The time is here! It’s playoff time. The past ten weeks now equal a hill of beans seeing that it’s win or go home from here on out. Eleven L-L teams scattered from Classes AA-AAA made the District 3 playoffs.
Let’s check out the matchups and make some predictions.
Think you can predict the games better than I can? Prove it and win some prizes with the GameTimePA District 3 football bracket contest.
THE GAME: No.5 Newport (8-2) at No. 4 Annville Cleona (8-2)
THE WINNER: Annville-Cleona
THE REASON: The Dutchmen played a good amount of Class AAA teams throughout the season and will be properly prepared heading into the playoffs. While the Buffaloes average over a touchdown more than Annville-Cleona on offense (41 ppg to 33ppg), the Dutchmen have had better defensive performances and have the advantage of making Newport drive 50 miles to Annville. I like the Dutchmen to advance.
THE GAME: No.9 Garden Spot (7-3) at no. 8 Manheim Central (7-3)
THE WINNER: Manheim Central
THE REASON: Yes, Garden Spot won the regular season matchup. Yes, Manheim Central could be without their starting quarterback Tony Staffieri after he was carted off the field last week. But there are plenty of reasons I’m going with Manheim Central. The Barons got linebacker Justin, who is a tackling machine, back last week after missing the majority of the regular season (including the Garden Spot game). Central also got receiver Dan Wiederrecht back after he missed the first nine games of the season. While Staffieri could be out, the Barons are a run-heavy offense that will rely heavily on speedster Damon Camacho and the bulldozing Moreno. I see Mike Williams final season extending at least one more week.
THE GAME: No.13 Conrad Weiser (6-4) at No. 4 Northern Lebanon (9-1)
THE WINNER: Conrad Weiser
THE REASON: Here’s my upset pick. While the Vikings sport an impressive record, many of those wins came against lower level teams. Meanwhile, Conrad Weiser has defeated AAA playoff team Daniel Boone and AAAA playoff qualifier Exeter. The Scouts have also hung tough with Class AAA no. 6 Gettysburg. Something tells me that Conrad Weiser won’t be intimidated by the higher seeding of Northern Lebanon and will leave with a win.
THE GAME: No.12 Solanco (6-4) at No. 5 Red Land (7-3)
THE WINNER: Red Land
THE REASON: The Mules are the feel-good story of the 2014 season. They run the ball well, they play solid defense and they are definitely battle-tested. That being said, I’m going with the home team because Red Land averages over 28 points per game and sports an above average defense. However, I’ll give Solanco a chance if they can successfully play the possession game and limit the Patriots’ offensive opportunities. Either way, it’s great to see Solanco in the playoffs.
THE GAME: No.10 East Pennsboro (8-2) at No. 7 Cocalico (7-3)
THE WINNER: Cocalico
THE REASON: The Eagles are a highly streaky team with a very boom-or-bust veer offense. Cocalico has the ability to beat anyone in this bracket but they also have the ability to lose to anyone in this bracket. I still think they get the job done at home against the Panthers, who sport a solid offense but haven’t been tested the way Cocalico has. Don’t expect the trip to Denver to shake the Panthers though; they are undefeated this year (5-0) on the road.
THE GAME: No.14 Daniel Boone (6-4) at No. 3 Lampeter-Strasburg (8-2)
THE WINNER: Lampeter-Strasburg
THE REASON: L-S is riding high after claiming the Section Two title last week and I expect them to keep the momentum rolling this week. The Pioneers don’t have any glaring weakness and can chip away at their opponents with an array of weapons. With an experienced and playmaking quarterback like Collin “Bear” Shank, I don’t expect the Pioneers to make a super early exit from the playoffs.
THE GAME: No.15 Donegal (7-3) at No. 2 West York (9-1)
THE WINNER: West York
THE REASON: The surprise of Donegal’s Wing-T offense could throw off West York in the early goings of this matchup but I fully expect Bulldogs to catch on by the second quarter and take control with an offense that averaged over 45 points per game.
THE GAME: No.16 Carlisle (5-5) at No.1 Wilson (10-0)
THE WINNER: Wilson
THE REASON: This is kind of where we expected Wilson to be sitting a couple months ago and with their dominating lines on both sides of the ball and more than formidable tailbacks Shane Dantzler and Tim Whitmoyer, I expect the Bulldogs to control the ball, clock and ultimately, the score. My confidence in Wilson isn’t shaken despite their less-than-Wilson performance against Warwick last week.
THE GAME: No.9 Exeter (8-2) at No. 4 Manheim Township (7-3)
THE WINNER: Exeter
THE REASON: This is a coin flip for me. These teams are statistically identical as far points scored and points allowed. I’m going with the Eagles because of their X-factor quarterback Chase Yocum, who rushed and passed for over 1000 yards and has accounted for 33 total touchdowns. Naturally, if Township can contain Yocum, they will be in a great position to win.
THE GAME: No.12 Hempfield (6-4) at No. 5 Dallastown (9-1)
THE WINNER: Dallastown
THE REASON: Hempfield has had a roller coaster season after beating good teams like Lampeter-Strasburg and Manheim Central only to suffer a three-game losing streak in the middle of the season. Of the Knights’ four losses this year, three of them have come on the road which makes the trip to Dallastown even more challenging. While Hempfield has a lot of talent, it will all have to click together if they want to upend the Wildcats at home.
THE GAME: No.10 Penn Manor (6-4) at No. 7 Cumberland Valley (8-2)
THE WINNER: Cumberland Valley
THE REASON: The Comets had all the tools to make a successful playoff run this year but they suffered a brutal amount of injuries down the stretch and there are a number of players who could be missing when they make the trip To Cumberland Valley. The players stepping in got a crash course last week after Penn Manor fell to Cedar Crest and the Comets will have to really rise to the occasion to get a road win against the Eagles, who allow just 10 points per game.