Harrisburg quarterback Kane Everson dominated Cedar Cliff Saturday at Severance Field with his arm and his legs. (Adam Kulikowski/4th Down)
By Andy Shay:
Good Sunday morning. Each week we’ll present to you some thoughts and observations from the week that was in Mid-Penn Conference and Tri-Valley League football.
By Andy Shay:
Manheim Township went on the road against a red-hot Central Dauphin squad and stood its ground like a defending District 3 champion.
By Andy Shay:
Defending District 3 Class 6A champion Manheim Township spent almost the entire first half probing the stingy Central Dauphin defense looking for a crack to exploit Friday night.
Inside the final minute of the second quarter the Blue Streaks found what they were looking for.
Manheim Township zipped 80 yards in 41 seconds, capped by a beautiful 41-yard catch-and-run by Brett Benjamin, to score eight seconds before intermission to trim Central Dauphin’s lead to 12-7 at the break.
From that point on, Central Dauphin never recovered.
The final 22 points at Speed Ebersole Stadium belonged to the Blue Streaks and the mistake-prone Rams went away quietly into the night as the better squad over 48 minutes, Manheim Township, rolled to a well-deserved 22-12 victory.
So how did Manheim Township crack the seal and subdue the attacking and aggressive Central Dauphin defense?
Execution on third down was the real difference maker in this game, coupled with too many mistakes by Central Dauphin that gave the already red-hot Blue Streaks offense second chances over the final two quarters.
Starting with the final drive of the first half when Manheim Township became the first team this season to score on the Rams’ first-team defense, the Blue Streaks faced third-and-8 or more yards to go five times.
Manheim Township converted on four of those five key third-and-long situations, totaling 106 yards incuding a pair of touchdowns covering 41 and 10 yards.
That is how you take the bite out of a defense that put the clamps on both Wilson and Berks Catholic.
“You have to give them credit, they did exactly what they had to do,” CD coach Glen McNamee said. “We made way too many mistakes and we know that. If we can clean that up we have a chance to be a pretty good football team. If not, we won’t.”
The mistakes that really stood out included a first-down fumble at the Blue Streaks 5-yard line midway through the second quarter and a key 15-yard roughing the passer call that wiped out an interception by CD safety Nicky Chimienti that was returned inside the Township 20 on the opening drive of the second half.
That key sequence in the early moments of the second half allowed the Blue Streaks to keep the momentum. One play after the roughing the passer penalty, Township fullback Jaden Floyd raced 42 yards for the touchdown that gave the Blue Streaks the lead for good.
Central Dauphin finished with seven penalties for 79 yards, compared to only two penalties for 15 for the Blue Streaks.
“We had that fumble at the 5, some execution mistakes and too many penalties,” McNamee said. “Against a good team like Manheim Township, those are the ones you can’t have.”
Manheim Township’s defense was the hidden key for the Blue Streaks. After Central Dauphin rolled up more than 150 yards of offense in the first half, the Rams were limited to only four first downs and less than 90 yards over the final two quarters.
You will hear from both these squads come District 3 Class 6A playoff time. On this night, the better team won.
Central Dauphin's Adam Burkhart aims to lead the Rams past Manheim Twp. on Friday at Landis Field. (File photo Adam Kulikowski/4th Down)
By 4th Down Staff:
MANHEIM TWP. (2-0) at CENTRAL DAUPHIN (2-0)
7 p.m. Friday, Landis Field at Speed Ebersole Stadium, Harrisburg
ABOUT THE BLUE STREAKS: It will be a short week for Manheim Twp., which had to wait until Monday to dispatch week 2 opponent Dallastown. QB Harrison Kirk connected on 21 of 32 attempts for 262 yards and two scores as the Streaks won 38-0. RB Donovan Ivey also skirted for 80 rushing yards, on just six carries, and posted two touchdowns. While coach Mark Evans has several new starters, MT has been resilient, holding off a rowdy CD East bunch in week 1, and efficient. And Kirk’s progression from the opening weekend is noticeable as the new starting QB. Like the Rams, the Streaks swarm to the football and rely on a rotation of heady linemen to move the chains. And there’s a lot of improvement ahead. LB Sam Emge (19 tackles), DB Jon Engle (17) and DB Matt Mikulka (3 INTs) are just some of the players to watch on a defense that puts all hats on the football.
ABOUT THE RAMS: Most have spent the first two weeks of the season chatting about coach Glen McNamee’s defense. It’s fierce, the proof rooted in sound victories over strong opponents Wilson (23-7) and Berks Catholic (7-0). In fact, the Rams’ first-team defense has yet to yield a single point, which speaks loudly against those two challengers. While build around a rising group of linebackers that includes veterans Adam Burkhart, Kyle Minnich and Mason Griffiths, McNamee’s defense is littered with aggressive personalities. DLs Sam Schmidt, Amir Walton and Jaden Baylor were responsible for tripping Berks Catholic’s Wing-T offense all night. Burkhart also handled most of the offense (17 carries, 118 yards, TD) with Tyrese Fuller taking most of the snaps under center. Starting QB Noah Hoffman doned a walking boot Friday and his status remains unclear.
THE SERIES: Manheim Twp. and Central Dauphin are familiar foes, having tangled 10 times since 2010. While the Rams won 8 straight to open the run, the Blue Streaks won a pair of clashes last season (17-14 and 28-0) during their District 3 Class 6A title run.
KEY STAT: 231 … Total rushing yards allowed by Central Dauphin during 2-0 start. The number is slightly better than the 273 ground yards the Streaks have allowed.
THE PICK: This one is rather difficult because both have showed serious grit on the defensive side and, perhaps, the Streaks hold a slight edge on the offensive side. That said, we’re not sure how versatile Manheim Twp. can be against the Rams. Open space won’t be easy to find in this one.