Mason, Cavanna look to lead Hamburg, Muhlenberg to league wins in Week 5 of high school football

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Sep. 23—Two of Berks County's top runners — Hamburg's Pierce Mason and Muhlenberg's Gio Cavanna — will try to lead their teams to victories in crucial Lancaster-Lebanon League football games on Friday night at 7 p.m.

Mason, a senior, and Hamburg will host Kutztown in a Section 5 game. The Hawks are 4-0, marking the first time they are undefeated this late in a season since starting 6-0 in 2006.

"They just continue to work hard, and they want to keep this thing going," Hamburg coach Matt Hoffert said about his team. "They're determined to try to get better each and every day we're out on the practice field."

Hamburg has scored 216 points through four games, the most of any squad in the 37-team L-L. The Hawks are averaging 54 points per game, which leads District 3 and ranks seventh in the PIAA.

"Our quarterbacks, running backs, lineman — they spend a lot of time watching film," Hoffert said. "(We) just keep trying to get better."

Hamburg's offensive prowess is thanks in large part to Mason, who ranks first in Berks with 718 yards, 13.8 yards per carry and 14 touchdowns. He also has five receptions for 52 yards, and has scored one TD on a kick return and another on a punt return.

"Pierce has great vision," Hoffert said. "He runs downhill, he runs angry (and) he runs to get that extra yard."

While he is tough to bring down, Mason is also a leader on and off the field. Hoffert said Mason, a team captain, leads vocally and by example.

"He's definitely a team guy," Hoffert said. "He's been doing a great job."

Hamburg will take on Kutztown (0-1, 1-3), which earned its lone win against Nativity on Sept. 9. Despite their record, the Cougars have the fifth-ranked run defense in Berks, allowing just 84.8 yards per game.

"They're going to play us hard," Hoffert said about Kutztown. "They're going to be aggressive, and we need to be ready."

Mason ran for 292 yards and four TDs on 19 carries in Week 3 against Eastern York, then had 277 yards and five TDs on 20 carries last week against Annville-Cleona.

At Laureldale, Cavanna, a senior, will try to help Muhlenberg (1-0, 2-2) earn a win over Gov. Mifflin (0-1, 1-3) in a Section 2 game.

The Muhls are coming off a 47-25 win over Lebanon to improve to 2-2. Muhlenberg has not finished with a winning record since 2017, when it went 6-5.

"This team embraced that idea that we can overcome some of the adversity that is going to hit us," Muhls coach John Lorchak said. "(We have a) next-play mentality."

The Muhlenberg offense is led by Cavanna, who ranks second in Berks to Mason in rushing with 544 yards. He's averaging 10.5 yards per carry and has eight touchdowns. He also has four catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.

Cavanna had 220 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries in a Week 1 win over Octorara — he also caught at TD pass — and had 244 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries last week in a victory over Lebanon.

"He has a tremendous work ethic," Lorchak said. "He's a strong, powerful, explosive individual, but he comes to practice every day looking to make himself better."

Cavanna is a team captain, and much like Mason, leads by example and is not afraid to speak up.

"He's an individual that is going to be looked up to by his senior peers and all of our underclassmen," Lorchak said. "He's constantly working and teaching."

The Muhls will take on Gov. Mifflin, which is off to a 1-3 start for the first time since 2019. The Mustangs scored their lone win in Week 3 against Boyertown, and are coming off a 36-6 loss to rival Exeter.

"They're big, they're strong, they're physical," Lorchak said about Mifflin. "Defensively, they're sound."

Elsewhere in the county, Twin Valley (1-0, 3-1) will welcome Elizabethtown (0-0, 4-0) in a clash of teams that could compete for the Section 3 title. The Raiders opened league play last week with a 42-14 win over Fleetwood, while the Bears have not yet played a league game.

Twin Valley is coming off back-to-back wins over Conrad Weiser and the Tigers, and has not allowed more than 17 points in any game this season. Elizabethtown beat Red Lion last week 34-17, its lowest scoring output of the season.

The two teams have shared one common opponent in Lower Dauphin. The Raiders lost to the Falcons 17-14 while the Bears won 41-28.

At West Lawn, Wilson (1-0, 3-1) will host Cedar Crest (0-1, 2-2) in a Section 1 matchup. The Bulldogs opened league play last week with a 48-6 win over Reading High, while the Falcons lost to Penn Manor 14-9.

Wilson has won three straight after losing to Roman Catholic 46-15 in Week 1. Cedar Crest has dropped two straight after starting the season 2-0.

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Week 5 schedule

Friday

(All at 7 p.m.)

Reading High at Penn Manor

Cedar Crest at Wilson

Exeter at Lebanon

Gov. Mifflin at Muhlenberg

Ephrata at Daniel Boone

Fleetwood at Garden Spot

Elizabethtown at Twin Valley

Donegal at Berks Catholic

Conrad Weiser at Octorara

Wyomissing at Elco

Kutztown at Hamburg

Schuylkill Valley at Pequea Valley

Boyertown at Spring-Ford