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Each fall for the first half of this decade, almost as certainly as the leaves would change colors, Bermudian Springs and Littlestown would play football in the postseason.
From 2010 to 2014, Bermudian Springs reached the District 3 playoffs five straight time. Littlestown made four trips in that span. Both teams reached the district title games once, and they combined for six 10-win seasons.
Last season, however, neither team posted a winning season or made the playoffs.
This fall, both programs have bounced back.
The Eagles and Bolts both went 8-2 and are the third and fourth seeds in the District 3 Class 3A playoffs, respectively. For Bermudian Springs, which went 5-5 last season and brought back most of its starters, the turnaround was expected. Littlestown was one of the season's biggest surprises after winning a combined five games the previous two seasons.
Now, both teams have the chance to reach the district title game. Bermudian Springs plays second-seeded Wyomissing in the semifinals at Albright College on Friday, while Littlestown will be at top seed Middletown the same night. Both games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
Neither Adams County team is the favorite, but a win by both would set up an intriguing rematch between the two teams with a championship on the line. Bermudian Springs beat Littlestown, 35-28, on Oct 28.
Here's a breakdown on each game.
Bermudian Springs vs. Wyomissing
To put it kindly, the Eagles' recent playoff history against Wyomissing isn't great.
During its five-year stretch of playoff runs from 2010 to 2014, Bermudian Springs played the Spartans three times and lost all three. The combined score of those three games was 104-14.
But those numbers don't matter this year. While Wyomissing is the higher seed, Bermudian Springs has one more win that the Spartans. And the Eagles enter the playoffs on a two-game winning streak while Wyomissing lost its season finale to powerhouse Berks Catholic.
Still, Wyomissing is a team to be reckoned with. While the Spartans aren't as experienced as they were last year when they went 12-1, they bounced back from an 0-2 start this season to go on a seven-game winning streak. During that stretch, they beat teams by an average score of 36-10.
While Bermudian Springs won its fair share of blowouts this season, they also have struggled at times to play consistently for four quarters. Getting off to a slow start against the Spartans could be hard to bounce back from.
If the Eagles get a strong performance from their offensive line that springs their running back, they'll be in good shape. Defensively, they'll have to prevent big plays by Wyomissing quarterback Avery Holt.
Littlestown at Middletown
It's been a terrific season for Littlestown, but the Bolts are about to face arguably their toughest challenge yet.
Middletown is one of only two undefeated teams in District 3 this season. The Blue Raiders have scored 30 or more points eight times this season. They've allowed only one team to score 20 points, and they've blown out quality teams like Northern York and Camp Hill.
Needless to say, it won't be easy for the Bolts to win.
If Littlestown is going to pull off the upset, it's going to have to play an extremely clean game. The Bolts have been hindered by turnovers at times this season, like when they lost five in their seven-point loss to Bermudian Springs.
But the Bolts also have a number of talented offensive players and an improved defense that has posted three shutouts this season. If Littlestown could give York Catholic a run for its money earlier this season, it has a shot against Middletown.