HSFF ‘Game of the Week’ Preview Manheim Central at Warwick


Manheim Central (2-0) at Warwick (2-0)

Our game of the week pits two northern Lancaster County neighbors and former Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 2 foes against one another. Warwick moved up to Section 1 in 2009, leaving a four-year hiatus in the series, which resumed in 2012 when the two teams started playing again during the non-league portion of the season. Since then, the Barons have reeled off seven straight wins, including a 27-20, come-from-behind triumph last year.

Central is in the midst of a difficult stretch to open the season. After holding off Susquehanna Township in Week 1 and edging Hempfield last week, the Barons are facing their second of three straight Section 1 opponents in Warwick before traveling to West Lawn next week to take on Wilson.

Both of the Barons' wins have been dogfights, due in part to their somewhat sluggish start offensively. Central is averaging just 209 yards per game in the first two weeks, which is well below expectations with quarterback Evan Simon back to lead the way. Simon has completed just 39 percent of his passes for 226 yards and a touchdown, but he's thrown two picks. He's also averaging just under three yards per carry on the ground. Last year, Simon threw for 2,597 yards and 29 touchdowns and ran for 451 yards and three scores.

On the plus side, Central's defense has been sturdy, allowing just 206 yards per game in its first two outings.

That defense will be tested this week, though. Warwick has been lighting it up offensively in the early going. The Warriors have outscored their first two opponents 117-13 and are averaging 502.5 yards per game in their first two weeks. Quarterback Joey McCracken has completed 31 of 40 passes for 610 yards and eight touchdowns, spreading the ball around to nine different receivers. Caleb Schmitz (9-187, 3 TDs) is his top target after senior Trey Glass was lost for the season in Week 1 with another knee injury.

Central will be Warwick's biggest test to date after the Warriors posted easy victories over Ephrata (61-0) and Garden Spot (56-13) to start the year.

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