John Buffone and Matt Catrillo break down three L-L football matchups for Week 7. Video by John Buffone.
As we enter Week 7, we’re starting to see section and district races formulate. With teams entering the backend of their 2016 campaigns, let’s see if I can catch fire at the right time in my prediction season.
Record last week: 8-3
Overall record: 64-27
Winning percentage: 70%
THE GAME: Pequea Valley (4-2, 1-1) at Lancaster Catholic (3-3, 1-1)
THE WINNER: Pequea Valley
THE REASON: While the Braves are coming off a bye week, the Crusaders are coming off a bounce-back win over Elco.
The bye week has not only given Pequea Valley a week to get healthy, it has also given them two weeks to prepare for Lancaster Catholic.
Expect a good amount of points in this one, however. In their past three games, the Crusaders have given up an average of 33 points and the Braves have given up an average of 30.
I’m taking Pequea Valley in this one because something tells me Braves’ back Connor Horst is going to have a big game.
THE GAME: Hazleton (0-7) at Donegal (3-3, 3-0)
THE WINNER: Donegal
THE REASON: What a three week stretch the Indians. After going winless and pointless in the first three weeks of the season, Donegal has gone on a three-game winning streak in Section Three and will have a good opportunity to get over .500 this Friday when they host winless Hazleton.
Hazleton is giving up over 30 points game while Donegal has been averaging 28 points during their three-game win streak.
Expect the Indians to get the running game humming early in this matchup.
THE GAME: Northern Lebanon (2-4, 1-1) Annville Cleona (5-2, 3-0)
THE WINNER: Annville-Cleona
THE REASON: The Dutchmen are the cream of the crop right now in Section Three and I don’t expect them to slip up against Northern Lebanon this week.
In their last two games, the Vikings have given up 621 yards on the ground, which bodes well for A-C rushers like Cameron Hoch, Victor Hoffer and Dominic MacMillan, who all rushed for over 100 yards and multiple touchdowns last week vs Columbia.
THE GAME: Columbia (0-5, 0-3) at Elco (2-4, 0-3)
THE WINNER: Elco
THE REASON: Both of these teams are searching for their first section win this year and I’m giving the edge to the home team in this one.
In their three section losses, the Raiders have lost by an average of 6.3 points. Look for that to change against a Columbia team that gives up points in bunches.
THE GAME: Cedar Crest (4-2, 2-1) at Solanco (2-4, 1-2)
THE WINNER: Solanco
THE REASON: Sometimes one win can turn around a season. Solanco’s 41-33 win over Lampeter-Strasburg last week to retain the Milk Jug Trophy might have sparked such a movement.
Mules back Eric Hopkins had the game of his life; rushing for 368 yards and five touchdowns and he’ll be looking to have another big game against the Falcons. Last week, Cedar Crest gave up over 300 yards on the ground to Cocalico, who runs a similar offense to Solanco’s.
THE GAME: Cocalico (4-2, 3-0) at Garden Spot (4-2, 2-1)
THE WINNER: Cocalico
THE REASON: The Eagles are firing on all cylinders right now and they’ll hope to keep their momentum going this Friday when they roll into Garden Spot.
The Spartans however, are coming off a 71-point performance against Ephrata and could maybe see the return ov tailback Jahad Jeffers this week.
While this should be another physical, run-heavy Section Two matchup, I like the way Cocalico has been stepping up big defensively the last couple weeks. Defensive back Owen Zimmerman sealed the deal with an interception vs Manheim Central two weeks ago and linebacker Brandon Brubaker had a pick six to ice the game vs Cedar Crest last week.
THE GAME: Ephrata (0-6, 0-3) and Manheim Central (5-1, 2-1)
THE WINNER: Manheim Central
THE REASON: The Barons bounced back with a strong 33-10 win over E-Town last week and their offense should prove to be too much for Ephrata this week.
The Mounts have given up 322 points through six games.
THE GAME: Lampeter-Strasburg (4-2, 1-2) at Elizabethtown (4-2, 1-2)
THE WINNER: E-Town
THE REASON: Needless to say, this is a rather important game to both squads. The loser of this game is likely out of the Section Two race but there are also other things at stake.
L-S is currently in the no. 4 spot in the Class 4A power rankings while E-Town is currently on the outside looking in at no. 12 in Class 5A.
I’m taking the home team in this one, which may be seen as a slight upset.
Both teams have plenty of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball but I like the stability of E-Town quarterback Micah Garber and the Bears’ ability to create turnovers.
THE GAME: Conestoga Valley (4-2, 2-1) at Penn Manor (1-5, 1-2)
THE WINNER: Conestoga Valley
THE REASON: Despite losing 42-13 to Wilson last week, Penn Manor has been showing signs of improvement as the season progresses.
However, it will be hard for them to handle the Buckskins’ well-balanced offense. If they key in on the running game, quarterback Grant Stoltzfus could have a big night and vice versa.
THE GAME: Hempfield (1-5, 1-2) at J.P. McCaskey (2-4, 0-3)
THE WINNER: Hempfield
THE REASON: The Black Knights gave Warwick all they could handle last week in a 31-24 loss and that could be a good launching point headed into Friday night vs McCaskey.
The Red Tornado has given up an average of 44 points per game in section play this season.
THE GAME: Warwick (4-2, 2-1) at Manheim Township (4-2, 2-0)
THE WINNER: Manheim Township
THE REASON: Aside from the Section One implications, both of these teams are trying to angle themselves into the District 3 Class 6A playoffs. Township is currently in at no. 7 but Warwick is close behind at no. 9.
Both squads have quarterbacks than can take over a game with their feet as well as their arm in Warwick’s Tyler Trimarchi and Township’s Luke Emge. Both teams have also flashed in the run game as well.
So why am I picking Township?
Since section play started, the Blue Streaks have allowed just 22 points, including limiting Hempfield to just three points on September 23. Hempfield is the only common opponent Township and Warwick have thus fair.
THE GAME: Wilson (5-1, 3-0) at Lebanon (1-5, 0-3)
THE WINNER: Wilson
THE REASON: The Bulldogs notched their 60th section win in a row last week against Penn Manor and they’ll go for 61 this week when they travel to Lebanon.
They’ll have a good opportunity to do so as Lebanon has yielded 48 points per game in Section One play.