District 3 Playoffs: Top 20 (Nov 30, 2022)


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Oct 13, 2001
District 3 Playoffs: Top 20 (Nov 30, 2022)

Quarterfinals, 6A, 5A, 4A also district championship games.
6A Harrisburg beat Manheim Township 44-6
5A Cocalico beat Exeter 34-14
4A Bishop McDevitt beat Manheim Central 40-0
3A Wyomissing beat Danville 20-19
2A Trinity beat Executive Education Academy 35-17
1A Steelton Highspire beat Northern Lehigh 42-35
** Other Mid Penn Teams in playoffs out of district.
State College (13-0) beat North Allegheny (11-2) 28-7 in 6A quarterfinals

1 Bishop McDevitt 11-1 4A
The Crusaders continued the quest for their first state title since 1995 where they defeated Burrell 29-0. Since then, they’ve gone 0-3, losing to Allentown Central Catholic in 2010 and Archbishop Wood in 2011 and 2013. Last year’s team got to the final where they lost to Aliquippa 34-27 in Hershey. This year’s team looks more than capable of getting there again and winning it by absolutely throttling teams. Through the playoffs they’ve defeated East Pennsboro 42-7, outgaining them 483-67. The week before that was Twin Valley, routed 47-3, outgained 448-73. Last week saw them with no issues against Manheim Central, routing them 40-0 while out gaining them 420 to 64.
The challenge this week is read hot Crestwood (13-1), winners of 12 straight after beating a solid Bonner-Prendergast (11-2) 21-14 last week. The week before saw them defeat District-2 kingpin Valley View (10-3) in a rematch 12-7. So they’re battle tested with a veteran team. Oddly, they’re coming off a 3-8 season but returned 19 starters who did a complete and surprise turnaround. There are no other surprises with these Comets who average 5 passes a game. So they’re predictable, lining up and pounding you with a solid back in Noah Schultz’s 2453 rush yards and 36 scores and freshman quarterback Jaden Shedlock’s 1058 rush yards. They do this behind a sizeable line of Aidan Jardine 6-3 275, Logan Price 6-3 290, John Jones 6-1 280, Chris Smolenak 6-1 245 and TE Magnas Bibla 6-2 215; all starters from last year. They play in the Wyoming Valley-Division One conference with very solid programs at Dallas and Valley View. Others include Williamsport, Wilkes-Barre, Berwick, Wyoming Valley West and Hazelton. The conference is typically dominated by Dallas and Valley but has tailed off with Berwick and Valley West returning to the pack over the years. They average 42ppg and allow 13, holding Bonner to 88 yards rushing. That was an eye-opening win knowing Bonner has a 2-point loss to the undefeated Inter-Ac champ Haverford School (10-0). Crestwood looks like a major test.
2 Harrisburg 10-2 6A
Like McDevitt above, Harrisburg beat the other ‘Manheim’ team convincingly, thumping Manheim Township 44-6. It was 31-0 at the half. (Township has a Lancaster zip, roughly half way between Manheim and Lancaster and is not part of the town of Manheim) This game was also a statistical rout, holding the Blue Streaks to 54 rush yards while they rushed for 236 yards. As good a team as Township is with a scary passing attack, the game is still about running the football and stopping the other guy from doing the same. Harrisburg did that in spades, holding their vaunted passing attack to 115 yards. Township had 9 first downs to Harrisburg’s 17, with DE Terrell Reynolds having 3 sacks to take his postseason total to 10! The attack as always was well distributed with FB Mahkai Hopkins rushing for 70 yards, Shawn Lee completing 9/13 for 112 yards and rushing for 66, with Kyle Williams rushing for 76 yards on 14 carries and a 57-yard punt return for 6 opening things up in the second quarter. The win earned them their second straight district title which is hard to do at the 6A classification in this district. They move on to play Mid Penn-Commonwealth rival State College (13-0) who beat them in the regular season 20-7. Let’s see how SC does in the rematch facing starting quarterback Shawn Lee who missed that game. State is here after beating North Allegheny (11-2) 28-7 last week. They are stacked..!!..with 2 dual threat quarterbacks, a pile of receivers and a hot shot freshman running back in D’Antae Sheffey (5-11, 180, 1680ry, 21 Tds). It’s a sizeable offense at 39ppg with a defense allowing 16. But, you can get to them as shown by Downingtown East (9-4) putting 31 on them in a 32-31 loss, Cumberland Valley (7-4) who fell 48-31 and McDowell (10-3) who lost in triple overtime 51-50. This one should be close to a toss-up as a conference rivalry rematch at a neutral site like Altoona’s Mansion Park. Could be a classic.
3 Wyomissing 13-0 3A
As you might expect, Wyomissing finally got a test going on the road to play a quality opponent/program like undefeated Danville (13-1). They’ve gone 75-44 the last 10 years and 88-44 coming into this one with a veteran team; see last week’s write up. It began as a runaway with Wyomissing getting two quick scores for a 14-0 first quarter lead and 21-6 lead at the half. Things were looking good with Matt Kramer (27/157) and Drew Eisenhower (14/109) plowing through the Ironmen with surprising ease. Then the second half happened where the Ironmen lived up to their name, keeping Wyomissing out of the end zone while scoring 13 unanswered points. Things turned on a dime when they stopped ‘Wyo’ on a fourth and one, nailing Matt Kramer for a no gainer. But the Spartans gathered themselves to stop a late drive where Danville drove deep in the waning moments, only to miss a 33-yard field goal by inches. Like so many of these games, you have to run the ball and Danville couldn’t. They were held to 96 yards rushing while Wyo battered them with a punishing ground game that totaled 326 yards on 58 carries by games end. The win advances them to the semifinal against Neumann Goretti (10-3). The Saints recovered from a 3-3 start to be here on a seven game run after defeating Northwestern Lehigh (11-3) 38-6 last week. The game is at the Germantown Super Site where Wyo will focus on running back/safety Shawn Battle who dented NL for 126 yards on 26 carries, scored 3 touchdowns and had a 102-yard Pick-6 for another score. He’s a large part of their offense with a scholarship to Boston College. Neumann’s D has some real talent from front to rear in DT Deshon Dotson (6-5 275 PSU, Mia offered), DE Daniel Adefolarin (6-4 235, Temple offered). LB Sam Hobbs (6-1 215, Syracuse offered) and DB Shawn Battle (5-11 175, BC commit). This is the team’s strength, yielding 11ppg. The weakness is on offense where they suffered power outages against Penn Charter (5-5) 21-0, Bonner (11-2) 26-14 and Conwell Egan (6-5), losing 29-14. They seem pedestrian among playoff teams at 28ppg. This is a rematch of last year’s game where Wyomissing routed Neumann 42-6.
