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High School Football: A quick glance at Friday night's District 3 playoff matchups

The playoffs get underway Friday night; here's a quick glance at all the matchups.
Credit: WPMT

YORK, Pa. — The regular season has ended, the numbers have been crunched, and the brackets have been released for the District 3 high school football playoffs.

A total of 42 Central Pennsylvania teams will participate in the playoffs, which get underway Friday night. 

Here's a breakdown of all six classifications:


The eight teams involved in the district's big-school bracket will get a week off before the playoffs begin with quarterfinal action on Nov. 11-12. 

No. 8 Carlisle (6-4) at No. 1 Hempfield (8-2): The Thundering Herd closed the season with a three-game winning streak to earn the last spot in the playoffs and a date with the top-seeded Black Knights, who won the L-L League Section 1 title. Carlisle survived a rough stretch in the middle of the season when the Herd lost four of five, defeating Cumberland Valley, Altoona, and CD East down the stretch to slide into the postseason. 

Hempfield's only losses are to playoff qualifiers Central York (30-20 in Week 2) and Exeter (44-22 in Week 8). The Black Knights have victories over Wilson, Manheim Township, and William Penn, all of whom are in the 6A playoff field.

No. 5 Manheim Township (7-3) at No. 4 Cumberland Valley (7-3): One of two rematches in the quarterfinals, Township will be looking to avenge a 31-27 loss to CV in the season opener. The Blue Streaks' 27-21 loss to Wilson in Week 10 cost them home field advantage in the playoffs and stopped their four-game winning streak. Their other loss was a 17-14 setback against Hempfield, so the Streaks' three losses have come by a combined total of 13 points.

One of the district's most successful programs with 13 titles in its trophy case, Cumberland Valley is looking to end a seven-year title drought. The Eagles went 2-2 against Class 6A playoff qualifiers this season, defeating Township and Central York while falling to Harrisburg and Carlisle. CV's 37-6 victory over Altoona in Week 10 snapped a two-game losing streak.

No. 7 William Penn (6-3) at No. 2 Central York (9-1): These teams squared off for the YAIAA Division I title in Week 10, and the host Panthers came away with a hard-fought 41-36 victory. York will be looking to avenge that loss in the quarterfinal rematch. Central York enters the playoffs on a seven-game winning streak; its only loss was a 35-33 defeat to Cumberland Valley (guided by former coach Tim Rimpfel) in Week 2.

York High started the season 0-2 with losses to powerful Woodland Hills and top-seeded Hempfield, then ran off six straight wins before falling to Central York in Week 10. 

No. 6 Wilson (8-2) at No. 3 Harrisburg (7-2): Last year, these teams met in the district title game, when the Cougars held on for a 14-10 victory. Now they meet in the quarterfinals. Wilson's only losses this year came to Philly-area powerhouse Roman Catholic in Week 1 and to top-seeded Hempfield in Week 7. The Bulldogs closed the regular season with three wins, including a 27-21 triumph over fifth-seeded Manheim Township.

Harrisburg dropped a 24-20 decision to Manheim Township in Week 3 and lost 20-6 to Mid-Penn Commonwealth champ State College in Week 8. The Cougars defeated 6A qualifiers Carlisle (44-15) and Cumberland Valley (30-14) in consecutive weeks in late September.


The top four seeds (Solanco, Exeter, New Oxford and Gettysburg) receive byes to the quarterfinals, so the remaining eight teams in the field square off in first-round action Friday night.

No. 9 Cedar Cliff (7-3) at No. 8 Shippensburg (7-3): The visiting Colts will head down I-81 South looking to avenge the 28-10 loss they suffered to Shippensburg in the season opener. Cedar Cliff hit the season's midway point with a 2-3 record, but reeled off five straight wins to close out the regular season. 

Shippensburg enters the playoffs stinging from a 42-26 upset loss to Greencastle-Antrim in Week 10. Their other two losses came to playoff qualifiers Gettysburg (17-14) and Northern York (17-6). 

The winner of this matchup will visit top-seeded Solanco (10-0) in the quarterfinals.

