There's a new horse in the YAIAA Division III football race.
Left for dead after an 0-4 start, Bermudian Springs has rallied from the back of the pack for five straight wins.
The Eagles' latest victory, 35-0 over the Littlestown Thunderbolts Friday, sets up a key divisional showdown with Biglerville in the season's final week. Each team, along with Hanover, holds 5-1 records in Division III play entering next weekend's regular-season finale.
Playoff implications and at least a share of the Division III crown will be up for grabs in the rivalry matchup.
"We'll figure out that playoff stuff later," Bermudian head coach Jon Defoe said. "If our guys, starting where we did, come back, and when the dust settles, we are on top of the league, it will be unbelievable."
To make next week's showdown possible, the Eagles grabbed the lead early on Littlestown's senior night, and never looked back.
The Eagles needed to convert fourth-and-9 on their first drive, and did it with a run of all things.
Devon Hodgen took the ball on a sweep and sliced through two tackle attempts before bursting into the open field for a 30-yard scoring scamper.
"They converted fourth downs," Littlestown head coach Mike Lippy said. "That's just been the way of our season."
Defoe knows all too well the plight of Lippy's team.
"Early on in the year, if we make one or two plays, things would've been different," Defoe said. "We gained a lot of experience through this. We were in position these last five weeks and our guys made the plays."
Trevor Grim has made big plays all year for Bermudian, and he nabbed two interceptions Friday — one of which came when he tipped the ball to himself with one outstretched hand. Grim's second interception ended a Littlestown drive that reached the Bermudian 23, and set up Ashton West's 1-yard touchdown late in the first quarter.
"I couldn't believe I caught it," Grim said.
Ryan Markle holds the Bermudian record with three interceptions in one game.
Littlestown failed to convert on fourth-and-7 from the Bermudian 19 on its next drive. The Bolts continued to come up just short on the next series as Ashton West rammed home a 10-yard touchdown run on third-and-1.
Quinton Nace made a spectacular diving catch in the corner of the end zone on the two-point try, snatching the ball off the turf as he fell forward.
Adding insult to injury, Bermudian converted fourth-and-13 just before the half with Tristan Hoke hitting Hodgen for a 36-yard touchdown on a wheel route.
BeS — Devon Hodgen 30 run (kick blocked), 8:28
BeS — Ashton West 1 run (Noah Aeppli kick), 0:25
BeS — West 10 run (Quinton Nace pass from Tristan Hoke), 3:04
BeS — Hodgen 36 pass from Hoke (Aeppli kick), 0:16
BeS — Nace 14 pass from Hoke (Aeppli kick), 4:52
BeS Lt First downs1914 Rushes-Yards46-31442-150Passing5-9-05-12-2 Passing Yards8455 Total Yards398205 Punts1-45.02-40.5 Fumbles-Lost1-00-0 Penalties-Yards6-712-10
Rushing — Bermudian Springs, Ashton West 19-101, Addison Wheeler 8-78, Devon Hodgen 9-60, Brenton Krebs 3-33, Trenton Hull 2-27, Ethan Frank 1-12, Darren Beall 3-2, Ben Egenrieder 1-1. Littlestown, Tyler Carr 9-50, Wes Storey 11-50, Jose Ariza 8-27, Andrew Matthews 3-23, Cody Boyd 3-4, Connor Geiman 5-4, Austin Watters 2-1, Tanner Noble 1-(-9).
Passing — Bermudian Springs, Tristan Hoke 5-9-0-84, Quinton Nace 0-0-0-0. Littlestown, Boyd 5-12-2-55, Noble 0-0-0-0.
Receiving — Bermudian Springs, Hodgen 2-38, West 2-32, Nace 1-14. Littlestown, Ben Snouffer 2-31, Jackson Hornbrook 2-13, Trenton Hartlaub 1-11.