District 3 Playoffs: Top 20 (Nov 23, 2022)


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Oct 13, 2001
District 3 Playoffs: Top 20 (Nov 23, 2022)

We’re getting down to it now with 3 district titles yet to be decided and 3 more already crowned.
6A Harrisburg defends its title at home against Manheim Township Saturday
5A Exeter also defends their crown vs Cocalico Friday at Exeter
4A McDevitt battles Manheim Central in Harrisburg for district gold
3A Wyomissing takes it to ‘States’ against Danville Friday
2A Trinity takes on Executive Education Academy Friday
1A Steel High is home against Northern Lehigh Saturday afternoon
1 Bishop McDevitt 10-1 4A
Top seeded Bishop McDevitt breezed to an easy 42-7 win at beautiful Rocco Ortenzio Stadium in the district semifinal against 4th seeded Twin Valley (7-5), scoring 21 first quarter points. Twin Valley began with some trickery, going with an onside kick that failed. Bad idea, as this seemed to light a spark with McDevitt exploding for 358 yards in the first half alone, taking a 34-3 lead into the locker room. Sophomore quarterback Stone Saunders (6-2, 200) was again impressive, completing 11 of 19 passes for 256 yards with touchdowns of 34, 54 and 34 yards, all to Tyshawn Russell who finished with 5 receptions for 159 yards. Saunders touchdown to interception ratio is now a glittering 44 to 1. Marquese Williams (Minn commit), rushed for 150 yards, scoring on 4, 12 and 3 yard runs on a mere 12 carries. McDevitt ended with 448 yards of offense with the Crusader D stepping up big, holding the Raiders to 73 total yards. They’ll bounce back next year with only 8 seniors on the team after making their first playoff appearance in school history. Talk about a title bout involving historic titans; McDevitt advances to the district final going for their 16th district title against Manheim Central who is seeking their 19th. Both are explosive teams with superior quarterbacking and multiple weapons with McDevitt scoring 51ppg to Central’s 39. Both defenses have been outstanding with McDevitt allowing 9ppg a game and the Barons 11. McDevitt hasn’t been challenged since the opener, losing to Imhotep 19-14. Central also dominated their opponents excepting an excellent Exeter squad who gave them their only loss on Oct 28th in Manheim, 21-17, holding them to 57 yards rushing.
2 Harrisburg 9-2 6A
Somewhere in the game planning last week, Harrisburg head coach Cal Everett decided he could just run the ball down Central York’s throat. And that’s exactly what they did, rushing for 467 yards on Central York’s home field. 467 yards! This was facilitated by one of the better O-Lines in the state, and perhaps the best fullback as well in Mahkai Hopkins. He battered Central for 232 yards on 32 carries, scoring twice. I incorrectly entered his height and weight last week as 6-2, 215. His correct measurements are 6-1, 240 pounds, although he looks more like 255. The youthful OL was once again dominant, manned by 4 underclassmen who average 265 lbs; LT Kayne Veneable 6-4 295 jr, LG Tayvon Williamson 6-0 265 freshman, RG Trentin Moffit 5-10 245 jr and RT Kevin Brown 6-4 240 freshman. Center Tymere Jennings 5-11, 285 is the only senior. Their do-it-all wide out/running back Kyle Williams also shined, rushing for 156 yards and 3 touchdowns and returning a punt 64 yards for another score. There was some popping going on out there with the Panthers losing 3 of 3 fumbles and managing 67 total yards of offense and 5 first downs. They came in averaging 43ppg! No one does that to Central York except a team like Harrisburg who when in their stride, is as good as any team in the state. The win propels them into the district final where they go for a repeat and a rematch with Manheim Township who beat them Sept 2nd 24-20 on a last second score. No incentive there! Their quarterback Hayden Johnson can pick you apart at 75% completion rate for 2513 yards and the ability to run with 264 yards on 56 carries. He completed 25 of 33 for 209 yards the first meeting where their lack of a running game (45ry) wasn’t decisive. So if they can’t get after him it will be another crazy game decided in the final quarter.
