BY JEFF FALK
NEFFSVILLE – In the result-based business of football, this romantic notion of teams being better better than their records suggest is a fallacy. When was the last time you heard someone say, ‘Wow, we’re not as good as our wins and losses indicate’?
Teams are exactly what their records reflect. 2-4 is 2-4. And it is what it is.
On Friday night at Manheim Township, the Cedar Crest football team was exactly what it was, during a 21-12 loss to the home standing Blue Streaks. After falling behind 14-0 in the first half, the Falcons pulled to within two points of Manheim Township in the third quarter, but simply didn’t have enough to get over the hump.
The loss left Cedar Crest 2-4 overall, 1-2 in Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League and in danger of not reaching its preseason goal of qualifying for the District Three Class AAAA tournament. In order for the Falcons to realize that, they would probably have to go at least 3-1 over their last four games, against Hempfield, McCaskey, Conestoga Valley and Penn Manor.
The homecoming victory kept Manheim Township, now 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the circuit, tied with Wilson atop the section standings.
“Yes, we can still make districts,” said the Falcons’ optimistic head coach, Rob Wildasin. “We will. But we need wins.
“We’re still looking for that signature win,” added Wildasin. “Something to hang our hats on and show how much improvement we’ve made.”
“We told our guys, they (the Falcons) won’t quit,” said Manheim Township head coach Mark Evans, himself a former Falcon. “They’re (the Falcons) not going to quit. I think they wanted this one because this was their last chance to beat us. They haven’t beaten our program since 2003, and they’re going to Section Two next season. They made some plays and battled to the end.”
After managing zero points and just three first downs in the first half, Cedar Crest got something working in the third quarter thanks to a re-commitment to the line of scrimmage and a little chemistry between freshman quarterback Logan Horn and senior tight-end Raymie Ferreira.
The Falcons got on the scoreboard with 6:58 left in the third quarter when L. Horn hit Ferreira over the middle for a 46-yard touchdown strike. Earlier in the drive, L. Horn and Ferreira had hooked up for 28 yards and a first down.
Exactly 4:51 later, Ferriera turned a short pass from L. Horn into a 71-yard touchdown reception down the left sideline. The Falcons were only down 14-12 at that point, and seemed to have momentum in their corner.
“It depends on who you are,” said Wildasin, when asked if certain games in Section One are more winnable than others. “We’re working hard. We’re getting better. I’m really proud of our guys. We’re putting people on notice. We’re hungry.
“We’re a tough football team,” Wildasin continued. “We just made mistakes early, and they caught up with us. I think we’ve improved a ton since the beginning of the season. We’re right there.”
“You better come ready to play every week in Section One,” said Evans. “It doesn’t matter what your record is. This was one of those games where we might be looking ahead, where we might be flat. But we found a way to finish.
“I don’t think we played better in the first half,” Evans continued. “It was even. We were flat in the first half and flat in the second half. It was homecoming. Our job was to win the game and move on. And that’s what we did.”
But after Cedar Crest pulled to within 14-12, Manheim Township responded with an 11-play, 69-yard march that produced Nate Seprinski’s one-yard scoring blast. That made it a two-score game with 9:43 remaining, and the deepest subsequent penetration the Falcons could muster was the Blue Streak 35-yard line.
“We’re still making too many mistakes,” said Wildasin. “Sometimes you don’t have to make that many. We made a few and they (the Blue Streaks) made less. That’s football.”
“I’m happy,” said Evans. “In the grand scheme of things, we didn’t play very well. But an ugly win is better than a pretty loss.”
After the contest was delayed 30 minutes by weather, Manheim Township grabbed a 7-0 lead 8:36 in when quarterback Erik Benjamin hooked up with end Riley MacDonald from 32 yards away. Then in the middle of the second quarter, Blue Streak John Stutz intercepted an errant L. Horn aerial and returned it 40 yards for a 14-0 lead.
“I didn’t think we played a good first half,” said Wildasin. “We didn’t match their intensity.”
“I’m very pleased with the way things are going,” said Evans. “And yeah, I expected that. We have a lot of young guys on defense. But we’ve found ways to get through it. We’ve got to get some kids healthy. We have some talented kids. But I still don’t think we’ve played our best game yet.”
Manheim Township out gained Cedar Crest 351 total yards to 294. The Falcons managed just 61 yards on 32 rushing attempts.
L. Horn completed seven of 17 pass attempts for 231 yards, but three interceptions. Ferreira hauled in five of those passes for 186 yards.
“He’s disgusted with himself,” said Wildasin of L. Horn. “But he’s getting better and better. “We know what Raymie can do,” Wildasin continued. “Sometimes he forgets, and we have to remind him how good he is.”
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Lancaster-Lebanon League Section One
|Wilson West Lawn||3-0||5-1|
|7:00 PM||W 41-7|
|7:00 PM||L 13-35|
|7:00 PM||L 14-30|
|7:00 PM||W 34-10|
@Wilson West Lawn
|7:00 PM||L 14-35|
|7:30 PM||L 12-21|
|7:00 PM||Hempfield High School|
|7:00 PM||McCaskey High School|
|7:00 PM||Cedar Crest High School|
|7:00 PM||Cedar Crest High School|