) at Garden Spot (3-1)
THE WINNER: Garden Spot
THE REASON: The Spartans had their second straight sloppy performance last week against Donegal and had their 13-game regular season win streak snapped. The good news for Garden Spot is they won’t be facing a Wing-T offense that seemingly had them perplexed the past two weeks. I expect the Spartans to come out angry and focused this week at home.
THE GAME: Ephrata (0-4) at Lampeter-Strasburg (2-2)
THE WINNER: Lampeter-Strasburg
THE REASON: After starting the season 0-2, the Pioneers have rattled off two straight road wins and have averaged 35.5 points per game in those victories.Being back at home should help L-S even more against Ephrata who is giving up 38.5 points per game.
THE GAME: Lebanon (3-1) at Manheim Central (4-0)
THE WINNER: Manheim Central
THE REASON: To say the Barons are steamrolling their opponents is an understatement. Manheim Central has outscored their four opponents, 192-43 and the only hope the Cedars have is that the Barons are already looking past them with a trip to Cocalico on the horizon next week.
THE GAME: J.P. McCaskey (0-4) at Hempfield (2-2)
THE WINNER: Hempfield
THE REASON: The Black Knights finally return home after a three-week road trip and should be able to push McCaskey around on the line of scrimmage. The Red Tornado are giving up 37 points per game and haven’t scored more than 15 points on offense thus far.
THE GAME: Manheim Township (2-2) at Warwick (2-2)
THE WINNER: Warwick
THE REASON: Both teams have had highs and lows so far in 2013 but the Warriors have shown that they possess a little more offensive firepower and should be able to take advantage of playing on their home field.
THE GAME: Northern Lebanon (1-3) at Pequea Valley (3-1)
THE WINNER: Pequea Valley
THE REASON: The Braves finally lost last week after falling, 55-36 to Elco. However, Pequea Valley’s first four games have been on the road and they finally are bringing their 3-1 record back to Kinzers on Friday. I expect the Braves to come out with a lot of passion in front of their home crowd and beat the Vikings for the second straight year.
THE GAME: Cocalico (4-0) at Solanco (0-4)
THE WINNER: Cocalico
THE REASON: If you read my outlook for the Manheim Central/Lebanon matchup, simply replace all the “Barons” with “Eagles” and you’ll have my prediction. I hate looking past games but I’m already excited for Cocalico/Manheim Central next Friday.
THE GAME: Palmrya (1-3) at Hershey (3-1)
THE WINNER: Hershey
THE REASON: The Trojans haven’t done anything impressive enough to make me feel super safe about this pick but I’m going to go with the home team against a Cougars squad that has given up 102 more points than they have scored so far.