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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Sunday Morning QB: Division titles come down to Week 10 in the Capital and Colonial divisions; ‘Hanna set to reach the postseason; Northern upsets Gettysburg and more

How about Week 10 games with division title implications to spice up the curtain coming down on the 2022 regular season?

There’s an elephant in the room from Week 9, CD East 35, Central Dauphin 0, that produced the single-most jaw dropping scoreline of the 2022 season to date. More on that later.

First, how about the Mid-Penn Conference Capital and Colonial Division titles coming down to a winner-take-all (almost) to decide champions. It’s beautiful when the schedule and results pair up to produce Week 10 high drama.

Let’s start in the Capital Division. This is pretty clear cut. Undefeated West Perry will travel to one-loss Steel-High on Saturday with the winner taking the title outright. Make no mistake, the Rollers want to win the Capital title, but it’s not rare for Steel-High to win or be in the mix for a MPC crown. This is a HUGE deal for the Mustangs. Opportunities to win championships are sometimes separated by decades.

And this promises to be a helluva game with a couple high-powered offenses looking to outgun the other. Steel-High stayed in the title chase by nudging a Trinity team that is ready for the second season, 35-28 in overtime. When you get 266 yards from a running back, Ronald Burnette in this case, it makes winning so much easier.

West Perry QB Marcus Quaker and RB Trent Herrera continue to be the front-line firepower for the Mustangs’ offense; each post three touchdowns in a 42-20 victory over Camp Hill. Ian Goodling had eight catches for 163. The Mustangs certainly have the firepower to keep pace with the Rollers. 

Gettysburg had emerged as the power of the Colonial Division and only needed to win one of its final two games to secure the title outright. The Warriors will have to wait until Week 10 to see if they can get across the finish line and raise a title banner.

That’s because the wild-ride Northern Polar Bears continued their up-and-down season by upsetting Gettysburg by rallying from behind twice. That victory means the chase for the Colonial Division title is now in full crazy train mode.

Gettysburg is still driving the engine, though. All the Warriors, who have only one loss in the Colonial, have to do is beat the red-hot Susquehanna Township Indians to earn the outright Colonial crown. If there’s one team you don’t want to be playing right now it’s Joe Headen’s Indians.

The Hanna Tribe won their fourth in a row, flying past overmatched East Pennsboro by scoring the first 22 points on their way to a comfortable 30-9 victory.

That means the Indians, who were 0-10 a year ago and had lost 15 of their previous 17 games heading into 2022, are playing for a share of a division championship. Wow!!

Susquehanna Township beats Gettysburg in Week 10 and the Colonial Division title could be a two, three or four-way shared prize. Mechanicsburg and Shippensburg each have two Colonial losses along with the Indians. It took until deep into the season but the Colonial Division finally entered full Crazy Colonial mode.

Congratulations to Bishop McDevitt on wrapping up the Keystone Division title. It was a foregone conclusion the high-powered Crusaders would be the champs, but that does not diminish their excellence. McDevitt has scored 414 points in eight games after taking out Mifflin County 54-6.

CD East went into its game against rival Central Dauphin riding a five-game losing streak. The Rams were 3-2 in their previous five games after starting the season 0-3 and were uber competitive in losses to unbeaten State College and Cumberland Valley.

None of that mattered on Friday night. The Panthers made it two wins in a row over their fellow Central Dauphin School District mates. And when the final is 35-0 that means it wasn’t much of a fair fight. CD East coach Lance Deane should be proud of his team. They didn’t quit on themselves and were rewarded.

I peeked at the District 3 power rankings briefly last week, but still didn’t care that much. This week, however, the postseason picture has crystalized and deserves some attention.

Entering the final week of the regular season 15 teams from the Mid-Penn Conference are above the playoff yellow line in their respective PIAA classifications. Camp Hill (2A), Upper Dauphin (3A) and Carlisle (6A) currently rest in the final spot to earn an invite. So Week 10 results for those teams are going to be difference makers.

Northern pulling off the upset of Gettysburg puts them right back in the mix and on the playoff bubble in Class 5A. They are the only MPC squad on the bubble. The Polar Bears play Mechanicsburg, a 4-5 team who has won three of its last four, in a rivalry game. The Wildcats and Polar Bears are not football fans of each other to put it mildly.

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