Ask and you shall receive.
Friday’s District Three Class-AAA championship game between Manheim Central (13-0) and Bishop McDevitt (12-1) is the matchup that many football fans in central Pennsylvania have wanted to see since before the season started in late August.
While the stage is set for the heavyweight bout, Manheim Central could be limping into Friday’s game without some key pieces. Barons coach Mike Williams acknowledged his team’s injuries Friday night but wasn’t swayed in his mentality heading into this weekend.
"Maybe we'll be a little intimidated because it's Bishop McDevitt and we may not have one or two of our best players but we'll pull together and give them a battle. Don't worry."
The Barons took care of business at home last week by downing rival Cocalico, 42-20 but lost quarterback Colin Fry in the second quarter to a shoulder injury. Fry was seen wearing a shoulder sling on the sidelines and later went to get x-rays. Though his status for Friday is uncertain, Williams said after the game last Friday that Fry “would probably be doubtful”.
If Fry cannot play on Friday, junior Anthony Staffieri will get the nod at quarterback. On his first play from scrimmage last week, Staffieri took a quarterback keeper four yards for a touchdown.
"It's a great opportunity for Tony. He'll get a lot of work next week and it's a good chance to get a lot of experience for next year," Williams said after Friday’s game. "I thought he did great."
“I have a lot of reps with the varsity every day at practice so I was pretty comfortable," Staffieri said on Friday.
Wide receiver Daniel Wiederrecht also was injured last week when he landed hard on his back and had to leave the game. Wiederrecht could return to action this Friday but may not be at 100 percent.
One keystone to the Barons offense that doesn’t have any questions marks is tailback Marc Royer who exploded for 250 yards against the Eagles while eclipsing 2000 for the season. If Fry can’t go on Friday, expect Royer and fellow tailback Ian Hanselman to carry a very heavy load against the Crusaders who are only allowing 17.5 points per game.
“We’re going to have some players injured but we need to push through it and be ready to play,” Royer said Friday night.
While the Barons offense may be lacking some firepower this week, it’s their defense that is truly going to be tested when they line up against a Crusaders offense that averages over 40 points per game.
Junior Andrew Robinson will be the main player the Central defense needs to key in on. The powerful tailback has rushed for over 1800 yards this season and is part of a dynamic one-two backfield punch with senior Rashad Lawson. The two backs have combined for 41 rushing touchdowns this season.
While the McDevitt running game is more than impressive, the Barons can’t look past Crusaders junior quarterback Nick Marsilio who has passed for over 2000 yards and 26 touchdowns this season.
Given the circumstances, the betting man would probably go with Bishop McDevitt on Friday night. The Barons are beat up but if they can get Royer and Hanselson firing on all cylinders, the possible loss of Fry won’t be as evident.
As convenient and cliché as it may sound, Friday’s title game could truly come down to who creates a well-timed turnover and capitalizes on it. Either way, fans should expect a physical display of championship football.