4 Manheim Township 9-4 6A
Township felt Harrisburg’s wrath last week suffering their worst loss of the season in a 44-6 disaster at Harrisburg in the district final. For Harrisburg, the win avenged a 24-20 home loss to these same Blue Streaks back on Sept 9th. But don’t feel too bad for the Streaks. They return big numbers for next season with all their primary skill people back including quarterback Hayden Johnson, running backs Declan Clancy, Nick Good and Jack Pftzmaier, plus their top 4 receivers London Kennel, Asher Wolfe, Nick Palumbo and Good.
5 Steelton Highspire 12-1 1A
For the first time this season, Steel High entered the fourth quarter starring at a 21-14 deficit on the scoreboard against Northern Lehigh. But after tangling with teams like Bishop Canevin (12-2), Westinghouse (13-0) and Trinity (10-3) this year, no one was panicking. In fact, they put on one of their most explosive displays of the season, scoring 28 points while holding Northern Lehigh to 14, pulling out the win in the final seconds of the 1A quarterfinal game. It ended almost in a blur with Northern Lehigh tying the score at 35-all with :27 left to play. That actually left too much time on the clock for the Rollers who barreled down the field with Jaeion Perry barely getting two feet in bounds on a heave by quarterback Alex Erby to the corner with :04 left on the clock. The game was also tight on the stat sheets where Steelton had 278 rushing and 134 passing to NL’s 277 rushing and 131 passing. Robert Burnette led the way for Steelton rushing for 222 yards with 3 touchdowns with Alex Erby completing 12 of 15 passes for 134 yards and 2 touchdown tosses. Durrell Ceasar had a key interception in the end zone for the Rollers. Nick Frame was the man for Northern throwing for 131 yards and rushing for 65, throwing 2 Tds and rushing for another. The Rollers move on to the state semifinal to play Canton (12-1) who pummeled Northern Cambria (10-4) 42-13 last week. Canton is from the Northern Tier League in District 4 with an impressive schedule defeating Union (11-3, Wpial) 31-18 in the opener; the same Union that beat well regarded Bishop Canevin (12-2) last week 26-0 whose only previous loss was to Steel High 21-14 in their opener. Other wins included Troy (9-3) 28-14 and Muncy (10-1) 42-7 in the playoffs. Their loss was to Jersey Shore (12-1) 23-0 who lost to Allentown Central Catholic 38-31in the postseason. This is a veteran team returning 16 seniors from a 13-1 team that beat the Rollers last year 32-27 before losing to Bishop Guilfoyle 20-7 in the semifinal. Looks like another competitive game. The Rollers are more but these District 4 teams play hard-nosed football and are not intimidated.
6 Cocalico 10-4 5A
Cocalico shocked the district with ripples spreading across the state after beating a powerful Exeter team who had gone through twelve teams unscathed before losing 34-14 in the District-3 final (state quarterfinal). Talons were out in this one with Eagle on Eagle in a physical game with Cocalico hitting hard, holding the larger more impressive looking Exeter Eagle’s to 190 total yards; 98 rushing. Cocalico jumped them early, taking a 20-7 lead at the half, then tacked on 14 more in the final quarter. As much as the word ‘physical’ is thrown around, Cocalico really is a physical bunch. Their veer is a puzzle to many with everyone including the quarterback, especially the quarterback, heavily involved. Josh Myer completed the two passes he threw for 87 yards (!) while rushing for 72 yards and 2 touchdowns on 16 carries. Brayden Eppinette had 5 carries for 53 yards, Sam Steffey 47 on 17 carries with Aaron Longenecker gaining 22 yards on 5 attempts. The win was their fourth straight playoff win on the road and second straight against an undefeated team, routing Solanco (11-1) the previous week 32-8. Regular season games against stiff comp saw them at Manheim Central (11-2), Solanco, Lampeter Strasburg (9-3) and Wyomissing (13-0)….plus Elizabethtown and Gettysburg both 8-3 in the postseason. If ever there was a road warrior! Pine Richland (11-3) is next at Mansion Park Friday. Like Cocalico, they’re on a roll, winners of their last 10 games including last week’s 21-14 win against Cathedral Prep (8-3). What little I’ve seen of them (videos) left me impressed with their size compared to Cocalico’s; #75 (!) and 73, Ryan Palmieri at QB/S and the play at linebacker that was very impressive. Cocalico hasn’t seen an O-Line like this one since losing to Wyomissing 38-7. Pine looks like the better team but so did Exeter so we’ll see. They’re hot, winning their last 10 after a 1-3 start, and well tested with wins against North Allegheny, Pitt CC, Woodland Hills (saw vs York), USC and Cathedral.
7 Manheim Central 11-2 4A
Down 26-0 at the half, you’ve got to say you just got it handed to you when Bishop McDevitt routed the Barons to win the district final 40-0. Central couldn’t get anything going against McDevitt’s D-Front where DT Riley Robell and Linebackers Lucas Lawler, Kade Werner and Brennan Almond shut down the talented Brycen Arnold to 38 yards on 15 carries. He ended the season with 2242 yards and 34 touchdowns. Look for Central to be a major force again next season with his return and quarterback Zac Hahn and their two leading receivers.
8 Central York 10-2 6A
Season over.
9 Exeter Township 12-1 5A
Exeter’s hopes for a second consecutive district title vanished in a hurry with Cocalico’s shutdown defense making early statements and hits that gave them a 20-7 lead at the half. It wasn’t over, but the stage had been set as Cocalico rolled to their seventh straight win, a 34-14 shocker, holding them to 190 total yards and spoiling their undefeated season. Before this one, defense was something Exeter hung their hat on, allowing 132 points the entire year or 11ppg. Cocalico’s 34 points was the most scored on them all year. For the coming season, they again graduate big numbers including quarterback Mason Rotelli, running back Richie Karstien, tight end Joey Schlaffer, lineman Anthony Caccesse and others. Time to rebuild.
Cumberland Valley 7-4 6A

