YORK, Pa. — The final week of the regular season is upon us, and showdowns abound across Central Pennsylvania's three football conferences this week as division titles and District 3 playoff berths ride in the balance.
Our Game of the Week will be the YAIAA Division I championship clash between William Penn and Central York Friday night. The FOX43 team will get you ready for that showdown at the High School Football Frenzy, which will kick off at 6 p.m.
You can see how the games turned out by tuning into FOX43 at 10 p.m. for all the highlights.
Let's turn to this week's Frenzy Five.
HIGH SCHOOL FRENZY GAME OF THE WEEK
William Penn (5-0, 7-1) at Central York (6-0, 9-0)
These teams have been on a collision course all season, and finally get to tangle in the regular season's final week. What's at stake? Oh, only the YAIAA Division I championship, York-area bragging rights, and positioning in the upcoming District 3 Class 6A playoffs.
Central York is hoping to defend the District 3 title it won last year, when it defeated York in the championship game on its way to the state finals.
The undefeated Panthers come into the game ranked first in the state in Class 6A by Pennsylvania Football News and No. 3 in the state by Pennlive, and are currently No. 1 in the District 3 power rankings, which are used to seed the eight-team 6A playoff bracket.
Led by Penn State-bound senior QB Beau Pribula, who has passed for 1,932 yards and 27 touchdowns, Central averages 350.2 yards and 44 points per game. Pribula has added four touchdowns and 319 yards on the ground for the Panthers, while the receiving trio of Imeire Manigault (24-681, eight TDs), Treyshawn Smith (29-564, seven TDs), and Parker Hines (24-492, eight TDs) has proven to be nearly unstoppable as a unit.
York High's only loss of the season came against Governor Mifflin in Week 1, and that's certainly nothing to be ashamed of. The Mustangs are the state's top-ranked team in Class 5A by PFN and Pennlive. The Bearcats are locked into the District 3 playoffs, standing at No. 4 in the power rankings behind Central, Harrisburg, and Central Dauphin East. A win would secure a home playoff game in the opening round for York (not to mention the Division I title).
During their seven-game winning streak, the Bearcats handed perennial state powerhouse Coatesville its only loss (44-39 in Week 3) and have run amok against local competition -- Dallastown is the only team besides Coatesville that has managed to stay within 20 points of them. York's average margin of victory has been 35.4 points.
OTHER GAMES TO WATCH
Manheim Township (3-1, 6-3) at Wilson (4-0, 6-3)
The L-L League Section 1 title will hang in the balance when these two foes square off in West Lawn. The outcome will have implications on the District 3 Class 6A landscape as well.
While the visiting Blue Streaks are currently looking up at Wilson in the Section 1 standings thanks to a 17-14 loss to Hempfield in Week 8, they are currently sitting ahead of the Bulldogs in the district's power rankings. The Streaks are No. 5, while Wilson is ranked seventh. While a loss to Township wouldn't be fatal to Wilson's playoff hopes, it would certainly make things a little tense for the Bulldogs.
Township's three losses have come against quality opponents; only Hempfield currently sits outside the Class 6A playoff bracket. The Streaks also fell to Dallastown (41-38) and Harrisburg (20-17) in back-to-back weeks last month.
Wilson's three losses were to Governor Mifflin (42-14), Exeter Township (42-14), and Manheim Central (24-21).
Friday night's game pits Section 1's top offense against its stingiest defense. Township averages 331 yards per game offensively, while Wilson's defense yields just 240 yards per game.
Cocalico (4-0, 6-3) at Manheim Central (3-1, 8-1)
It's the latest chapter in what is arguably the L-L League's hottest rivalry, and the Section 2 title depends on the outcome.
For the visiting Eagles, the formula is simple: beat Central, and the title is theirs. But a Central win, coupled with a victory by Warwick in its Week 10 date with Conestoga Valley, would forge a three-way tie for the section crown.
There are also District 3 playoff implications at stake here, but no major ones. Cocalico appears locked into one of the 10 playoff spots in Class 4A, while Central is assured of a berth in the 14-team Class 5A field.
That said, the top two teams in Class 5A earn first-round byes in the playoffs, and Central currently stands at No. 3 behind Governor Mifflin and Shippensburg. The Barons can't catch Mifflin, but a win over Cocalico, coupled with a Shippensburg loss to neighborhood rival (and 4A playoff hopeful) Greencastle-Antrim would open the door for them to move into that second spot.
Hempfield (2-2, 5-4) at Penn Manor (1-3, 5-4)
The Black Knights are currently on the wrong end of the playoff bubble in Class 6A, where they're ranked No. 9 in the power rankings -- and only eight teams get in. But Hempfield is just a few decimal points behind eighth-ranked Carlisle, which has a tough Week 10 matchup with CD East looming on Friday.
It's been an up-and-down season for Hempfield, which has impressive wins over Dallastown, Manheim Township, Exeter Township, and Warwick on its resume. The Knights also played tough in close losses to Wilson (28-21), Manheim Central (14-0), and Central York (35-21).
Penn Manor is playing for pride, but the difference between finishing 6-4 and 5-5 would be huge for a program that's trying to shake off some lean years.
Boiling Springs (4-0, 8-1) at Steel-High (3-1, 7-1), Saturday at 1 p.m.
We have to wait an extra day to see how the MId-Penn Capital Division title race ends -- and to see if the defending district and state champion Rollers can rebound from last week's astounding 49-14 loss to Big Spring.
Don't get it twisted; Big Spring (7-2) is having a great season, and the fact they sprung an upset on Steel-High isn't shocking. But beating the defending state champs by 35 points? Nobody outside Newville saw that coming.
At any rate, the victory threw the Capitol race into disarray. Since Boiling Springs already has a victory over Big Spring to its name and comes in with an unblemished division record, the Bubblers could claim the title outright with a victory Saturday afternoon.
If the Rollers rebound and bust the Bubblers, it would forge a three-way tie for the Capitol crown, assuming Big Spring handles its business against Middletown (4-4) Friday night.
Steel-High, Boiling Springs, and Big Spring all seem assured of playoff berths in their respective District 3 classes.