3 Exeter Township 12-0 5A
Exeter had ‘one of those games’, but managed to defeat Northern York convincingly, 21-7. They relied on their stout defense (11ppg avg), limiting Northern to 142 total yards of offense. Miles Brant had two interceptions for Exeter, holding the Polar Bears to 63 yards through the air. The rest was taken care of by Penn State commit Joey Schlaffer, their unstoppable presence (6-6, 215) at tight end who caught 7 balls for 118 yards, including a 30-yard score. Their dominant O-Line was also on display with a steady diet of Richie Karstien rushing for 180 yards on 35 carries, taking his season total to 1533 yards with 19 touchdowns. The 12 wins is an all-time high for Exeter, putting them in the district final for the second straight year. What put them on the map across the state last year was their beating previously undefeated and seemingly unbeatable Governor Mifflin (10-1) 31-28 before coming up empty the following week against Penn Trafford 49-14 in the district semifinal. Cocalico (9-4) is next in the final coming in for their fourth consecutive playoff road game. The closest they’ve played a team resembling Exeter is Manheim Central where they lost 35-19. They had their moments pounding out 332 yards rushing but fumbled it away twice and had a pick. They also had issues defending the Baron’s pass attack, allowing 291 yards and 4 Zac Hahn touchdowns of 5, 41, 42 and 28 yards. Exeter will go after them the same way, with a heavy dose of FB/LB Richie Karstien (6-1, 220, 1533ry) with Mason Rotelli (67%-1513py) doing damage in a very balanced Exeter offense.
4 Manheim Township 9-3 6A
Manheim Township settled a score last week with a 42-7 pounding of rival Hempfield in the district semifinal. The ‘score settled’ was about Hempfield’s 17-14 win Sept 23rd where the Township amassed a total yardage advantage of 360-197, with 24 first down to the Knight’s 6, yet found a way to lose. See last week’s write up to review Hempfield’s scoring on a field goal, a 93-yard kickoff return and a Hail Mary, the only score by Hempfield’s offensive unit. This time around, Township left no doubt, passing for 132 yards and rushing for 228 while holding Hempfield to 108 yards rushing and 6 first downs. The defense forced 3 fumbles, recovering 2, holding their top back Grant Hoover (970 on year) to 19 yards. As always, Hayden Johnson was super accurate (74% to date) completing 13 of 16 passes (1/2 ratio) for 132 yards, rushing for 98 yards and a 20-yard scoot for 6 more. He spread out his throws to 5 receivers, led by Lex Haberbosch’s 4 receptions for 45 yards. All totaled, they rushed for 228 yards with Declan Clancy leading the way with 130, scoring on runs of 46, 15 and 4 yards. Heck of a win over a bitter conference rival, the toughest of rematches. We’ll see what they have left in the rematch at Harrisburg Saturday at 1.
