Pioneers March Into Ephrata and Clinch Section 3 Title

It's a good time to be a Pioneer. With the football team's 54-16 win over the Ephrata Mountaineers, they become the 5th L-S team to win a section title this fall (joining the girls' tennis, field hockey, golf, and boys' cross country teams). It is the 8th section title all time and the first since 2015 to arrive in West Lampeter. 

Section 3 Trophy being held by players.

After a flurry of turnovers that included interceptions by Conner Nolt and Berkeley Wagner, Ephrata opened scoring after Owen Morrongiello tackled Sean McTaggart in the end zone resulting in a safety, giving the Mounts a 2-0 lead. This was the first time that the team had been trailing in a game since September 25th against the Lebanon Cedars. 

Early in the 2nd quarter, Andrew Reidenbaugh put a 30 yarder through the uprights to give the Pioneers a one point lead. The Pioneers never looked back from there, scoring 44 more consecutive points throughout the 2nd and 3rd quarter. Alex Knapp, Sean McTaggart, Drew Harris, and Austin Stoltzfus all caught or ran for TDs during that stretch. Parker Owens also led a pack of Pioneers into the backfield to record a safety of their own, taking down Ephrata QB Miracle Wratto in the endzone. With 0.9 seconds remaining in the first half, Conner Nolt used his head to block a field goal attempt by Ephrata's Ryan Honberger that was returned all the way to the house by Parker Owens.

In the fourth quarter, Payton Cunningham, Elijah Knowles, and Brock Boyer all found the endzone for their respective teams. The final score of the game was Ephrata 16, Lampeter-Strasburg 54. 

THREE STARS:

Pioneer Running Game: With a grand total of 282 rushing yards, it would be hard to leave them off. All night long, the Pioneer offense simply rammed it up the middle of the Mounts' defensive front and it paid off. The offensive line gave the ball-carriers, mostly Alex Knapp and Drew Harris, plenty of room to run.

Berkeley Wagner: Wagner has had an outstanding junior season which only continued tonight. He must have caused plenty of headaches on the Ephrata sideline, seemingly coming out of nowhere to deflect passes and railing in 2 interceptions. 

Pioneer Defensive Line: You're doing something right when the opposing team only has 19 rushing yards. The defensive line group held the Mounts to only 0.66 yards per carry, and is part of a first team defense that hasn't allowed a single point since the Lebanon game almost a whole month ago. 

Honorable Mentions: QB Sean McTaggart, WR Austin Stoltzfus, LB/TE Beau Heyser, Ephrata WR Brock Boyer. 

SCORING SUMMARY:

1st Quarter: 
(EPH) Owen Morrongiello safety. LS 0-EPH 2.
2nd Quarter:
(LS) Andrew Reidenbaugh 30 yard FG. LS 3-EPH 2.
(LS) Alex Knapp 18 yard run. LS 10-EPH 2.
(LS) Parker Owens safety. LS 12-EPH 2.
(LS) Owen Fikkert 4 yard reception. LS 19-EPH 2.
(LS) Parker Owens 82 yard blocked FG return. LS 26-EPH 2. 
3rd Quarter:
(LS) Austin Stoltzfus 69 yard reception. LS 33-EPH 2.
(LS) Drew Harris 16 yard reception. LS 40-EPH 2.
(LS) Sean McTaggart 1 yard run. LS 47-EPH 2.
4th Quarter:
(EPH) Brock Boyer 67 yard reception. LS 47-EPH 9.
(LS) Payton Cunningham 15 yard run. LS 54-EPH 9.
(EPH) Elijah Knowles 12 yard reception. LS 54-EPH 16.

STANDOUT STATS: (Courtesy LancasterOnlineEric Stark, and Maxpreps)

Passing:
(LS) Sean McTaggart: 6-14, 123 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
(EPH) Miracle Wratto: 7-16, 66 yards, 3 INTs
Rushing:
(LS) Drew Harris: 73 yards, 5.6 yards per carry
(LS) Alex Knapp: 46 yards, 7.7 yards per carry, 1 TD
(LS) Owen Fikkert: 41 yards, 10.3 yards per carry
(EPH) Richard Greer: 23 yards, 3.3 yards per carry
Receiving:
(EPH) Brock Boyer: 80 yards, 3 receptions, 1 TD
(LS) Austin Stoltzfus: 69 yards, 1 reception, 1 TD


The Pioneers have also clinched a spot in the District 3 4A playoffs, beginning on November 6th. In all likelihood, the Pioneers will be the #1 seed and take on Conrad Weiser Scouts from Robesonia. The Section 4 champion ELCO Raiders and the Northern York Polar Bears are also probable to fill out the other side of the bracket. The bracket will become official on Tuesday. As far as the rest of the regular season goes, the Pioneers will host the Northern Lebanon Vikings in a league-mandated crossover game next Friday, and the Mounts will head to the edge of the Susquehanna to take on the Crimson Tide from Columbia. 

By Logan Moyer, LS News reporter
Photos by Jonathan Klein, LS News Editor-in-Chief






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