Here are FOX43’s Five Games to Watch for Week 10
It feels like two-a-days and scrimmages just finished up a couple of days ago, but here we are in the final week of the regular season for Central Pennsylvania high school football. The season sure flies by, doesn’t it?
Fortunately, there are a ton of teams in the region that will be moving on to the District 3 playoffs, so we still have a few weeks of football left.
And this week’s regular season finale has a lot of great matchups on tap. Division championships and district playoff berths will be on the line for a handful of teams in the Mid-Penn, YAIAA and Lancaster-Lebanon Leagues.
Let’s take a look at some of the week’s biggest matchups.
FOX 43 HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL FRENZY GAME OF THE WEEK
Red Lion (8-1) at Dallastown (7-2)
The YAIAA Division I title race is bordering on ridiculous, with four teams currently tied in first place at 5-1. Two of those teams square off in our Game of the Week. (The others, Central York and York, also square off Friday night — see below.)
This game could have some implications on the District 3 Class 6A playoffs, too. Red Lion is currently ranked No. 3 in the district’s power rankings, which are used to determine the eight-team 6A field. The Lions need a win to lock up a home game in the first round, which kicks off next week. Dallastown is ranked sixth, and the Wildcats want to secure the best-possible first-round matchup. A loss probably won’t be fatal, but it could potentially drop them far enough in the rankings that they’d have to visit one of the top seeds, like Cumberland Valley or Manheim Township, in their playoff opener.
Interesting note: While one or both of them are likely to move based on this week’s result, if the current power rankings held up, Red Lion and Dallastown would be seeded third and sixth, respectively, and would play again in the first round, at Red Lion. (Again, that outcome is unlikely, but fun to think about.)
Dallastown’s offense revolves around York County rushing leader Nyzair Smith, who is coming off a record-setting performance in last week’s 49-32 win over Central York. Smith carried the ball 31 times for 369 yards and five touchdowns, and set school records for rushing yards in a season (1,662) and yards in a single game. Smith has 24 touchdowns this season.
Red Lion counters with arguably the league’s top dual threat, quarterback Zach Throne. The 6-2, 175-pound senior has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in passing (69-for-99, 1,075 yards, 14 TDs) and rushing (150-1,360, 19 TDs).
Central York (6-3) at York (8-1)
The stakes can’t get much higher for Central York, which is trying to earn a share of the YAIAA Division I title and fight its way into the 6A playoffs, where the Panthers are currently on the wrong side of the bubble. Central York is ranked ninth in the power rankings, and only the top eight get in.
But with win over York, the No. 5 team in the Class 5A power rankings, and a little bit of outside help, Central York might slip into the postseason. It’s somewhat unlikely — The No. 7 and No. 8 teams, Wilson and Hempfield, are both favorites in their respective matchups with Conestoga Valley and Lebanon Friday night — but stranger things have happened.
To stop York, they’ll have to find a way to solve running back Khalid Dorsey, the main catalyst to the Bearcats’ turnaround season. Dorsey has 1,461 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground for York, which is vying for a division title and a berth in the playoffs one year after winning just a single game in 2016.
Northern Lebanon (8-1) at Lancaster Catholic (5-4)
Lots of storylines in this Lancaster-Lebanon League clash. First and foremost, the winner of this one locks up the Section 3 championship, since both teams come in with identical 5-0 league records and have separated themselves from the rest of the pack.
But the bigger story is that this is also the last game for Catholic coach Bruce Harbach, who announced earlier this month that he is retiring at season’s end. Harbach led the Crusaders to state championships in 2009 and 2011, won four District 3 championships, and captured eight section titles in his 16 seasons at the helm.
Catholic appears to be out of the running for the four-team District 3 Class 3A playoff field, so this is the Crusaders’ chance to send Harbach out a winner with another section title in hand.
Catholic has won five straight since an 0-4 start. Northern Lebanon has won seven in a row, and the Vikings are comfortably set in the District 3 Class 4A power rankings. They are hoping to knock off Catholic and secure home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Steve Herb (124-1,066, 16 TDs) is the main workhorse in Northern Lebanon’s backfield. The tandem of Malkam Lawrence (100-702, six TDs) and Quincy Clark (101-405, 13 TDs) are the guys to watch for Catholic.
Middletown (9-0) at Steel-High (8-1)
The Mid-Penn Capital conference championship will be on the line as the undefeated Blue Raiders journey to Steelton to take on the Rollers in a battle of District 3 top seeds.
Middletown, one of the district’s five remaining unbeatens, is No. 1 in the Class 3A rankings. Steel-High is No. 1 in Class 1A.
The Raiders do most of their offensive damage on the ground, with the tandem of Jose Lopez (156-1,352, 18 TDs) and Brady Fox (75-743, 14 TDs) doing the heavy lifting. Middletown has just 801 yards through the air this season.
Steel-High takes the opposite approach, with a potent passing game led by quarterback Malachi Young (83-131-4, 1,077 yards, 11 TDs). Dupre Andrews is the team’s leading rusher and top receiver, with 816 yards and 10 TDs on the ground and 23 catches for 301 yards and six scores.
The Rollers’ only loss is a 35-20 non-league setback against North Schuylkill. Steel-High has won seven in a row since then.
Middletown has outscored its opponents 377-79 during its current nine-game winning streak.
Penn Manor (3-6) at Manheim Township (8-1)
The Blue Streaks will be heavy favorites in this one, and they’ve already got a home game in the District 3 Class 6A playoffs locked up. So why are we mentioning this one?
A Township win will give the Streaks outright possession of the L-L League Section 1 championship. It would be the first time in a decade that someone other than Wilson won the section crown. Township, which snapped the Bulldogs’ 68-game winning streak against section competition with a 38-14 victory on Oct. 20, is seeking its seventh Section 1 title and its first since 2007 — which is the last time someone other than Wilson finished on top.
The Streaks are pretty much written in as the No. 2 seed in the 6A playoffs. If the power rankings stay the same after this week’s results, guess who they’d host in next week’s first round?
That would be Wilson.