By Bill Bostic, Gazette sports reporter
Game Info: Away game at Manheim Twp. in suburban Lancaster — Friday, 9/1/17 at 7 pm
Stadium Address / Driving Directions: 5134 School Road, Lancaster – From Harrisburg take 283 East towards Lancaster. Take Rt. 30 East to Route 501 North through Lititz. When you exit Lititz you will go through 3 traffic lights. The first light is at Stauffers of Kissel Hill Market (on your right). The second light is at the Lancaster Airport entrance and Freeze & Frizz Ice Cream Parlor (both on your left). The third traffic light is at the intersection of Rt. 501 and Rt. 722. Go through the third light and then approximately 1/4 mile later, right after the entrance to Lancashire Terrace Retirement Village – the school entrance will be on your left (not marked particularly well).
Keys to a CD victory: CLICK HERE to view a video with Bill Bostic sharing highlights of an interview with CD head coach Glen McNamee after practice on Thursday evening.
Stage Setter: This has become a early season rivalry game and CD has never lost to Manheim Twp. in their series that started in 2010, including playoff wins in 2012 and last season.
This will be the season’s first game for Blue Streaks. Offensively they feature senior quarterback Luke Emge (#3), who is headed to Harvard University, and senior running back Grayson Sallade (#1), who was last season’s top back in Lancaster-Lebanon League’s Section 1.
Manheim Twp. is looking to make the jump from a perennial bridesmaid to Berks County’s Wilson in the conference, and Blue Streaks head coach Mark Evans would love to find a way to upset the Rams to gain confidence heading into conference play. By the way, the Rams will meet Wilson in two weeks in another away game.
Jeff Reinhart of LancasterOnline reported Blue Streaks’ senior QB and Harvard commit Luke Emge has plenty of weapons at his disposal, including returning playmakers Grayson Sallade and Rece Bender (#10). But Manheim Township’s O – particularly those skill kids – will be tested by CD safety Michael Payton (#3), who had a whopper opener last week. Payton had two picks in the Rams’ 30-7 win over Susquehanna Township, as CD’s D held the Indians to – gulp – minus-22 rushing yards on 10 carries.
The game is available on radio from WMSS – 91.1FM. Eric Thomas will be doing the play-by-play announcing duties. CLICK HERE to listen live.
Lastly, Gazette sports reporter Bill Bostic is scheduled to do live reporting on the game for MaxPreps.com.
Analysis: For the second week in a row the Rams have a healthy edge in the national and state rankings over their opponent. Unlike last week against Susquehanna Twp., Manheim Twp. appears to have offensive firepower that could make the Rams D dig deep to keep them out of the end zone. The Rams likely will have an edge on special teams due to the powerful leg of Ethan Van Buskirk (#20), which could be huge if it’s a close game.
It’s interesting that none of the pundits except me mentioned the defensive teams in this game. CD’s week #0 game showed that the Rams have a spirited D that won’t give up gobs of easy points. Meanwhile, no one has said a peep about the host’s D.
Bostic’s prediction: My hunch is the Rams will use momentum picked up from last week’s opener, an aggressive defense and professional grade kicking game to continue the team’s winning streak against the Blue Streaks by at least a touchdown.
What Others Are Saying: Jeff Reinhart of LancasterOnline offers good analysis but no pick – This game promises to be a real Class 6A doozie, and it feels like one of those games that could come down to the special teams: A key PAT. Maybe a fourth-quarter field goal. Or pinning someone deep with a kickoff. The Rams feature one of the top specialists in the Mid-Penn in senior kicker Ethan Van Buskirk (#20). He had a whopper Week Zero game in CD’s 30-7 win over Susquehanna Township with three field goals – from 23, 27 and 49 yards out – plus four touchbacks, making Hanna go 80 yards a bunch of times. Van Buskirk did misfire on a 52-yard field goal attempt. But hey, he was true from 49. So this kid’s got a big leg. If coach Mark Evans and his Blue Streaks’ defense make the Rams’ offense stall, that’s great. But they’ll have to deal with Van Buskirk’s big right leg.
PennLive’s experts are leaning toward a Manheim Twp. win (2 of 3 picked the Blue Streaks) based on the Lancaster County team’s high octane quarterback and running back. Truth be told, the PennLive crew offered little rationale for their pick.
* 2016 records — CD 10-2; Manheim Twp. 6-5
* National/State rankings (MaxPreps) — CD 774/29; Manheim Twp. 1238/52
* Last year the Rams upended the Blue Streaks by count of 31-9 at Landis Field on 9/1/16 in CD’s first game of the season
* The Rams have a record of 77 wins-17 losses since Speed Ebersole Weight Room opened in 2010.
* CLICK HERE to view an overview of the Rams football team.
Eye on CD East Panthers: The Central Dauphin East varsity football team has an away non-conference game at Milton Hershey on Friday, September 1 at 7 pm.
Featured photo shot by Neil Renaldi