L-L Football Preview Show: District semifinals
Three L-L teams are still alive in the District 3 football playoffs and now have the opportunity to punch a ticket to their championship games.
No. 4 Hempfield (10-2) at No. 1 Central Dauphin (11-1)
The Black Knights are coming off an emotional 31-28 win over L-L rival Manheim Township last week but as a reward, they draw No. 1 Central Dauphin in the Class AAAA semifinals. The Rams downed Lower Dauphin, 21-13 in their quarterfinals matchup.
How Hempfield can win: The Black Knights did a good job generating turnovers last week against Township by picking off Erik Benjamin twice. They’ll need to duplicate that performance this week against a Central Dauphin offense that scores 37 points per game.
The Knights will also need some big, explosive plays on offense to keep stride with the Rams. Expect the ball to get into Will Blair’s hands a lot in this one.
How Central Dauphin can win: The Rams are appropriately named with three rushers having over 10 touchdowns this season. Senior back Raleigh Sirb is Central Dauphin’s workhorse back and will most likely try to set the tone early against the Hempfield defense. Sirb has 276 yards and two touchdowns through two playoff games.
No. 4 Solanco (11-1) at No. 1 Bishop McDevitt (11-1)
You’d be hard-pressed to find two offensive styles that are more contradictory. The Mules rushed for almost 500 yards against Lampeter-Strasburg last week in a 54-20 victory. Meanwhile the Crusaders, a much more aerial-friendly team, defeated Northern York, 49-21.
How Solanco can win: Although it is easier said than done, Solanco needs to utilize its running/ball control offense to keep the McDevitt offense off the field. If the Mules can pull off some long drives that end in points, they can shorten the game and keep it close throughout.
It certainly wouldn’t hurt for the Mules defense to provide a turnover or two as well.
How McDevitt can win: While the Crusaders are the favorite in the matchup, they can’t afford to turn the ball over much against the Mules.
If McDevitt can somehow jump out to a two-score lead, they can get Solanco out of their comfort zone and make them put the ball in the air.
No. 5 Susquehanna Township (9-3) at Manheim Central (10-2)
The Barons offense has been rolling recently; scoring 98 points in their first two playoff games. Now they’ll play host to an Indians squad that has only tasted defeat to Class AAAA schools this season and handed No. 1 Bishop McDevitt their only loss.
How Manheim Central can win: Despite being the home team, some think the Barons are the underdog in this game. That’s a label Central has relished lately and they could be playing with yet another chip on their shoulder. Tailback Damon Camacho will have to have a productive day to open things up for quarterback Kody Kegarise in the passing game.
It will be of the utmost importance that Central limits their turnovers as well. They can’t afford to give the Indians good field position.
How Susquehanna Township can win: The Indians have outscored their opponents, 84-17 through the playoffs so far and jumping out to a quick lead would certainly put them at a big advantage.
One would think that if Township can duplicate their recent offensive performances, they’ll be a in a solid position to win this game.