By Adam Kulikowski
Cedar Cliff travels to Hersheypark Stadium Friday evening in one of the best match ups on the docket in Week 1 of the District 3-AAAA playoffs. It is the second year in a row that these clubs will battle each other in the initial round. Lower Dauphin solved the Colts’ attack in 2014, 21-18. Can the Falcons repeat or will the Colts prevail?
Where and When: 7 p.m. at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, PA
Scouting the Colts (8-2, 4-2): The West Shore crew scored well in the trenches during the Week 5 battle, providing just enough running lanes for the Colts newly crowned all-time leading rusher, Jayden Demmy, and time for Grant Breneman to find his receivers down field. A repeat performance should be enough to advance. However, that’s far from a certainty against their well-coached adversaries. Breneman’s Week 10 performance against Red Land was the first he didn’t complete at least 64 percent of his passes. He connected on just 57 percent... Smart money is on Breneman finding wide out Mike Viti on at least one touchdown pass. The pair have connected in the end zone during nine of 10 games this season.
Scouting the Falcons (8-2, 4-2): The Falcons suffered a scare in Week 10 when running back George Hatalowich went down with a shoulder injury. He’ll play in this winner-take-all tussle in Chocolate Town, according to Lower Dauphin coach Rob Klock. Did you expect anything less from the Falcons’ bull? Hatalowich has toted the rock for more than 1,200 yards. He’s the motor that makes the Falcons rumble... Brendan Shaffer stepped in after Hatalowich went down early against McDevitt and did a nice job, rushing for 74 yards on 11 carries... Tommy Klock threw more interceptions against McDevitt in the regular season finale (3) than he had in his previous nine games combined.
Key Match-up: Cedar Cliff’s offensive line vs. Lower Dauphin’s defensive front. LD’s big men didn’t play poorly in Week 5. They were aggressive and applied pressure at times to Breneman. Call it a draw. Can one unit set itself apart? My money is on that team to keep their jerseys for another week.
One to Watch: Clay Spencer. The sophomore corner missed the Week 5 bout on the West Shore and Breneman took advantage. The 5-8, 145-pound Spencer is healthy now and contributing on both sides of the ball for the Falcons. He could be a difference maker.
Andy Shay: No. 9 Cedar Cliff 28, No. 8 Lower Dauphin 20: I just happened to be at West Shore Stadium when these combatants hooked up in Week 5. LD will put up a better fight.
Andy Sandrik: No. 9 Cedar Cliff 28, No. 8 Lower Dauphin 21: Jayden Demmy told me on a mistake-free day, the Colts can compete with the best of teams. Something tells me they do just that against a tough-as-nails LD team.
Jeff Dewees: No. 8 Lower Dauphin 27, No. 9 Cedar Cliff 23: Again, doesn’t seem like a fair first-round matchup, with one of these two going out. I think LD’s been playing better ball of late.
Adam Kulikowski: No. 9 Cedar Cliff 28, No. 8 Lower Dauphin 26: It is deja vu all over again, as Yogi would say! Cedar Cliff hopes the match up is where the similarities to last year end. George Hatalowich is banged up. That's big for the Falcons.