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Palmyra, Cedar Crest, Annville-Cleona face key matchups

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Forget that Week Zero stuff, the midway point of the local high school football season arrives this Friday night at a stadium near you.

There's a chance it could be wet - anybody seen some football weather? Please. - but regardless of the amount of precipitation in the air, it should be an interesting and entertaining night for Lebanon County teams.

Particularly for Palmyra, Cedar Crest and Annville-Cleona, which each face key early division/section showdowns.

For a closer look at what lies ahead in Week 5, check out the capsule previews that follow.

Boiling Springs at Palmyra, 7 p.m.

Fresh off a bye and feeling good after their 4-0 start, the Cougars return to action at Buck Swank Stadium with a key Mid-Penn Capital Division matchup with Boiling Springs.

The Bubblers are limping along at 0-4, but it's a somewhat deceiving 0-4. After a season-opening 28-0 loss to Littlestown, the Bubblers have dropped their last three decisions by a combined 13 points, so Palmyra should beware.

Then again, Boiling Springs should beware, too, given that Palmyra's ultra stingy defense has already logged three shutouts and its run game tandem of Alon Rhette and Carl Reigle has done some major damage to the Cougars' first four opponents.

Those are just a few reasons why Palmyra finds itself in the No. 2 spot in 5A in the latest District 3 power rankings. Lots of big games ahead for the Cougars.

Lancaster Catholic at Annville-Cleona, 7 p.m.

Absolutely huge game here for A-C, which held off Elco 27-21 in a thriller last week and can establish itself as a legit Section Three title contender with a win over Catholic at home on Friday night.

Easier said than done. Though A-C is 3-2 and sufficiently battle-tested, the 2-2 Crusaders will have to be dealt with, for sure. Led by quarterback Bryan Downey, Catholic has tussled with Camp Hill and Berks Catholic during a challenging non-league slate and will be more than ready for Friday night.

And it had better be after the way A-C ran all over Elco last week behind Noah Myers, Caleb Turner and Dylan Bomgardner, who helped the Dutchmen rumble for 369 yards on the ground in the win.

Garden Spot at Cedar Crest, 7 p.m.

Speaking of huge games, the 3-1 Falcons are looking forward to one of their own this week with the Spartans, also 3-1, making their way to Earl Boltz Stadium.

It's the first big Section Two contest for Crest, which introduced itself with a 49-16 throttling of Ephrata last week. The degree of difficulty will go up dramatically, though with the Spartans coming to town having scored 89 points combined their last two wins over Solanco and Spring Grove.

But if the Falcons can run the ball effectively and limit turnovers they can establish themselves as a team to be reckoned with in their new section. Should be a good one.

Elco at Donegal, 7 p.m.

So close and yet so far for Elco, which saw its chance to open Section Three play with a win denied when feature back Tyler Horst was stopped just shy of the goal line in the closing seconds of last week's wrenching 27-21 loss to Annville-Cleona.

Now 2-2, the Raiders can right the ship and get that bitter taste out of their mouth - hey, two cliches in a row there - this week at 1-3 Donegal. The Indians were shut out three weeks in a row to start the season, but got off the schneid with last week's 35-14 win vs. Columbia and will most definitely be a tougher opponent than their record says they are.

Another big effort from Horst would help Elco's cause immensely - the senior back rumbled for 162 yards on 35 carries last week in the loss to A-C.

York Suburban at Northern Lebanon

The Vikings opened defense of their Section Three title last week by impressively hammering Pequea Valley, but take a break from section play by welcoming the York-Adams reps to Fredericksburg on Friday.

NL comes in at 2-2, as does Suburban, which blasted Kennard-Dale 42-6 last week. Tough game to figure, so flip a coin before making a call on this one. Hey, it might work.

Lebanon at Warwick

The Cedars were rudely introduced to Section One play last week in a 48-12 loss to Penn Manor, and it doesn't figure to get any more welcoming with this week's visit to Lititz.

Warwick isn't setting the world on fire at 2-2, but it did throw a huge scare into mighty Wilson before dropping a 14-10 decision last week. Meanwhile, the only win for Lebanon (1-3) came in a 37-8 triumph over Ephrata in Week Two.

A-C's Burris Lineman of the Week

Annville-Cleona offensive tackle/defensive end Isaac Burris was named the Section 3 Lineman of the Week after helping A-C to a 27-21 win at Elco last week.

Burris contributed 11 tackles on defense and five knockdown blocks on offense as the Little Dutchmen improved to 3-2 overall and 1-0 in Section Three.