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There are three L-L football teams remaining in the playoffs and all three have high aspirations of a district title.  Unfortunately for two of those teams, they play each other this week in the semifinal round. Normally I post predictions about who will win each game and why. But with only two games consisting of L-L teams, I’d like to explore how each team can pull off a victory this week.

AAAA

THE GAME: No. 4 Lower Dauphin (11-1) at No. 1 Wilson (12-0)

WINNER PLAYS: The winner of No. 3 Dallastown (10-2) at No. 2 Cumberland Valley (10-2)

HOW WILSON CAN WIN: There isn’t much tweaking to do when you’re undefeated but Wilson certainly isn’t going to waltz their way to victory overa Lower Dauphin team whose only blemish of the season came to Bishop McDevitt over a month ago. The Bulldogs have a very balanced offensive attack where one aspect can pick up the slack if another is lacking. Quarterback Matt Timochenko returned to action last week but only needed to throw 10 passes in Wilson’s 27-0 win over Penn Manor. If the Bulldogs can control the ball and find the weak spot in Lower Dauphin’s defense, they will have enough firepower to win.

HOW LOWER DAUPHIN CAN WIN: Admittedly, I haven’t watched a lot of film on the Falcons this year but their numbers speak for themselves.  Lower Dauphin has six defensive shutouts this season while only allowing over 20 points twice. The key for the Falcons will be getting the Wilson offense off the field. The Bulldogs love to win the “time of possession” game and limit their opponents scoring chances. If Lower Dauphin can create some turnovers, they’ll be in a position to win near the end of the game.

 

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AAA

THE GAME: No. 3 Cocalico (11-1) at No. 2 Manheim Central (12-0

WINNER PLAYS: The winner of No. 4 Conrad Weiser (9-3) vs No. 1 Bishop McDevitt (11-1)

HOW COCALICO CAN WIN: The Eagles fell to the Barons, 24-12 in their October 4 matchup in Denver but will be looking for some redemption this Friday.

"We must play better and be more physical," Cocalico coach Dave Gingrich said earlier this week. "They played better that night and deserved to win. We must limit our mistakes and try to force them into a few."

It will be essential for the Eagle’s to get their veer option offense working early and that means quarterback Jhet Janis will have to be on his A-game when reading defenders. Cocalico can still win if Janis doesn’t put up big numbers as they proved last week when Janis had only 65 yards rushing but fed the ball to tailback Spencer Moser who accumulated 166 rushing yards and three total touchdowns. They won’t be able to have any lulls in focus but they have the tools to win.

HOW MANHEIM CENTRAL CAN WIN: Much like Wilson, there are plenty of ways that undefeated Manheim Central can win this game. Rest assured however, the Barons see nothing simple about this matchup.

"They run the option offense to precision. No one in our area does it better," Central coach Mike Williams said this week. "One missed defensive assignment and they have a big play. (Jhet) Janis and Moser can take it to the house at any time"

While Cocalico may try to out-finesse Central, the Barons may try to line up and smack the Eagles defense in the mouth. Tailback Marc Royer lit up the Eagles for 145 yards in October and eclipsed over 1600 yards in the regular season. If the Barons can wear down some of the Eagles players on defense, they might not have as much explosion on offense.

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