Friday night marks the start of league play for most of the teams in the L-L League, Mid-Penn, and YAIAA (Section 3 of the L-L League and the entire Tri-Valley League began league games two weeks ago, but who’s counting).
The FOX43 High School Football Frenzy Game of the Week is in the Mid-Penn Capital Division, so our spotlight will shine on Steelton, where the Steelton-Highspire Rollers host Trinity in a battle of early season unbeatens.
The fun begins Friday at 6 p.m. with the Frenzy, live from Steel-High. Game time is 7 p.m.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Trinity (3-0) at Steelton-Highspire (3-0)
The host Rollers survived a 35-28 shootout with Delone Catholic last week after opening the season with easier wins over Newport (35-19) and Biglerville (35-7). Steel-High has gotten some explosive plays from quarterback Nyles Jones, who racked up 214 yards passing, 121 yards rushing, and three touchdowns in last week’s win over the Squires. Two of Jones’ touchdowns were passes to sophomore Mehki Flowers, who hauled in eight catches for 159 yards in all. Middletown transfer Odell Greene added 110 yards and two scores on the ground for the Rollers. Greene has 357 yards and three TDs since arriving in Steelton. The Rollers’ first three foes are a combined 1-8, so Trinity will be their biggest test. Steel-High went 4-6 in the regular season in 2018, limping into the District 3 playoffs, where they were summarily dismissed by York Catholic, 21-0. The Rollers are hoping to improve this year. A win Friday would be a big step.
The Shamrocks will also be facing their biggest challenge of the season — their first three foes have also gone a combined 1-8. Trinity smashed Marian Catholic 48-0 last week, riding a red-hot performance from quarterback Danny Scott, who rushed for two touchdowns and threw for two more. Scott has a solid group of playmakers around him in running backs Tyler Rossi and Daniel Kosinski and wideouts Ryan Berrigan and Trey Mcauliffe — all of whom have stood out at some point during the Shamrocks’ three-game win streak. Trinity is coming off a 1-9 campaign last season, so the Shamrocks have already tripled their win total. But they’re looking for more.
OTHER GAMES TO WATCH
Elizabethtown (2-1) at Cocalico (3-0)
The host Eagles open their L-L League Section 2 schedule riding a three-game winning streak to start the season, after recording a pair of lopsided wins over Conrad Weiser (42-15) and Cedar Cliff (43-14) and a tougher but no less convincing triumph over Governor Mifflin (26-14) last week. Cocalico senior Noah Palm has had a hand in 13 of the Eagles’ 16 touchdowns in the first three games. He’s the team’s top rusher, with 363 yards and eight scores on 48 carries. He’s completed 13 of 18 pass attempts for 249 yards and two TDs (with no interceptions), and has also scored a pair of defensive touchdowns, taking an interception back 34 yards to the house against Conrad Weiser and returning a fumble recovery 90 yards to the end zone against Cedar Cliff.
Elizabethtown suffered its first loss of the season last week, dropping a 30-9 decision to Conrad Weiser. The Bears defeated backyard rival Donegal 17-7 in their season opener and knocked off Dover 47-32 in Week 2. E-town’s biggest issues this season have been on defense; the Bears are allowing 339 yards per game. Conrad Weiser spotted E-town a 9-0 lead last week before reeling off three rushing touchdowns, a pick-six interception return, and a field goal to win the game going away. E-town QB Patrick Gilhool has completed 33 of 63 passes for 552 yards and five TDs, but he’s been picked off four times. The Bears’ top rusher is Leon Allen, who has 130 yards and three scores on 30 carries. WR Cole Rice has a league-high 314 receiving yards and three TDs on 13 catches.
Ephrata (2-1) at Lancaster Catholic (3-0)
The defending Section 3 champion Crusaders ran their regular-season winning streak to 13 games with a 28-7 victory over Elco. Catholic is part of a four-team logjam at the top of the section, along with Ephrata, Lebanon, and Donegal. The Crusaders average 310 yards per game on offense, powered mostly by the ground game. RBs Alex Cruz and Jeffrey Harley have combined for 422 yards and nine touchdowns, while QB Gavin Sullivan has chipped in for 129 yards and a score. Sullivan has also completed 15 of 26 passes for 300 yards and one touchdown. The Crusaders’ other victories came over Camp Hill (39-25) and Columbia (35-19). Catholic has had to come from behind in all three games.
One year after famously breaking their 52-game losing streak with a 5-5 campaign, the Mountaineers are looking to build on that success and make a push for the District 3 playoffs this season. So far, so good for Ephrata — the Mounts have scored a section-leading 115 points in recording lopsided wins over Northern Lebanon (57-18) and Annville-Cleona (58-26) in their first two Section 3 games. The only blemish on their record is a 61-0 loss to Section 1 powerhouse Warwick in Week 1. QB Caden Keefer is one of the league’s best two-way weapons, throwing for 601 yards and seven scores on 40-of-53 passing and rushing for 136 yards on 31 attempts. RB Miracle Wratto leads the ground game with 272 yards and four scores on 35 carries.
Central York (2-1) at Red Lion (3-0)
The host Lions have opened with victories over McCaskey (39-14), Waynesboro (14-12) and Chambersburg (26-21). Quarterback Nic Schultz has been a two-way threat for Red Lion, racking up 263 rushing yards on a team-high 41 carries and completing 22 of 47 passes for 412 yards and two scores. RB Devin Gurreri is averaging 7.1 yards per carry for the Lions as well, while wideout Randy Fizer has 12 catches for 260 yards and four scores. But the main factor in Red Lion’s solid start has been its defense, the stingiest in the York-Adams League (193.7 yards per game). The Lions rank second in the league in takeaways, with eight.
Central York has sandwiched wins over West York (60-0) and Hempfield (30-28) around a heart-breaking 13-12 loss to Cumberland Valley in the Frenzy Game of the Week in Week 2. The Panthers are off to a middling start offensively, which could have something to do with the seven turnovers they’ve given up in three weeks (tied for second-most in the league). QB Beau Pribula has thrived under center for the Panthers, completing 21 of 46 passes for 274 yards and two scores and adding 189 yards and four TDs on the ground.
York Suburban (3-0) at Eastern York (2-1)
Two of the league’s most explosive offenses meet in Wrightsville in this early season Division II showdown. Eastern York leads the league in scoring (40.3 points per game), and total yards (443.7 per game), while Suburban is third in scoring (38.7 per game) and is fifth in yardage (357 per game).
The host Golden Knights have won two in a row since their season-opening 35-28 loss to Columbia in the River Rivalry (and the FOX43 Frenzy Week 1 Game of the Week). They humbled Hanover 47-17 in Week 2, and followed that up with a 46-42 shootout victory over Littlestown last week. QB Trevor Seitz is the league’s top passer, with 838 yards and 11 touchdowns on 45-of-73 passing. His top target, Kaleb Corwell, has a league-high 21 catches for 321 yards and four scores.
Suburban has reeled off victories over York Catholic (41-13), Delone Catholic (42-14), and East Pennsboro (33-19) to open the season. The Trojans have the league’s leading rusher in Savion Harrison, who has exploded for 576 yards and eight touchdowns in his first three games. He’s averaging 10.1 yards per carry. QB Max Reinecker has completed 21 of 46 passes for 295 yards and two scores, but it’s clear Harrison is the guy Eastern will have to focus on. The Knights rank third in the league against the run, allowing 97.3 yards per game. Something will have to give.