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Here are FOX43’s Five Games to Watch this week in high school football

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The 2017 high school football season is making the last turn toward home, as Week 7 is upon us. The stakes are high as teams across the midstate jockey for position in the District 3 playoff rankings and in their respective division races.

As always, the FOX43 High School Football Frenzy will have scores and highlights Friday night.

RELATED: Links to the Mid-Penn, Lancaster-Lebanon League, YAIAA and Tri-Valley League schedules

Here are five games to watch this week:


Trinity (3-3) at East Pennsboro (4-2)

The Shamrocks and the Panthers are both in the middle of the pack in the crowded Mid-Penn Capital division race, and are probably out of the title picture. But both are very much alive in the race for District 3 playoff berths in their respective classifications. Trinity is ranked sixth in Class 3A, which only takes four teams in the postseason, so the Shamrocks definitely need a win here. East Pennsboro is ranked sixth in the Class 4A race, which accepts eight teams in its playoff bracket.

East Pennsboro snapped a two-game losing streak with last week’s 21-13 victory over Milton Hershey. The Panthers do most of their damage on the ground, averaging 272 yards per game. Senior Onasis Neely (140-1,245, 18 TDs) is East Pennsboro’s workhorse in the backfield. QB Payton Norris (53-97-2, 636 yards, five TDs) hasn’t been asked to throw much, but is effective when called upon.

Trinity has lost two in a row, falling to Middletown (45-34) and Steelton-Highspire (28-27). The Shamrocks’ offense is primarily an air-based attack, with quarterback Tommy Kirchhoff (69-123-6, 1,132 yards, 13 TDs) and the trio of D’Amonte Porter (21-207, 2 TDs) Jack McHale (10-241, 3 TDs) and Tresjon Ruiz (8-244, 4 TDs) leading the way. Senior Tre Moody (81-562, 8 TDs) powers the Trinity ground attack.

Palmyra (5-1) at Steelton-Highspire (5-1)

Steel-High is tied with unbeaten Middletown for first place in the Mid-Penn Capital race, with Palmyra just a game behind. If that’s not incentive enough, both teams are also district playoff contenders; the Rollers are ranked first in Class 1A, while the Cougars are seventh in the eight-team Class 5A field and can ill afford a loss here.

The Rollers have won four in a row since falling 35-20 to North Schuylkill in Week 2. They dusted Dover 44-26 last week. Dupre Andrews leads the team in rushing (425 yards, four TDs) and receiving (20 catches, 273 yards, five TDs), while quarterback Malachi Young has completed 63 percent of his passes for 867 yards and nine scores.

Palmyra suffered its first loss of the season last week, falling 17-10 to Middletown. The Cougars are powered by dual-threat quarterback Grant Haus, a junior who has passed for 561 yards, rushed for a team-high 440 yards and has a combined 12 touchdowns.

Harrisburg (6-0) at Central Dauphin (4-2)

The Cougars are ranked No. 80 in the highschoolamerica.com national poll, No. 1 in the state in Class 5A by Pennlive.com, are one of just seven undefeated teams left in the district, and are coming off a ridiculous 82-3 thrashing of Chambersburg in their last outing. They’ve got stars at almost every position, including running back/defensive end Micah Parsons (who de-committed to Penn State earlier this year and is being courted by just about every major college program), wideout Shaquon Anderson-Butts (a Penn State recruit), and quarterback Yahmir Wilkerson. The starting defense has allowed just one touchdown this season, and the Cougars have outscored teams 300-24. It’s hard to see anyone stopping them, at least until they get very far into the postseason.

The next team tasked to try is no pushover, though. And Central Dauphin will likely be in a rotten mood after falling 35-31 to arch-rival CD East last week, snapping a three-game winning streak. Senior quarterback Brady Straub and company will be primed to spring an upset when the Cougars drop by on Saturday.

Manheim Township (5-1) at Warwick (3-3)

This clash of L-L League Section 1 neighbors has implications on both the section title and District 3 Class 6A playoff races. Township has won three in a row since its baffling 49-7 non-league loss to Governor Mifflin on September 15, and is tied with Wilson for first place in the section. Since the Blue Streaks host the Bulldogs next week, they’ll have to avoid getting caught looking ahead.

That’s because Warwick is no slouch, in spite of its .500 record. The Warriors rank third in the league in points scored (246), and are second in total offense (427.7 yards per game). Of course, most of those stats were put up before starting quarterback Grayson Kline was lost for the season due to injury late last month, but new starter Adam Ricketts has performed solidly in his stead (27-for-49 for 551 yards and six touchdowns). Warwick has one of the league’s top targets in Carter Forney, who has caught 36 passes for 626 yards and a league-high 12 touchdowns.

Township will counter with the league’s second-ranked defense, which is giving up just 224.7 yards and 96 points this season.

Bermudian Springs (5-1) at Delone Catholic (5-1)

Bermudian Springs has first place in Division III of the YAIAA to itself, but Delone is one of three teams breathing right down the Eagles’ necks, just a game behind in the standings. Both teams are ranked near the top of their respective classes in the District 3 power rankings as well.

The Eagles have won three straight, including last week’s 54-7 drubbing of York Tech. Bermudian Springs does most of its damage on the ground, with the backfield tandem of Ryan Curffman (67-488, three TDs) and Darren Beall (82-424, eight TDs) leading the way.

The Squires are coming off a 49-27 rout of Biglerville, which helped them regain their footing after dropping a heartbreaking 28-27 decision to Littlestown the week before. Delone is another ground-and-pound team, averaging 246 rushing yards per game. Senior Ryan Hart (86-665, eight TDs) is the workhorse.