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The weather is getting colder but the L-L football scene is just heating up. Some teams are already mapping out playoffs positioning while others are trying to stay in the chase. This week is a “make or break” for more than one team around the L-L.

Last week’s record: 10-2

Overall record: 68-21

THE GAME: Lancaster Catholic (2-4) at Lebanon (2-4)

THE WINNER: Lancaster Catholic

THE REASON: The Crusaders dropped a 24-3 game to Manheim Central last week but they weren’t without their opportunities. Some costly turnovers and a blocked field kept Catholic from getting back into the game but I expect them to tighten some things up this week and throw in some other changes on offense to jumpstart some momentum. If Catholic has any kind of playoff aspirations, this game is an absolute must-win.

THE GAME: Manheim Central (5-1) at Lampeter-Strasburg (5-1)

THE WINNER: Lampeter-Strasburg

THE REASON: This is the heavyweight fight people have been looking forward to. Both the Barons and Pioneers enter this game with 5-1 records and are undefeated in section play. Without some of their key players, Central is sporting a relatively vanilla offense but that should be taken as an insult. Tailback Darren Camacho rushed 30 times for 134 yards last week vs Lancaster Catholic while the defense allowed just three points. Meanwhile, the Pioneers come into the game with perhaps the most imposing QB in Section Two in Collin “Bear” Shank. After some shootouts early in the season, the L-S defense has tightened up and has allowed just three points in the last two weeks. While there will be a contrast in offense this week, there will not be a contrast in physicality. I’m giving L-S a slight edge because of their dynamic offense and they’re playing in front of their home crowd.

THE GAME: Donegal (4-2) at Pequea Valley (3-3)

THE WINNER: Pequea Valley

THE REASON: Just when I think I’m out, they suck me back in. I’ve picked Pequea Valley in every game so far this year and I swore that I would stop that trend if they lost last week. Well, the Braves took care of Colombia, 33-0 so they have bought another week from me. Just so you don’t think this is just a throwaway pick, I do have my reasons. This game is in Kinzers and the Braves have enough dimensions on offense to keep pace with the Indians. In the short time I’ve known Coach Mike Choi; I believe he’ll have his team ready for perhaps their biggest game of the year.

THE GAME: Elizabethtown (0-6) at Cocalico (4-2)

THE WINNER: Cocalico

THE REASON: The Eagles got their groove back last week with a 42-13 win over previously undefeated Garden Spot. Don’t expect them to fall off this week against E-Town, who is allowing 34 points per game and has only scored double digit points twice this season. The Eagles should fly high here.

THE GAME: Hempfield (3-3) at Cedar Crest (1-5)

THE WINNER: Hempfield

THE REASON: Hempfield is on a three-game skid after starting the season 3-0 with some impressive wins over L-S and Manheim Central. However, the Knights have are averaging just ten points per game in the last three weeks and desperately need a shot in the arm on offense. A matchup with the Falcons may do just that. Cedar Crest is allowing 35.8 points per game and hasn’t scored more than 14 points since week one.

THE GAME: Wilson (6-0) at Conestoga Valley (2-4)

THE WINNER: Wilson

THE REASON: Aside from all the obvious reasons why the Bulldogs should be favored in this game is the fact that a win on Friday for Wilson would give head coach Doug Dahms his 100th career victory in just nine years as head coach (stat provided high school football specialist and Clarion grad Josh Funk). I’m not saying that little factoid is going to further motivate the Bulldogs but in all likelihood, we should see some history Friday night.

THE GAME: Ephrata (0-6) at Columbia (1-5)

THE WINNER: Columbia

THE REASON: This game may be the best shot for either to notch a win for the rest of the season. I have to roll with the Crimson Tide here simply because they have shown that they can score points even if they are losing. Ephrata has been outscored, 309-6 so far in 2014.

THE GAME: Warwick (2-4) at JP McCaskey (2-4)

THE WINNER: McCaskey

THE REASON: The Red Tornado has shown a serious competitive edge in the past two weeks with a blowout win over Hempfield and a thwarted comeback against Penn Manor. It looks as though things are starting to gel on both sides of the ball for McCaskey, which should be scary for Warwick given all the playmakers on the Red Tornado sideline.

THE GAME: Manheim Township (4-2) at Penn Manor (5-1)

THE WINNER: Penn Manor

THE REASON: Both teams are entering this game undefeated in Section One play and are riding active winning streaks. The Comets will have to key in on stopping Streaks QB Erik Benjamin who has passed for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns so far. I’m giving an edge to Penn Manor though because it seems like they can be more two-dimensional on offense and adapt to the flow of the game. This should be another physical brawl.

THE GAME: Garden Spot (5-1) at Solanco (3-3)

THE WINNER: Garden Spot

THE REASON: The Spartans finally tasted defeat last week after getting shellacked by Cocalico and now must make the trek to Quarryville to take on the Mules who are in the playoff discussion for the first time in a long time. While Garden Spot will have to handle the initial Solanco home adrenaline rush, they should be able to control the ball as long as they limit their turnovers. If they can’t do that though, the Mules have a shot with their formidable run game.

Lebanon County Pick:

Kutztown at Annville-Cleona

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