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Makings of a classic
Ephrata Review Sports Editor
It has been the game nearly every local fan circled when the schedules first came out.
All Manheim Central and Cocalico needed to do was hold serve for the first five weeks, which was easier said than done considering the competition they faced, and we would be on the verge of a doozie.
Those two teams have done way more than that, which brings us to arguably the biggest regular season high school football game locally in the last 25 years. The only one in my memory that comes close is the Ephrata-E-town game in 1987 that brought the Mounts their only section crown since I’ve been in this seat.
Manheim Central has been typical Manheim Central. The Barons have dominated every opponent this year with brute strength and near flawless execution. They have averaged nearly 450 yards per game offensively, and are led by the three-headed monster of quarterback Collin Fry, Marc Royer and Ian Hanselman. Royer and Hanselman have rushed for more than 1200 yards combined while Fry has thrown for almost 500 additional yards.
Up front, the Barons are big, and they are physical. They will obviously be the biggest challenge Cocalico has faced, that’s for sure.
Cocalico, a senior dominated team, has done it with execution and discipline. The Eagles, who have invoked the Mercy Rule on every opponent this year, really opened some eyes with their Week Three 59-7 blowout of a Governor Mifflin team that was expected to be in the hunt for a District AAAA crown.
They are led offensively by quarterback Jhett Janis and fleet-footed tailback Spencer Moser. Janis is an exceptional athlete who does a little of everything, including returning punts. He has rushed for nearly 500 yards and 10 scores in Cocalico’s veer attack. Moser has run for an additional 415 yards and seven scores to lead an offense that churns out 357 yards on the ground per contest.
Defensively, the Eagles have been as dominant, holding opponents to less than seven points through the first five games. And they are physical.
Cocalico Coach Dave Gingrich called this one "one of the biggest games in our school’s history," and I would have to agree.
And I think it is one the Eagles can win. I’ve seen that most people give the Barons a slight edge, but I’m not so sure.
Manheim Central may indeed roll in this one, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all by that. But I also wouldn’t be shocked either if the Eagles win it.
They are that good. In fact, I believe it is the best Cocalico team I’ve seen.
I look at last year’s 48-35 Cocalico win in Manheim, and the fact that the Eagles return nearly every key piece from that team.
I may be the only one, but I really do like the Eagles in this one. I’m thinking a Texas A&M-Alabama score with each team trading punch after punch in a knock down, drag-out classic.
Prediction: Cocalico 48, 42.
More RUTH, page B-5