We got our first taste of section play last week and even though it’s still early in the season, there are some teams who could be feeling the pressure of a “must-win” situation this week.
Last week’s record: 9-3
Overall record: 49-16
THE GAME: Pequea Valley (2-2) at Northern Lebanon (3-1)
THE WINNER: Pequea Valley
THE REASON: I’m not jumping off the Braves bandwagon quite yet. Pequea Valley has been in every game and is a play or two away from being 4-0 rather than 2-0. I expect a better defensive effort from the Braves this week while running the ball effectively on offense.
THE GAME: Solanco (2-2) at Lancaster Catholic (1-3)
THE WINNER: Lancaster Catholic
THE REASON: Everything is telling me to pick the Mules in this matchup. They’ve proven they can close out games and gave Lampeter-Strasburg all they could handle last week while Crusaders coach Bruce Harbach was about as upset with his team’s performance against Garden Spot as a coach can possibly be. While I think Solanco is going to be able to run the ball very well this week, something is telling me that Crusaders are going to come into this game with a lot of rage. This game will speak volumes about Lancaster Catholic’s character and even more about the direction the 2014 season will head in.
THE GAME: Manheim Central (3-1) at Lebanon (2-2)
THE WINNER: Manheim Central
THE REASON: The Barons have allowed just three points in the past two weeks and I look for that trend to continue this week. Throw in the fact that Lebanon gave up 63 points to Cocalico last week and it makes it rather easy to take Manheim Central in this matchup.
THE GAME: Lampeter-Strasburg (3-1) at Cocalico (3-1)
THE WINNER: Cocalico
THE REASON: Both teams come into this game with three wins but they have gone about it in completely different ways. While Cocalico cruised in their three wins, the Pioneers scraped and clawed their way to their winning record. These teams match up well when it comes to talent but L-S is going to have to play a complete game on defense to contain Cocalico’s veer offense that has the potential to score every play.
THE GAME: Elizabethtown (0-4) at Garden Spot (4-0)
THE WINNER: Garden Spot
THE REASON: Garden Spot silenced any doubts about their rushing attack last week when they dominated a seemingly bigger Lancaster Catholic defensive line. That spells disaster for E-Town who has given up 70 points in the past two weeks. This game has the potential to be over early if E-Town can’t at least slow down Mitch Martin and company.
THE GAME: Wilson (4-0) at Cedar Crest (1-3)
THE WINNER: Wilson
THE REASON: The Bulldogs racked up 223 yards on the ground against McCaskey last week while quarterback Jake Templin was an efficient 8-of-11 for 111 yards and a touchdown. Look for that pattern to continue and improve this week against the Falcons who are giving up almost 30 points per game.
THE GAME: Conestoga Valley (1-3) at Penn Manor (3-1)
THE WINNER: Penn Manor
THE REASON: Conestoga Valley’s offense is boom-or-bust and if they plan to have any success against a tough Penn Manor defense, they’ll have to find a little more balance. However, the Comets just have too much talent to lose this game at home.
THE GAME: York Suburban (1-3) at Ephrata (0-4)
THE WINNER: York Suburban
THE REASON: The Mounts finally scored some points last week but have been outscored 226-6 through four games. This game may be a good chance for Ephrata to score some points but it’s hard to see them pulling it out.
THE GAME: Hempfield (3-1) at McCaskey (1-3)
THE WINNER: Hempfield
THE REASON: The Knights are coming off a close loss to Penn Manor, which could spell disaster for the Red Tornado. There are plenty of playmakers on both teams but Hempfield has proven that they’re a better well-rounded team. I see this being close in the first quarter or so before Hempfield blows it wide open.
THE GAME: Warwick (2-2) at Manheim Township (2-2)
THE WINNER: Manheim Township
THE REASON: Warwick is riding a two-game winning streak but will face a much stiffer test in Township this Friday. Points may be at a premium in this game but the Streaks have a good enough defense to force Warwick into some risky passing situations early. Look for Township to win the turnover game here.
THE GAME: Columbia (1-3) atDonegal (2-2)
THE WINNER: Donegal
THE REASON: The Indians must have a bad taste in their mouths after their OT loss to Annville-Cleona last week while the Crimson Tide suffered another bad loss to Berks Catholic. Columbia is allowing 38.5 points per game and I imagine that trend will continue this week when they travel to Mount Joy.
LEBANON COUNTY PICK:
Annville-Cleona at Elco
For more L-L picks, check out the Pigskin Picks at the Lebanon Daily News.