It’s crunch time in the L-L and though some section races are coming to an end, some teams are still clinging to their district playoff hopes. This week is full of interesting matchups that will make/break some teams’ seasons while others will just try to play spoiler. After all, misery loves company.
LAST WEEK: 9-3
THE GAME: Penn Manor (7-1) at Wilson (8-0)
THE WINNER: Wilson
THE REASON: The Bulldogs can wrap up a sixth straight Section One title on Friday with a win over the second-place Comets. While Penn Manor has looked like a team on a mission since losing to Lancaster Catholic on September 27, it’s just too hard to pick against a team that has won 41 straight section games. Expect a heavy dose of dual-threat back Charlie Bell for Penn Manor while Wilson will likely go with their balanced attack of senior QB Matt Timochenko and hard-nosed tailback John Raifsnider.
THE GAME: Lancaster Catholic (3-5) at Cedar Crest (3-5)
THE WINNER: Lancaster Catholic
THE REASON: Lancaster Catholic’s slim chance at a section title suffered a fatal blow last week after losing to Hempfield, 40-26. However, the Crusaders need to get back in the win column to feel better about their district playoff hopes. Expect Catholic to come out full of energy and anger on the road.
THE GAME: Hempfield (5-3) at Warwick (3-5)
THE WINNER: Hempfield
THE REASON: According to his twitter account, Hempfield QB Mike Edwards is a little under the weather which will be something to watch as game day draws near. Regardless, I’m still going with Hempfield to win on the road because of their ability to control the line of scrimmage. Meanwhile, Warwick is coming off a bad loss to Penn Manor and has lost four of their last five games.
THE GAME: Manheim Township (4-4) at McCaskey (0-8)
THE WINNER: Manheim Township
THE REASON: Both teams have something to play for albeit for completely different reasons. Township technically still has a shot at playoffs while McCaskey is trying to notch at least one win while potentially playing spoiler against Township this week and Lancaster Catholic next week. While neither teams’ offense is going to blow you away, Township does sport a much better defense and has actually been successful on the road this season.
THE GAME: Conestoga Valley (2-6) at Manheim Central (8-0)
THE WINNER: Manheim Central
THE REASON: It’s hard to predict a Manheim Central hiccup here. Although the Buckskins have been playing better, Central at home is going to be way too much for CV to handle. The Barons defense has only given up 20 or more points once this year while the Buckskins offense has only scored more than 20 points once this year. This should be all Central.
THE GAME: Cocalico (6-1) at Elizabethtown (3-5)
THE WINNER: Cocalico
THE REASON: Eagles QB Jhet Janis put up video game-like numbers last week against Lampeter-Strasburg when he scored five touchdowns and intercepted three balls on defense. Although Cocalico made some mental errors in the game, their sheer talent was enough to put them on top. Expect the same against an E-Town team that is averaging less than 20 points per game.
THE GAME: Lampeter-Strasburg (4-4) at Lebanon (5-3)
THE WINNER: Lampeter-Strasburg
THE REASON: For three quarters last week, L-S gave Cocalico all they could handle before “The Jhet Janis Show” commenced. Before last week, the Pioneers scored over 30 points in five straight weeks and although Lebanon was able to defeat Conestoga Valley, 34-14 last week, the Cedars defense has some serious question marks. I’ll give the edge to L-S.
THE GAME: Solanco (1-7) at Ephrata (0-8)
THE WINNER: Solanco
THE REASON: I haven’t picked either of these teams to win a game yet so something has to give this week. The Mules finally got in the win column last week with a 28-7 victory over Elizabethtown while the Mountaineers continued their skid after a 65-0 loss to Manheim Central. Ephrata has been outscored, 113-0 in the past two weeks which included a 48-0 loss to Elizabethtown whom Solanco just beat. Normally, I’m not the deductive reasoning type but I’ll use that formula for this week and go with the Mules to tally win no. 2.
THE GAME: Northern Lebanon (2-6) at Donegal (5-3)
THE WINNER: Donegal
THE REASON: The first place Indians’ loss to Schuylkill Valley last week had no effect on their control of Section Three but it did shake up their district playoff hopes. Donegal should be able to jumpstart their running game this week against a Vikings defense that giving up over 30 points per game.
THE GAME: Columbia (3-5) at Garden Spot (6-2)
THE WINNER: Garden Spot
THE REASON: The Spartans won’t be able to repeat as Section Three champs but may be able to squeak into the district playoffs by winning their last two games. There are similar conditions for the Crimson Tide who need to essentially run the table to get into the Class-A playoffs. Unfortunately for Columbia, Garden Spot’s offense has too much firepower for them to keep up with.
THE GAME: Annville-Cleona (3-5) at Elco (3-5)
THE WINNER: Annville-Cleona
THE REASON: The Dutchmen rattled off their third straight win last week after defeating Pequea Valley, 34-18. With three of their five losses being a touchdown or less differential, A-C is a better team than their record insinuates. The Dutchmen still have some hope for districts so look for them to fly high against Elco who gives up almost 40 points per game.
THE GAME:Hamburg (4-4) at Pequea Valley (3-5)
THE WINNER: Pequea Valley
THE REASON: Pequea Valley’s “drive for five” is on life support after losing five straight games. Unfortunately for the Braves, I don’t see a .500 season for them in 2013 with a game with Garden Spot looming next week. However, I do see them having a good chance this week to upend Hamburg who is on their own three-game losing streak. The Hawks have only managed 26 points in their last three games and will be heading into Kinzers for the Braves’ final home game of the season. I think Pequea Valley’s “drive for five” stays alive for one more week.