L-L Football playoff preview
Nine L-L teams entered the district playoffs last weekend and five were able to survive. This week, however, there are guaranteed to be at least two teams go home with two head-to-head L-L matchups. Let’s check out the three games this Friday.
No. 5 Hempfield (9-2) at No. 4 Manheim Township (9-2)
It’s only right that these teams play again in the playoffs. Township’s 28-14 victory over the Black Knights in Week 10 ultimately gave the Streaks a home-field advantage this week.
Hempfield advanced last week with a close 23-21 win over South Western, while Township downed Governor Mifflin for the second time this year via a 34-19 victory.
How Township can win: It’s pretty simple: don’t deviate from the successful formula that helped you beat Hempfield two weeks ago. Quarterback Erik Benjamin, true to form, threw three touchdowns with zero interceptions against the Knights and was able to conduct a successful scoring drive in every quarter.
Though they gave up 125 rushing yards to Hempfield’s Will Blair, the Township defense was able to bend and not break too many times.
How Hempfield can win: The Knights must find a way to win the war in the trenches and control the line of scrimmage. They have to be able to finish drives so they don’t dig themselves into an early hole.
Hempfield has enough playmakers on offense to keep stride with Township, but if they get down by more than a touchdown while on the road, it will be a difficult task to make up points against such an explosive offense.
No. 5 Lampeter-Strasburg (9-2) at No. 4 Solanco (10-1)
Here’s another juicy rematch of section rivals when co-champions Solanco and L-S meet again in what should be an electrified stadium in Quarryville. The Mules secured a 42-14 lead back on Sept. 25, but the Pioneers are a much different team in November having won their last seven games, including a 41-20 win over No. 12 Palmyra last week.
I’m sure the Pioneers have been long awaiting a potential rematch with the Mules, and it’s hard to think that Friday’s matchup will end in another 28-point blowout.
How Solanco can win: The Mules rushed for 357 yards against the Pioneers in their first matchup and one shouldn’t expect a big change in game plan this week. While the Pioneers’ defense has tightened up since September, Solanco still might have the mental edge if they can get their run game firing early.
How L-S can win: First thing’s first: the Pioneers must put the fact that Solanco is the last team to beat them out of their heads. It’s almost impossible to shut down the Mules’ run game, but if L-S can find a way to stall out some Solanco drives and somehow get a two-score lead, they can force the Mules out of their comfort zone.
Of course, this is much easier said than done but when Bear Shank is your quarterback, some defensive stops can go a long way.
No. 6 East Pennsboro (9-2) at No. 3 Manheim Central (9-2)
The other Section Two co-champion will also be in action Friday night when the Barons host East Pennsboro. Central is coming off a 51-3 shellacking of Spring Grove while the Panthers defeated Middletown, 42-20, in their opening round matchup.
How Central can win: Though they are pretty banged up, the Barons’ offense is starting to gel at the right time with quarterback Kody Kegarise leading the charge. The junior rushed for over 100 yards, threw for 100 yards and rushed for two touchdowns. Throw in the fact that tailback Damon Camacho rushed for 130 yards and four touchdowns last week and you and two real headaches for opposing defenses. It’s simple, but it’s effective.
How East Pennsboro can win: The Panthers’ best bet is to have their defense be overly successful on first and second down to force the Barons to go vertical with their offense.
It would also be in the Panthers’ best interest to have some long-sustaining offensive drives to keep the Manheim offense on the sidelines.