5 Wyomissing 12-0 3A
Wyomissing mimicked Harrisburg but outdid them by keeping the ball almost exclusively on the ground rushing for 626 yards. That’s not a misprint! West Perry scored first when Marcus Quaker connected with Ian Goodling on a 47-yard strike. Thereon, Wyo destroyed them with their big play potential actualizing in the form of 72, 63x2, 41 and 80 yard scoring runs as the Spartans ran all over the Mustangs in a 63-7 rout, scoring 9 touchdowns. Matt Kramer led the onslaught with 155 yards, followed by Charlie McIntyre’s 165 yards, Drew Eisenhower’s 84 yards, Jeremiah Diaz’s 80 and Chase Eisenhower’s 66 yards. They allowed 349 meaningless yards with Perry scoring 7 points total; 49.85 yards per point. So make that 4 straight district 3 titles for Wyomissing and 11 total. Up next is quarterfinal action against undefeated Danville (12-0) at Danville. The last time they met was 2020 in the 3A State Semifinal where they crushed Danville 44-14 at Wyomissing. This is a different Danville team (3 straight D4 titles), veteran, with 9 back on both sides. Quarterback Zack Gordon throws at 75% for 1856 with a 27/2 ratio. Ty Stauffer is a nice back (6-1, 205, sr, Army) with 1021 yards and everyone can catch. They’re a big offense at 50ppg with an outstanding and quick defense allowing 5ppg, or 56 points all year with 8 shutouts. The OL is mixed with sizeable tackles in Declan Aiken 6-2, 270, Jah McCullough 6-0 270 and Justin Kutcher at 6-1 265, while the guards are Joe Shipe 5-9 190 at one position and 5-11, 190 Lincoln Diehl at the other. Notable wins are Southern Columbia (10-3), 41-20 and Loyalsock Township (11-2) 17-14 in the regular season and again in the district title game, 41-20. Hard getting a good fix on the Ironmen with both Montoursville and Berwick having off years. But they’re definitely rolling now at 28-7 the last 3 years and 75-44 the last 6. Looks like a very competitive game. Note: Coach Bob Wolfrum of Wyo is now the winningest coach in the district with 349 wins.
6 Manheim Central 11-1 4A
Manheim Central got some resistance from Lampeter Strasburg’s bend-but-don’t-break defense before pulling away when the ground game iced it with 3 touchdowns in the fourth quarter for a 42-6 semifinal win in Districts. Although they were always in control, LS quarterback Trent Wagner kept it interesting, throwing for 191 yards. But Central’s Zac Hahn (coach’s son) was more, completing 11 of 16 passes for 131 yards and a 43-yard strike to lead receiver Aaron Enterline in the first quarter to loosen things up. Enterline’s 6 catches for 81 yards combined with Brycen Arnold’s pounding runs totaling 232 yards was more than the Pioneers could manage. He had scores of 12, 3 and 19 yards. Jason Weit kept em honest with 8 carries for 46 yards and 2 scores. 415 total yards later it was all over with the Baron D holding LS to 34 yards rushing. The win brings two of the storied programs in the district together for the D3 crown when they play Bishop McDevitt Friday night in Harrisburg.
7 Central York 10-2 6A
Central York’s game with Harrisburg in York had all the hallmarks of a great one, perhaps a classic, but ended with a thud when Central York got manhandled by a Harrisburg team that was bigger, faster, far more talented and a lot more physical. By manhandled, I’m talking 44 to 7 on the scoreboard….at home, 67 total yards of offense to Harrisburg’s 467, 5 first downs to Harrisburg’s 28, 4 Central turnovers (3 fumbles) to Harrisburg’s 1. You knew Harrisburg could hang with them seeing CY allow other big offenses like Cumberland Valley and York (x2) to score 117 points in 3 games. Still, this was a shocker. So it’s back to the drawing board for Central facing a substantial rebuild. Season over.
8 Hempfield 9-3 6A
Like Central York above, Hempfield’s season came to a startling conclusion, losing big at home, 42-7. With their top running back held to 19 yards, quarterback Jackson Landis was slinging it, pressured into 3 interceptions and but 76 yards passing at 48%. Season over.