Season over.
10 Trinity 10-4 2A
The Trinity Express kept right on rolling with another impressive win, this time taking down Executive Education Academy (Allentown) 35-17. The Raptors are one explosive team with a dynamic passing attack that while huge, was largely contained. Darrell Lopez threw for 353 yards, completing 23 of 50 passes but threw 4 interceptions and only 2 touchdowns. They managed to hold a 15-14 halftime lead before the Shamrocks more versatile offense got in gear, scoring 21 unanswered second half points. That, combined with a solid defense getting those 4 picks and holding Executive to 42 rush yards on 23 attempts sealed the deal. The committee at running back of Cole Cappawana, Messiah Mickens and Christian Joy accounted for 68, 61 and 51 yards rushing respectively, along with a touchdown each. The ‘Rocks’ are definitely rolling now for the road trip to Selinsgrove (an hour up the river) to play Southern Columbia (11-3, D4). Southern started out 5-3 with losses to Loyalsock Township (11-2) 27-10, Danville (12-1) 49-14 and Mount Carmel (12-1) 35-21. Their injuries were profound and they had issues with the passing game. The passing game is still shaky but don’t be fooled by the three losses. Eliminating them gets you to the same ole Tiger football team, scoring 47ppg, allowing 13. Everyone knows SCA just lines up and comes at you. They’re doing that this year with Braeden Wisloski’s 1659 rush yards and Wes Barnes’s 1052. Last week saw them destroy a good Bishop Guilfoyle (10-4) team 42-14 in pursuit of their sixth consecutive state title. Trinity better buckle up as this will be the best team they’ve played since the early season loss to Roman Catholic (9-3) 41-14 and ot loss to Steel High 35-28.
11 Hempfield 9-3 6A
Season over.
12 Wilson 8-3 6A
Season over.
York (William Penn) 6-4 6A

Season over.
13 Solanco 11-1 5A
Season over.
14 West Perry 11-2 3A
Season over.
15 Gettysburg 8-3 5A
Season over.
16 Northern York 8-5 5A
Season over.
17 Lampeter Strasburg 9-3 4A
Season over.
18 Shippensburg 8-4 5A
Season over.
19 Carlisle 6-5 6A
Season over.
20 South Western 7-4 5A
Season over

Season over.
Twin Valley 7-5 4A
Season over.
Garden Spot 7-4 5A
Season over.
Hamburg 9-3 3A
Season over.
Cedar Cliff 7-4 5A
Season over.
New Oxford 8-3 5A
Season over.
Dover 9-3 5A
Season over.
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