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9 years ago
After Knocking on Door, Vikes Want to Break it Down

BY JEFF FALK

 FREDERICKSBURG – Quietly, without much fanfare and seemingly under the radar, the Northern Lebanon football  program is beginning to reap  benefits associated with stability and consistency.

There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that the Vikings will take the next step in their evolution in 2012. The only question is how big the step is going to be.

Under third-year head coach Roy Wall, Northern Lebanon has shown steaedy improvement, on and off the gridiron. After starting Wall’s initial season of 2010 with three straight losses, the Vikings finished it 4-6.

Then last year, Northern Lebanon went 5-5, with a couple of near-misses along the way that could’ve cost it a trip to  the  District Three Class AAA postseason. Especially heart-breaking was a late-season, one-point loss in Mount Joy.

“The thing I remember most about last year,” said Wall, “was a blocked extra-point at Donegal that cost us a shot at the playoffs. We make that extra-point, win that game and we have some momentum. Who knows where we go from there.

“We want to win the section (Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League),” Wall continued. “That’s our goal every year. We were second my first year here. We were third last year. Lancaster Catholic isn’t here in any more (moved to Section One) and I think it’s wide open.”

Wall is all about getting better, improving – all the time and in every way. On the field, in the weight room, at practice, little things, attention to details.

“This year in camp our numbers are down a little, but we’re deeper, if you can believe that,” said Wall. “We had more people committed in the off-season. This off-season was our best as far as commitment. We’ve improved every year and I don’t see any reason why we won’t this year.

“We’re not going to use inexperience and injuries as an excuse throughout the year,” Wall added. “If you give them (his players) a crutch, they’re going to take it. We’re going to be better next week. That’s the philosophy.”

But the Vikes have some work to do. There is the matter of a combined 3200 yards of total offense produced by last year’s backfield of Tanner Dresch, Ryan Daub, Colton Ryan and Corey Wall.

Northern Lebanon intends to compensate for that with improved line play, a staunch defense and by methodically bringing along a brand new ‘skill’ set.

“Issac Ray is a sophomore who’s going to start at quarterback,” said Wall. “He’s picked up the offense pretty well. To become adequate in this offense, you’ve got to run it 10,000 times. But he’s as far along as any sophomore I’ve had at the position. The key is our offensive line has been giving us a lot of time. And yes, I do know that the forward pass is legal.

“I’ve got four ends and all are capable of starting,” Wall continued. “We’re going to spread the field from under center. You’ve got to defend the the width and depth of the field.”

Ray is an athlete who can run and throw the ball. But  his importance to Northern Lebanon’s fortunes revolves more around the mental aspects of the game and his ability to make reads.

Yet the majority of the 2011 replacement campaign will be accomplished through committee. Junior Derek DiAngelis is the president, sophomore Travis Gates the vice-president,  senior Tito Rivera the treasurer and junior James Rhoads the secretary.

Split wide for the Vikings will be senior play-maker Pat Stevens, 6-6 junior Kyle Blackwell, senior Joey Matter and sophomore Mason Yost.

“We did some good things on offense in our scrimmage with Upper Dauphin,” said Wall, “but I wouldn’t say we were pleased. I was where we expected to be. I would’ve liked to have been a little ahead. We had opportunities to dominate. It was two scores to one, but it should’ve been four scores to nothing.

“Defensively, I thought we looked very good,” continued Wall. “They (Upper Dauphin) were a little better than I thought they’d be, but our kids stood toe-to-toe with them.”

They say backs are only as good as the guys in front of them, and Northern Lebanon has the potential to be very good up front. With senior Tyler Weaver, senior Ryan Kelliher, senior Justin Emrich, sophomore Jacob Funk and senior Anthony Pesta and Co. manning the trenches, the Vikings are more athletic and experienced than they are big.

“Most of our linemen are right around 200 pounds, but they can move,” said Wall. “They’re a little under-sized, but we’re going to double-team you, we’re going to cut-block you, we’re going to trap you. It’s a matter of leverage and getting low. Everybody weighs the same at the ankles. This is the best line we’ve had since I’ve been here, for what we want to accomplish.

“One thing about this style of offense is it’s a timing thing and a confidence thing,” Wall added. “You start out a little bit slow. And you don’t know when it’s going to break. But when it does, it’s going to break big. It just takes time, especially with an inexperienced quarterback. One thing I’ve learned in my 24 years of coaching is patience.”

Defensively, the Vikings return seven of their front eight. One of whom is senior linebacker Tyler Sellers, the heart, head and soul of the unit.

