It was a rough first week of the playoffs for L-L teams as six of eleven qualifying teams were eliminated.
With five teams still alive, the tests will only get tougher as they look to advance to the District 3 semifinals. Let’s break em’ down and predict some winners.
THE GAME: No. 8 Manheim Township (8-3) at No. 1 Wilson (11-0)
THE WINNER: Wilson
THE REASON: The Bulldogs struggled early last week but were able to defeat no. 16 Carlisle, 21-7 while the Streaks rolled over no. 9 Exeter by a score of 45-14. In their regular season Section One matchup, Wilson took a 28-14 decision over Township and while I think it will only be a one-score game, I still like the Bulldogs in this game. Both teams have stingy defenses so points could be a premium and a late turnover could be the deciding factor.
THE GAME: No. 12 Hempfield (7-4) at No. 4Central Dauphin East (9-2)
THE WINNER: Hempfield
THE REASON: The Knights pulled the 36-21 upset over no. 5 Dallastown last week and I like their run to continue for at least another week. Hempfield has a more explosive offense than CD East and has a good enough defense to keep the Panthers in check. While their record is impressive, CD East has played in seven games decided by a touchdown or less so far this season (including last week’s playoff game) so there’s no reason to expect a blowout in either direction.
THE GAME: No. 8 Manheim Central (8-3) at No. 1 Bishop McDevitt (11-0)
THE WINNER: Bishop McDevitt
THE REASON: Central had a record-breaking performance last week with a 72-24 shellacking of no. 9 Garden Spot but I don’t think anyone expects a similar performance this week against the Crusaders in a rematch of last year’s District 3 championship game. The Barons have a great one-two punch in the backfield with speedy Damon Camacho and bulldozing fullback Justin Moreno, which accounted for seven touchdowns (Camacho with two and Moreno with five) last week. Central will have to try to keep the McDevitt offense (which averages nearly 40 points per game) off the field to limit possessions. I’ll give the Barons a puncher’s chance if they can put together their best game of the season but I still have to pick the Crusaders in this one.
THE GAME: No. 7 Cocalico (8-3) at No. 2 West York (10-1)
THE WINNER: West York
THE REASON: The Eagles rolled over East Pennsboro, 35-0 last week but they are running into an offensive juggernaut in West York this Friday. Using the hurry-up system, the Bulldogs are averaging over 45 points per game while allowing just 12.8. To stay in this game, it will be the Cocalico defense that will have to step up and create some turnovers to limit West York’s opportunities with the football. Like I have said in the past; I think Cocalico can beat just about anyone (sans McDevitt) in this bracket but they need to play up to their potential. In this case, I think West York will score enough points to outlast the Eagles.