By 4th Down Staff:
4th Down Magazine
WHO: CD East (1-0) at Lower Dauphin (0-1)
WHERE: Friday, Hersheypark Stadium, 7 p.m.
ABOUT THE PANTHERS: Milton Hershey tried desperately to force the Panthers into overtime in their debut. However, cornerback Stephon Brown knocked down Shamar Manning’s two-point conversion pass to preserve a 28-26 CD East dub. That’s the main talking point for the Panthers, far from clean on their first attempt of the season but still unbeaten. It was also the first step in getting QB Jaylen Hawthorne squared away under center. Last year’s signal caller, versatile Kane Everson, is now outside and gives Hawthorne another A-list target. Against the Falcons, who gifted a lot of rushing yards to Middletown in their debut, establishing RBs Mike Jones and Mikare’a Patterson will promote a balanced attack.
ABOUT THE FALCONS: Lower Dauphin is hoping to make a giant leap in week 2. And while it starts with being a bit more physical, the Falcons won’t avoid another 0-2 start without getting some traction in the run game. Opponent No. 1, Middletown, held the Falcons to 39 rushing yards on 23 carries in a 24-7 loss. In fact, LD’s lone touchdown came on Clay Spencer’s 78-yard halfback pass to Brent Spencer. That’s a splendid call on a rainy day but not the cornerstone of a successful offense. There were moments to celebrate, however, a few generated by QB Aidan Klassen and Clay Spencer on the outside. In other words, the Falcons have a fixable to-do list. Job No. 1 is to contain Hawthorne, who can generate first downs when pressed out of the pocket.
KEY STAT: 11 -- Penalties by Lower Dauphin in last year’s 38-14 loss to CD East at Landis Field. With an offense trying to find its sea legs, the Falcons need a much cleaner performance to compete for a win.
THE PICK: It’s not the time to panic if you’re Lower Dauphin. Yes, Middletown shoved the Falcons aside in week 1, but the Panthers also needed 48 full minutes to shake the developing Spartans, too. CD East will hit the A-Turf in Hershey as the favorite, and the Panthers will leave with a tough 2-0 start if they protect the football.