1. Winning begets winning
As we move into the home stretch of the 2018 regular season, there is only one unbeaten squad — Palmyra — in the Mid-Penn Conference. The Cougars are 7-0 and own the longest winning streak in the MPC. Harrisburg checks in at No. 2 with six in a row, Susquehanna Township has reeled off five straight since that 0-2 start and Cedar Cliff, Middletown and Steel-High all own four-game winning streaks. Remember, winning breeds confidence during the dog days of the late-season grind.
2. Key games on slate
The three most intriguing games on a solid Week 8 schedule include Milton Hershey at Palmyra, State College at Central Dauphin and Northern at Shippensburg. The best football at a high level will be at The Speedway in the Commonwealth matchup. Who knows what will happen when a couple of one-loss Crazy Colonial teams square off on the Franklin-Cumberland County border. Buck Swank Stadium will host the game that has the most intrigue from my chair in the pressbox. This is a rubber-meet-road game for Palmyra. I’m confident Milton Hershey will provide a complete football test.
3. Blue Raiders still the top of the class
Middletown proved exactly why they are a state-caliber team who is the heavy favorite to win another District 3 Class 3A championship. In the fourth quarter with 10 minutes to go against Milton Hershey last week, the Spartans took a 21-20 lead. Middletown’s offense was stuck in the mud and didn’t seem to have much juice. Once the Blue Raiders fell behind, they went to another gear and steamrolled the Spartans that final 10 minutes and scored twice. I was looking to see if the Spartans forgot there was still 10 minutes left when they took the lead, but that wasn’t the case. They celebrated the touchdown to take the lead, but weren’t over the top. Middletown just knew exactly what to do in that situation, and the Blue Raiders executed.
4. McD offense in own stratosphere
Anyone remember a team averaging more than 500 yards a game over the course of an entire regular season? If anybody has accomplished that feat it would be the Bishop McDevitt Crusaders. There’s a very good chance if McDevitt did it before, and they’ll do it again this season. 500 yards is a big number and I would remember that — I like to think. But I don’t recall a team finishing 10 games with 5,000 yards of offense. Currently, McDevitt is averaging closer to 550 yards (537.4) than 500. Based on their final three games, I say ending the season above the 500-yard barrier is a lock.
5. Race to 1k has winners
Congratulations to Chambersburg’s Keyshawn Jones (1,281), Shippensburg’s Adam Houser (1,123) and Milton Hershey’s Chiago Anyanwu (1,032) for becoming the first Mid-Penn Conference running backs to clear the 1,000-yard barrier this season. All three did it last week with big games. On deck to join them are Caleb Hawkins (Palmyra), Jaheim Morris (Cedar Cliff) and Jose Lopez (Middletown).
6. MPC playoff odds shaking out
I broke down and looked at the District 3 power rankings for the first time this season. Honesty moment, I didn’t want to look this soon, but we did a segment on the High School Football Now radio show that required me to look. Anyway, there are currently 13 teams in qualifying spots for the postseason across all six PIAA classifications. I can’t see the number staying that high. When the dust settles I think the MPC has 10 or 11 squads playing in the second season.