“Defense is going to be our calling card,” said Wall. “Last year, our defense was in the upper third in the entire Lancaster-Lebanon League. Our goal this year is to be in the top three. That’s the way we’re approaching it. The defense is game ready.

“We tweaked our scheme a little bit this year,” added Wall. “The first two years we always ended up in a four-man front. But three of our four defensive linemen have experience. There’s still going to be some growing pains, but I like the way we’re headed defensively.”

Stevens, perhaps the Vikings’ most dangerous weapon on offense, is currently nursing a broken foot back to health. He is not alone on the Northern Lebanon shelf.

“Our camp was going really well until ‘Bloody Monday’,” said Wall. “That’s when we lost four guys, three of whom were starters. It was like the flood gates opened. I expect them back, just not this week. I lost the left side of my line, but both will be back by Week Two. The timing just wasn’t good, because we had taken a bunch of steps forward.

“We lost four kids before the season ever started,” Wall continued. “Injuries are a part of the game. But we’ve told our kids, “you literally have to be ready to go the next play, and we expect you to give us the best performance you can’.”

When the 2012 season commences on Friday, August 31st, the Vikings will carry about 35 tested warriors into battle against Pine Grove.

“Our numbers are in the mid 30s, which is right around where we finished the last two years,” said Wall. “What we don’t have is the people who want to wear the jerseys on Friday but didn’t want to work Monday through Thursday. You can’t worry about who’s not here. You’ve got to coach up the kids who are.

“There are some things in the program that I would like to see improve,” concluded Wall. “We’d like to have greater numbers. But we’ve made it pretty rigorous in the off-season. You can’t show up the first day of practice and be part of the team. That’s just the way it is. The kids are going to do the best job they can.”
2012 NORTHERN LEBANON VIKINGS ROSTER

#

Name Position Grade Ht Wt

58

JakeArnold OL/LB 12 5’11 187

69

JordanAnspach OL/DL 12 5’11 205

67

KyleDasher OL/DL 12 5’10 240

64

AndrewEmrich OL/LB 12 5’11 205

51

RyanKelliher OL/DL 12 6’0 190

7

JoeMatter SE/DB 12 5’9 143

53/40

AnthonyPesta OL/DL 12 6’0 220

2

TitoRivera RB/DB 12 5’8 135

33

TylerSellers RB/LB 12 6’0 170

85

PatrickStevens SE/DB 12 6’3 180

62

TylerWeaver OL/DL 12 5’10 225

82

CodyWeidner RB/LB 12 5’8 183

55

JoshWolfe OL/DL 12 6’4 210

10

KyleBlackman SE/DB 11 6’6 180

27

DerekDiAngelis RB/DB 11 5’9 170

25

BrettNoll-Emmick SE/DB 11 5’10 160

22

TylerGates RB/DB 11 5’9 160

79

IanGraft OL/DL 11 6’3 262

72

GrantHershey OL/DL 11 5’9 190

42

DylanSellers SE/DB 11 5’9 150
StephenSpeer PK 11 5’11 165

21

James Rhoads RB/DB 11 5’8 150

14

ShawnCampbell SE/DB 10 5’7 130

20

AndrewDeitzler RB/DB 10 5’10 150

78

AndrewFox OL/DL 10 6’2 210

59

JacobFunck OL/DL 10 6’0 186

5

TravisGates RB/DB 10 5’9 170

18

MichaelHauck K 10 5’11 170

16

JohnRandolph QB/DB 10 6’0 175

4

IsaacRay QB/DB 10 5’11 160

26

JordanSmith RB/DB 10 5’11 135

35

DominicTrader RB/DB 10 6’0 145

81

MasonYost SE/DB 10 5’9 152

84

EthanBeard SE/DB 9 6’2 165

19

RyanBiever QB/DB 9 5’9 180

74

GeorgeThompson OL/DL 9 6’0 218

 

2012 Northern Lebanon Football Schedule

 

Fri Aug/31

7:00 pm
@ Pine Grove Area HS

Fri Sep/07

7:00 pm
vs. Lebanon High School

Fri Sep/14

7:00 pm
vs. Hamburg Area High School

Fri Sep/21

7:00 pm
@ Annville-Cleona HS

Fri Sep/28

7:00 pm
vs. Pequea Valley High School

Fri Oct/12

7:00 pm
@ Eastern Lebanon Co Sr HS

Fri Oct/19

7:00 pm
@ Garden Spot Senior High School

Fri Oct/26

7:00 pm
vs. Donegal Senior High School

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