9 Cumberland Valley 7-4 6A
Cumberland Valley had their first winning season since the arrival of head coach Josh Oswalt who came over from Central York in 2019. Since his arrival, the Eagles have steadily improvement, going 3-5, 5-5 and 7-4 last year, transitioning from the Wing-T that has defined CV historically to the Spread. Three years ago they were losing to struggling programs like Altoona and Chambersburg. This year they beat Manheim Township (8-3, 5th seed), Central York (10-1, 2 seed) and Spring Ford (8-4, 8th seed Dist-1). For the District-1 crowd and linkage purposes (D3 to D1), Spring Ford routed Ridley (7-4) 42-28 then lost to Garnet Valley (11-0) 30-27 in overtime. Season over
10 Steel High 11-1 1A
Steelton Highspire continued their rampage through the district with a 37-7 win against Windber (11-2) of District 5. The magnitude of their win was evident in the enormity of their attack and its balance. 442 total yards of offense showed a division of 220 yards passing and 220 rushing. Junior quarterback Alex Erby was near perfect, completing 17 of 20 passes to Daquan McCraw catching 4 for 80 yards, Jaeion Perry pulling down 5 for 72 yards and Durrell Ceaser who had 7 receptions for 54 yards. Ronald Burnette took care of the ground game with 204 yards on 22 carries. The defense had Windber in almost full lockdown, allowing 84 yards rushing on 39 attempts and 25 passing. Northern Lehigh (12-1) is next, winner of the D1/2/11 title after defeating Lackawanna Trail (8-5) 40-7. After going 43-14 the previous 5 years, that was clearly not LT’s best edition. But NL did play some tough stuff including Northwestern Lehigh (11-2) who they beat 34-27 and Notre Dame-GP (9-3) in a hard fought 40-33 win. NL’s going to line up and come right at you with a team that runs the ball (Wing-T) 78% of the time. If they have to pass, Nick Frame is at 48% for 1118 (10/5 ratio) yards, preferring instead to run it, gaining 1038 on 128 carries with 10 more touchdowns. At 2156 yards on the season or 166yds/game, stopping him is the key.
11 Wilson 8-3 6A
Wilson concluded another winning season, their 59th in a row…!...with a first round 32-21 loss to their nemesis Harrisburg High. Another rebuild awaits graduating quarterback Tommy Hunsicker and all everything Cam Jones. Season over.
York (William Penn) 6-4 6A

For the last 6 years, York has fielded one of the most explosive offenses in the state that saw them reach new heights in the win column and on the field. In that period, they won 47 of 63 games, averaging 44ppg in 3 of the 6 seasons. The last two years were especially productive with teams averaging 44 and 45 points a game. It was quite a run. But now, graduation will claim both quarterback Sam Stoner (137/201/2051/68%/25-6….St. Francis, Towson, Bucknell) and Jaheim White (189/1918ry, 33/428py West Virginia commit). Sophomore David Warde (63/933py) returns. Season over.
12 Cocalico 9-4 5A
Cocalico pulled the upset of the weekend putting a 32-8 hurtin on previously undefeated and top seeded Solanco. It was a rematch of Cocalico’s 21-7 loss back on Sept 2nd also at Solanco. But the schedule prepared them well, playing the Mules twice, Manheim Central (11-1), Lampeter Strasburg (9-3) and Wyomissing (12-0) in regular season games before taking on Elizabethtown (8-3), Gettysburg (8-3) and Solanco in the postseason, all on the road. Beating Solanco was no fluke, holding them to 101 yards rushing, 42 passing and 5 first downs, while Cocalico pounded out 315 yards on the ground. Junior Sam Steffey led the way with 251 yards, scoring on runs of 12, 45 and 6 yards on 31 carries. He has 1728 for the season. Quarterback Josh Myer, only a sophomore, rushed 18 times for 67 yards, completing 1 of 2 passes. The DL led by DEs Chuckie Drain (5-11, 215, sr) and Owen Weaver (5-10, 210, jr) were everywhere with sophomore DT Derek Belzince (5-9, 270) and DT Logan Brubaker (5-8, 210) a junior, plugging up the middle. The boys from Denver can play and they’re a young group. Up next is another big challenge playing Exeter’s’ undefeated team at Exeter. Both schools are from the LL with Exeter playing in Section 2 with Manheim Central, Governor Mifflin, Warwick and others while Cocalico, whose mascot is also the Eagle, plays in Section 4 with Wyomissing, Lampeter Strasburg and Berks Catholic.