No. 12 Cocalico (6-4) at No. 5 Elizabethtown (8-2): The Eagles won their final three games to grab the final playoff berth in Class 5A, earning a date with the high-flying Bears. Cocalico's four losses have all come against playoff qualifiers; they've dropped decisions to top-seeded Solanco (21-7), Class 4A second seed Manheim Central (35-19), Class 4A third seed Lampeter-Strasburg (23-14), and Class 3A top seed and statewide powerhouse Wyomissing (38-7). Their only win over a playoff qualifier is a 39-14 triumph over Donegal, who qualified as the 10th seed in 4A. 

Elizabethtown finished tied for second in L-L League Section 3 behind champ Solanco and fellow 5A qualifier Garden Spot. Those are the only two teams to beat the Bears this season. E-town had the L-L League's top offense (458 yards per game) and its fifth-ranked scoring offense (37 points per game). 

Friday's winner will advance to face No. 4 Gettysburg (8-2) in the quarterfinals.

No. 10 Garden Spot (7-3) at No. 7 Dover (8-2): The Spartans gave L-L League Section 3 champ Solanco a battle in Week 10, falling 35-20 to the undefeated Golden Mules in Quarryville. That loss snapped Garden Spot's three-game winning streak. Their other losses came to Twin Valley (37-29) and Conestoga Valley (41-35). 

Dover, the YAIAA Division II runner-up behind third-seeded New Oxford, enters the playoffs riding a six-game winning streak. The Eagles lost 36-18 to New Oxford on Sept. 16, and dropped a 41-13 decision to sixth-seeded South Western on Sept. 2. 

Friday's winner takes on second-seeded Exeter (10-0) in the quarterfinals.

No. 11 Northern (6-4) at No. 6 South Western (7-3): The surging Polar Bears fought their way into the playoffs with a 24-23 upset win over Gettysburg in Week 9 and a 21-14 triumph over Mechanicsburg in Week 10. Northern was 2-3 at the season's midway point, but its only loss in the second half of the season was a 38-37 heartbreaker against Class 4A qualifier Susquehanna Township in Week 8. 

South Western won four of its final five games in the regular season, including a 36-30 triumph over Spring Grove in Week 10. The Mustangs' only loss over that stretch was a 52-14 defeat against York High. Their only other losses came against 6A squads -- 30-28 to Central York and 20-14 to Dallastown.

If South Western wins, it would set up a rematch with No. 3 New Oxford in the quarterfinals. The Mustangs defeated the Colonials 24-7 in their regular-season meeting on Sept. 9.


The top six teams in the 10-team field receive byes to next week's quarterfinals. Top-seeded Bishop McDevitt and No. 2 seed Manheim Central are awaiting their opponents; they'll get the winners of Friday night's two first-round matchups. 

Meanwhile, No. 3 Lampeter-Strasburg (8-2) hosts No. 6 Susquehanna Township (6-4) in one quarterfinal matchup, while No. 4 Twin Valley (6-4) and No. 5 Milton Hershey (6-4) will square off as well.

In first-round action Friday:

No. 9 Kennard-Dale (4-6) at No. 8 East Pennsboro (4-6): The Rams, who finished fourth in the YAIAA Division 2 race, knocked off Susquehannock 43-28 in Week 10 to snap a three-game losing streak and punch their ticket to the playoffs. K-D's record might not look like much, but all six of their losses came to district playoff qualifiers. 

East Pennsboro is the fifth team out of the eight-team Mid-Penn Colonial division to qualify for Districts this year. That's the bright side. The pessimist would point out that the Panthers started the season 4-1 before dropping its last five games and finished dead last in its competitive division. 

The winner of Friday's matchup takes on top-seeded Bishop McDevitt (8-1) in the quarterfinals.

No. 10 Donegal (4-6) at No. 7 York Suburban (6-4): The Indians won their last two games to grab the 10th and final berth in the 4A bracket, defeating Elco (20-19) and Octorara (37-6) to fight their way in. One of Donegal's six losses came at the hands of York Suburban back in Week 2, when the Trojans triumphed 41-18.

Suburban fought to a third-place finish in the YAIAA Division 2 race, winning its last four games after a shaky 2-4 start to the season. The Trojans smashed Northeastern 56-27 last week.

Friday's winner faces No. 2 seed Manheim Central (8-1) in the quarterfinals.


