HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: District 3 Class 4A Semifinal Preview

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The District 3 Class 4A playoffs continue Friday night with a pair of semifinal matchups.

Defending champion Bishop McDevitt hosts familiar playoff foe Lampeter-Strasburg in one semifinal matchup, while Berks Catholic and Milton Hershey meet for the second straight season on the other side of the bracket.

Both games kick off at 7 p.m.

The winners will play in next Friday’s championship game at the home of the higher seed.

Here are previews of both games:

DISTRICT 3 CLASS 4A PLAYOFF BRACKET

Lampeter-Strasburg (9-3) at Bishop McDevitt (8-3)

The host Crusaders won a rematch with Mid-Penn Keystone Division rival Susquehanna Township 21-7 last week, defeating the Indians for the second time in three weeks. Now the defending Class 4A champions will attempt to book their third straight trip to the title game. They get a familiar foe in Lampeter-Strasburg; McDevitt defeated the Pioneers 47-17 in the 2017 Class 4A semifinals and are 4-0 all-time against L-S in the district playoffs.

This season, McDevitt finished second to Cedar Cliff in the Keystone race. The Crusaders got off to a slow start and were 2-3 at the season’s halfway point — a slump that included a 20-17 loss to the eventual division champs. But McDevitt got hot in the season’s second half and enters Friday’s game on a six-game winning streak.

Against Hanna last week, McDevitt got a pair of touchdown runs from freshman Marquese Williams, who carried 16 times for 116 yards in all. The Crusaders also scored a defensive touchdown on a 30-yard pick-six by Ben Marisco. McDevitt held Hanna to 193 total yards and three first downs. The Crusader offense racked up 254 yards despite playing with starting wide receivers Mario Easterly and Omari Hopkins.

Williams has emerged as McDevitt’s top playmaker and is closing in on the 1,000-yard milestone for the season. He’s got 933 yards and 14 touchdowns on 137 attempts. QB Lek Powell has completed 139 of 222 passes for 1,780 yards and 15 TDs. Easterly, who was held out last week on what was termed a coach’s decision, has caught 51 passes for 739 yards and seven TDs. Hopkins, who was injured, has 20 catches for 492 yards and three scores.

L-S reached the semifinals with a 27-18 victory over York Suburban, the previously unbeaten top seed. It was the fifth straight win for the Pioneers, who finished third in the L-L League Section 2 race. Quarterback Connor Nolt, who missed the Pioneers’ playoff-opening 34-7 victory over Elco with an injury, returned to the lineup to score the decisive touchdown with a seven-yard run in the fourth quarter that stretched his team’s lead to eight points.

Prior to that, Suburban had rallied from a three-touchdown deficit to cut the L-S lead to 21-18. The Pioneers won the game despite being outgained 323-274 in total yardage. Alex Knapp scored a pair of touchdowns and rushed for 95 yards on five carries for L-S. One of Knapp’s TD runs was an 85-yarder.

Nolt has completed 74 of 146 passes for 1,458 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Bryan McKim, who missed last week’s game with an injury, leads the team in rushing with 1,111 yards and 15 touchdowns on 133 attempts. If he can’t go against McDevitt, L-S will need Knapp (71-663, eight TDs) and Drew Harris (37-230, two TDs) to step up.

The Pioneers are chasing their second district title. Their last crown came in 2007, when the defeated Gettysburg 35-21. L-S is 15-11 in overall in the playoffs.

Berks Catholic (7-4) at Milton Hershey (10-1)

Berks Catholic, the No. 3 seed, held off sixth-seeded Gettysburg 14-7 in last week’s quarterfinals, riding a 307-yard performance on the ground and a defense that held the Warriors to 244 total yards and a single visit to the end zone. The Saints got touchdowns from Colby Newton and Abdul Macfoy, who both cleared the 100-yard plateau in the victory. Macfoy, the team’s leading rusher, had 113 yards on 15 carries and scored on a 35-yard run in the third quarter. Newton had a 64-yard TD run and finished with 119 yards on seven attempts.

BC has won five of its last six games. The Saints, who fell to Class 3A finalist Wyomissing 23-0 in Week 10, finished second to the Spartans in the Berks League Section 2 race. Their other three losses were non-conference setbacks that occurred early in the season; the most notable a 31-6 loss to Class 6A finalist Central Dauphin in Week 3.

Macfoy leads BC with 821 yards and 12 touchdowns on 102 carries, while Newton has chipped in 489 yards and six scores on 62 attempts. QB Bradley Hoffman has completed 32 of 91 passes for 370 yards and three TDs; so it’s clear the Saints depend heavily on their rushing attack.

BC is trying to get back to the district finals for the third straight season and the seventh time overall. The Saints fell 41-31 to McDevitt last year, and are 4-2 in the finals overall. Their last title came in 2017, when they defeated McDevitt 45-24.

Milton Hershey is the No. 2 seed in the 4A bracket. After sitting out the first round on a bye, the Mid-Penn Capital Division champions defeated Conrad Weiser 22-10 in last week’s quarterfinals. It was the ninth straight victory for Milton Hershey, whose only loss was a 20-13 setback to Susquehanna Township in Week 2.

Against Conrad Weiser, running back Tigere Mavesere rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns to lead the offense. The Spartans also got a pair of TDs from wideout Josh Parra (4-104), while Dion Bryan racked up 109 yards on two receptions and scored on a 16-yard run. Terrill Chadwick added 80 rushing yards for Milton Hershey.

This is as deep as the Spartans have ever gotten in the District 3 playoffs. They are 4-12 overall in their playoff history, with seven previous visits to the semifinals. Berks Catholic defeated Milton Hershey 49-21 in the semifinals last year.

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