13 Solanco 11-1 5A
Solanco had it going their first 11 games of the season, rolling out 11 victories with a winning margin of 37-23, then crashed and burned against Cocalico in not only a defeat, but a rout, losing 32-8. They’ll enter next season minus their leading backs, losing Josh Florren’s 1008 yards, Cole Harris’s 1001, quarterback Brody Mellinger’s 858 and Elijah Cunningham’s 582 yards plus 327 in receptions. Season over.
14 West Perry 11-2 3A
West Perry Mustang’s had some juice this year with an explosive offense ending the season scoring on average 41ppg. But it wasn’t enough against the real thoroughbreds where they were trampled by the 11-1 Rollers of Steelton Highspire 53-34 and the undefeated Wyomissing Spartans (12-0), 63-7. Season over.
15 Trinity 9-4 2A
Trinity served notice last week after defeating Philadelphia’s West Catholic (4-8) 24-0. The Shamrocks kept it on the ground almost exclusively, rushing the ball 40 times for 120 yards, led by Maximilian Schlager’s 57 yards on 13 carries. Christian Joy had 24 yards on 8 carries with the freshman Texas A&M recruit Messiah Mickens obviously keyed on, rushing for 16 yards on 13 attempts. Caleb Wray threw 8 times completing 4 for 55 yards. West had 123 total yards of offense. Executive Education Academy (8-3, D-11) is next. They’re a second year charter school from Allentown who is doing something right after destroying previously undefeated Lakeland (12-2), a perennial District-2 power, 42-15. Important noting Lake’s Qb Dominico Spataro (2388py-61%, 31/8, 815ry) was hobbled severly with a bad leg disallowing him to run or play defense. This allowed the Raptors to swarm, holding the Chiefs to negative 20 yards rushing. So it looks like Trinity has their hands full if they can’t control quarterback Darmel Lopez (1956, 58%, 22/14) and their prolific passing attack that accounts for 68% of their yardage.
16 Gettysburg 8-3 5A
Highly successful return to the Mid Penn (yes!) winning the competitive Colonial division with wins against primary comp Shippensburg and Northern. They lose some people but return sophomore Brady Heiser who threw for 1196 yards (57%, 8/4) and rushed for 311. Season over.
17 Northern York 8-5 5A
The Polar Bears went down like they always do going back to the days we (Gettysburg) played them losing to Exeter 21-7. Junior Cole Bartram was the man, rushing for 85 yards, ending the year at 1234 yards. Season over.
18 Lampeter Strasburg 9-3 4A
LS lost 42-6 in the district semifinal to Manheim Central although they hung around through the half, down 14-0 before the Barons erupted for 28 second half points. Season over.
19 Shippensburg 8-4 5A
The Hounds lost a tough one to Solanco in the quarterfinal 42-35 and face a major rebuild losing their entire backfield and their top receivers. Season over
20 Carlisle 6-5 6A
Coach Bret Ickes announced his retirement after the playoff loss to Hempfield following a 26-year career in the program, 16 as an assistant and 10 as a head coach with a 32-66 record; 7-4, 6-5, 6-5 the last 3 years. Season over.
South Western 7-4 5A

This team was close with a 30-28 loss to Central York (10-2) and Northern (8-5), 21-20 while defeating Dover (9-3) 41-13 and New Oxford (8-3) 24-7. Season over.
Twin Valley 7-5 4A
Great first season under Bret Myers getting them to the postseason for the first time. Young bunch you’ll hear from next year. Season over.
Garden Spot 7-4 5A
First winning season since 2014 with more to following returning Kye Harting who completed 133 of 247 (54%) for 1970 yards, 20/10 ratio and rushed for 1108 with 13 more Tds as a junior. Season over.
Hamburg 9-3 3A
Awesome season with seniors Xander Manapace (6-5, 215,) throwing for 1833 yards (63%, 16/4) and rushing for 594 (14 Tds) and Pierce Mason rushing for 1367 yards and 23 scores. BIG losses! Season over.
Cedar Cliff 7-4 5A
Look out next year with most of the team’s offensive fire power returning that averaged 26ppg. Season over.
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