The top two seeds -- powerhouse Wyomissing (10-0) and fellow unbeaten Lancaster Catholic (10-0) -- will await the winners of Friday's two quarterfinal matchups in the semifinals on Nov. 11-12. 

In Friday's matchups:

No. 5 Upper Dauphin (8-2) at No. 4 Hamburg (8-2): After starting the season 1-2 with losses to Williams Valley and Camp Hill, Upper Dauphin reeled off seven straight victories to capture the Mid-Penn Liberty division title and a date with the powerful Hawks. 

Hamburg, which finished in a three-way tie for second in the L-L League Section 5 race, finished second in the league in scoring (44.4 points per game) and fourth in total offense (404.7 yards per game). The Hawks dropped a 38-35 heartbreaker to Lancaster Catholic on Sept. 30 and lost 41-34 to sixth-seeded Schuylkill Valley two weeks later. 

Friday's winner takes on top-seeded Wyomissing in the semifinals.

No. 6 Schuylkill Valley (6-4) at No. 3 West Perry (9-1): It's been an up-and-down season for the sixth-seeded Panthers, who started the season 0-2, reeled off six straight wins, then closed the season with back-to-back losses to Annville-Cleona (42-10) and Lancaster Catholic (44-41). Schuylkill Valley's signature win was its 41-34 triumph over Hamburg.

West Perry enters the playoffs in a surly mood after falling to Steelton-Highspire 53-34 in its final regular-season game. The loss cost the Mustangs an undefeated regular season, though there's no shame in losing to the powerful Rollers, who are the top seed in Class 1A and expected to make a deep postseason run. 

Friday's winner will face undefeated Lancaster Catholic in the semifinals.


The 2A playoffs open with two semifinal matchups Friday night, with the winners advancing to the title game on either Nov. 11 or 12 at the home of the highest remaining seed.

In Friday's semifinal matchups:

No. 4 Camp Hill (5-5) at No. 1 Annville-Cleona (7-3): The Lions were sitting pretty at 5-1 through six weeks of the regular season, but they're limping into the playoffs riding a four-game losing streak -- which bottomed out with a 35-28 clunker at home against Boiling Springs (3-6). The other losses over that span are a little more respectable; they came against playoff qualifiers Steel-High (71-20), Trinity (26-0), and West Perry (42-20).

The top-seeded Little Dutchmen have won five of their last six, including a 48-10 triumph over Northern Lebanon last week. A-C's only loss over that span was a 14-13 heartbreaker against Lancaster Catholic. The Dutchmen's other losses were to Hamburg (39-26 on Sept. 16) and Elco (22-19 on Sept. 1).

No. 3 Trinity (6-4) at No. 2 Delone Catholic (7-3): The Shamrocks shook off a 1-3 start and put together a four-game winning streak in the latter stages of the regular season. They gave powerful Steel-High a run for its money before falling 35-28 in Week 9, but rebounded with a 55-19 rout of Halifax to enter the playoffs on a high note and set up a rematch with the Squires, who they defeated 35-7 in Week 1.

Delone actually started the season 0-3 before turning the tide with seven straight wins to close out the regular season, capturing their second straight YAIAA Division 3 title in the process. The Squires ran the table against their division opponents, only one of whom (Fairfield) qualified for the postseason. 


There are only three Class 1A teams in the entire district, one of whom is perennial statewide powerhouse Steel-High. So since only two teams qualify for the postseason, we advance directly to the 1A title game, which will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. in Steelton.

No. 2 Fairfield (2-7) at No. 1 Steel-High (8-1): The wins have been few and far between for the brave Knights, who draw the unenviable task of trying to prevent Steel-High from capturing its third straight 1A title and its 16th district championship overall. Fairfield's only victories came over Biglerville (25-7 on Sept. 16) and York Tech (27-7 on Oct. 14). 

Steel-High enters the playoffs on an eight-game winning streak. The Rollers' only defeat came all the way back in Week 1, when they fell 39-18 to undefeated Pittsburgh power Westinghouse. Steel-High was tested in the final weeks of the season, holding off Trinity 35-28 in Week 9 and knocking off previously undefeated West Perry 53-34 last week.

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