Opportunity binge

Here’s what we learned about all 24 L-L League football teams in Week 7 games

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Here is what we learned about all 24 Lancaster-Lebanon League football teams from the Week 7 games, as told by the reporters who covered all of the action

SECTION 1

CEDAR CREST: The Falcons’ defense came up big, shutting out Hempfield in the second half and forcing four turnovers in a 20-13 road win Friday. “They practiced so hard, I knew they were ready,” Cedar Crest coach Rob Wildasin said. “I knew they had to just go out and play and play loose. I think they did.” — Joel Schreiner

HEMPFIELD: Black Knights’ coach George Eager had plenty to be disappointed about following Friday’s loss to Cedar Crest. There were the four turnovers and a spark-less offense to name a few, but what bothered him most was the team’s preparation in the days leading up to the game, saying he had several players missing practices for various reasons. — Joel Schreiner

MANHEIM TOWNSHIP: QB Hayden Johnson — 14-for-15 for 255 yards, three TD passes — continued to dazzle in Friday’s 48-14 win over Penn Manor. Heading into their Week 8 showdown against run-heavy Hempfield and do-it-all Black Knights’ QB Cam Harbaugh, it’s important to point out the Blue Streaks’ D, which tallied four takeaways and six tackles for losses against the Comets. Aside from a 44-yard option keeper TD run early on, Township held Penn Manor to 110 rushing yards on 29 carries the rest of the way. Shout-out to Swiss Army Knife Matt O’Gorman, who not only is a standout kicker for the Streaks, but he also snagged an interception and played a bit at tight end. — John Walk

McCASKEY: The search for consistency continues as the Red Tornado dropped its fourth straight game, slipping to 0-2 in the section and 2-5 overall after falling at Wilson. When they win, the Tornado runs the ball very well. When they lose, finding running room is a tall task. Stopping the run? The inability to put together a full week of good, focused practices haunts a team that needs to succeed. — Dave Byrne

PENN MANOR: After a 4-1 start, the Comets have now lost back-to-back games by a combined score of 88-20. In its Week 6 loss to Wilson, Penn Manor was shredded on the ground. On Friday at Manheim Township, the Blue Streaks attacked through the air. On the other side of the ball, the Comets’ first drive went backward. The second drive was kept alive on a Township penalty. The next two drives ended in turnovers. By the time Penn Manor gained its footing on its fifth drive, the Comets were down 28-7.  They made a switch at QB at halftime and seemed to show some life despite two interceptions. A road trip to McCaskey might help right the ship in Week 8. — John Walk

WILSON: Whatever ailed the Bulldogs early in the season may have been remedied. Or not. Wilson won its second straight game, improving its overall record to 4-3 and to 2-0 in L-L Section One, piling up 490 yards offense and 217 yards in the return game. Oh yes, and 59 points. — Dave Byrne

L-L LEAGUE FOOTBALL STATISTICS, SCHEDULES, STANDINGS

SECTION 2

COCALICO: Anthony Bourassa continued his rushing binge with a 203-yard, 4-TD effort in the Eagles’ 46-28 win at Conestoga Valley to remain in a tie for first place in the section chase. Running behind a talented, veteran O-line, Bourassa went over the 200-yard mark for the third time this season, and he’s the L-L League’s leading rusher with 1,223 stripes. Cocalico will try and remain on the 1-line Friday when the Eagles visit Elizabethtown. — Jeff Reinhart

CONESTOGA VALLEY: Cocalico did a nice job bottling up the Buckskins’ rushing attack Friday. With the ground game stuck in first gear, CV went up top, and QB Macoy Kneisley delivered. He clicked on 21 of 35 attempts for 356 yards — the most by any L-L League QB in a game this season — with four TD tosses. Alas, the Bucks’ D couldn’t slow down Bourassa, and Cocalico bumped CV out of a first-place tie. — Jeff Reinhart

ELIZABETHTOWN: The Bears took a heartbreaking loss to Warwick, coming up mere inches short on a 2-point conversion play that would have likely sent the game to OT. Still, it was a career night for junior QB Josh Rudy. A week after hitting his career-high in a loss to Conestoga Valley, he crossed the 300-yard mark for the first time, finishing with 318 yards and 3 TDs on 22 for 35 passing. Braden Cummings also went off for a career-best 163 yards on seven catches, hauling in a TD as well. Pat Gilhool had six catches for 92 yards and two scores, also completing a 31-yard reverse pass to Cummings that set up the potential game-tying TD. — Kyle Morgan  

MANHEIM CENTRAL: The Barons won a game in which coach Dave Hahn said Central didn’t play its best. In fact, the Barons won in a very unconventional way, as QB Judd Novak threw the ball 40 times, completing 27 of those to seven different receivers for 268 yards and four touchdowns. Having the ability to adjust from the game plan to the opportunity in front of them could help the Barons down the stretch. — Steve Navaroli

SOLANCO: Golden Mules’ coach Tony Cox had a lot to be proud of after Friday’s 35-21 loss to Manheim Central, as his squad kept fighting back, no matter what went wrong. Starting QB Brody Mellinger, who opened the scoring with a 57-yard TD run, was injured in the second quarter and did not return. Yet the Mules kept battling, and after falling behind 14-7 and 21-14, tied the game each time, including 21-all in the fourth quarter. — Steve Navaroli  

WARWICK: The Warriors are tied for first in Section 2, but they didn’t make things easy for themselves against Elizabethtown, giving up a ton of yards through the air. Still, their offense came through when they needed it to. Christian Royer had 103 yards and a pair of TDs on the ground. Jack Reed had just 44 passing yards at halftime — nearly outpacing himself with 42 rushing yards and a TD — but he found more room in the second half, hooking up with Cooper Eckert four times in all and throwing TDs to Thomas Jeans and Colin Winters to give Warwick the lead late. — Kyle Morgan  

SECTION 3

DONEGAL: The Indians were all out of whack on Friday, when Donegal dropped a 55-0 decision at Lampeter-Strasburg. Turnovers stung. And twice, Indians’ ball-carriers were dropped in the end zone for safeties. It wasn’t pretty. The key is how Donegal responds; the Indians are still very much in line for a District 3 Class 4A playoff spot, with games against Ephrata, Lancaster Catholic and Lebanon on the horizon. Flushing the L-S game and getting a fast finish is paramount for this crew. — Jeff Reinhart

EPHRATA: Mountaineers’ RB Andre Weidman is a beast, but also give credit to Ephrata’s big boys up front, like Cole Seiger, James Ellis, Deric Hoover and Ben Slider, who are punishers when it comes to blocking. Weidman never fails to praise that group. But the coaching that has transformed the Mounts into contenders, and the call by skipper Kris Miller after Weidman’s 55-yard score to have him go for two in the fourth and make it 22-21, really put the sword in Lancaster Catholic in Ephrata’s 29-21 comeback win. — Matt Pawlikowski

GARDEN SPOT: The pieces are coming together in New Holland. Buoyed by an up-and-coming QB and a suddenly dominant defense, the Spartans handled visiting Lebanon 36-0 on Friday. One might argue they’re a year away, but equally intriguing is how the Spartans stack up this season vs. the best that Section 3 has to offer — beginning this week against section co-front-runner Lampeter-Strasburg. — Daryl Simione

LAMPETER-STRASBURG: Safe to say that Week 1 loss at Warwick is completely out of the Pioneers’ system. If nothing else, L-S has used that setback as a learning tool and as motivation, as the rampaging Pioneers made is six straight wins Friday compliments of a 55-0 demolition over Donegal. It was L-S’s third shutout this season, and the…

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