John Buffone, Pat Huggins and Matt Catrillo break down three Week 6 football matchups in the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Video by John Buffone.
It'll be a night of showdowns for Lebanon County football teams when Week 6 of the high school football season arrives at a stadium near you on Friday night.
Specifically for Palmyra and Cedar Crest, which are set for first place divisional/section clashes at Middletown and Cocalico, respectively. Get there early if you want to get a good seat for those matchups. They should both be well worth the price of admission.
Also on tap in Week 6 is Lancaster-Lebanon Section 3 co-leader Annville-Cleona visiting Columbia, Northern Lebanon hosting Donegal in our GameTimePA Lebanon Livestream.Game of the Week, Elco heading to Lancaster Catholic, and Lebanon trekking to Conestoga Valley.
Let's take a closer look at what lies ahead on Friday night:
Palmyra at Middletown, 7 p.m.
Irresistible force meet immovable object.
Playing the role of immovable object is Palmyra and its sturdy defense, which has helped lift the Cougars to a 5-0 start by allowing a grand total of 26 points to date. Nineteen of those came in last Friday's 41-19 bludgeoning of Boiling Springs, and Palmyra has three shutouts heading into the matchup.
Now meet the irresistible force, Middletown, which is coming off a 69-7 thrashing of Trinity last week. The Blue Raiders are also 5-0 and have racked up a whopping 214 points, or 42.8 per contest, to date.
Uh, something has got to give. The question is will it be the Mason Cooper-led Cougar defense or the high-octane Middletown offense featuring quarterback Chase Snavely (766 yards passing, 7 touchdowns) and running back Jaelen Thompson (711 rushing yards).
Can't wait to find out.
Cedar Crest at Cocalico, 7 p.m.
How about those Falcons? Cedar Crest (4-1, 2-0) officially asserted itself in its new Section 2 digs last week by grinding out a defense-driven 11-7 win over Garden Spot and has been rewarded with a winner-takes-sole possession-of-first-place clash at Cocalico on Friday.
Not exactly a great time to be facing the Eagles, though, after they took down mighty Manheim Central last week, 28-24.
The Falcons will need another superior defensive effort to take care of Cocalico and its often lethal Veer offense, and it would behoove Cedar Crest to continue being physical running the ball on offense with lead back Justice Belleman.
If Cedar Crest can pull this one off, circle Oct.21 on your calendar. That's when Manheim Central arrives at Earl Boltz Stadium for another measuring stick game.
Football is fun when those late season games really matter, right?
Annville-Cleona at Columbia, 7 p.m.
Fresh off back-to-back huge wins over Elco and Lancaster Catholic, A-C takes to the road for a lengthy trip to Columbia in hopes of keeping its share of first place in Section 3.
Nothing ever should be taken for granted, but it's a good bet that the Dutchmen (4-2, 2-0) will return with that status intact. Columbia is 0-4 and has been outscored 149-58 thus far, including last week's 35-16 loss to Pequea Valley.
A-C, with its formidable rushing attack that includes Noah Myers, Cameron Hoch, Dylan Bomgardner and Caleb Turner, figures to be way too much for the Crimson Tide to handle.
Donegal at Northern Lebanon, 7 p.m.
Hey, don't forget about the Vikings just yet. Though it has endured some struggles while losing three of its last four, NL (2-3, 1-0) still is the two-time defending Section 3 champion. And it can re-establish that fact with a win this week against section co-leader Donegal (2-3, 2-0).
The Indians endured a rocky start, getting shut out in each of their first three games before righting the ship with back-to-back wins vs. Columbia and Elco.
The Vikes' hopes of getting back on track rest with their defense, which has been torched for 117 points in their three losses.
Elco at Lancaster Catholic, 7 p.m.
They say you make your own breaks and that's true, but the Raiders (2-3, 0-2) have certainly experienced some hard-to-take misfortune the last two weeks in last-second losses to Annville-Cleona and Donegal.
Tyler Horst, Kyle Knight and company are sure due to have something good happen to them, but will it be this week against the Crusaders?
Catholic is still smarting from its loss to A-C and led by quarterback Bryan Downey will be looking to take out some frustrations on the visiting Raiders.
Lebanon at Conestoga Valley, 7 p.m.
The Cedars head from the frying pan into the fire with another super tough Section One test this week.
1-4 overall and 0-2 in Section One, Lebanon has been outscored 103-26 in losses to Penn Manor and Warwick the last two weeks and faces yet another powerful foe this week in CV.
The Buckskins are 3-2 overall, 1-1 in Section One and have scored 26 points or better in four of its five games, so it's going to take quite an effort for Lebanon to get back in the win column.
Hoch, Mintz honored by L-L Quarterback Club
Annville-Cleona's Cameron Hoch and Sam Mintz have swept the Section 3 Player of the Week honors handed out by the Lancaster-Lebanon Quarterback Club.
Hoch is the section's Back of the Week after a huge game against Lancaster Catholic last week. He rushed 8 times for 89 yards and a touchdown, caught 3 passes for 64 yards and another score, and registered 6 tackles, 2 assists, 1 interception and 3 returns for 100 yards on defense and special teams.
Mintz, meanwhile picked up Lineman of the Week honors after doing a great job of blocking on offense and totaling 4 tackles and 3 assists on defense.