ANNVILLE – It’s more of a re-focus than a re-invention.
The Annville-Cleona football team isn’t doing anything differently. The Little Dutchmen are doing what they do, better.
On a warm Friday night at Annville-Cleona High School, the Little Dutchmen continued to build some feel-good momentum by lambasting Pequea Valley 55-21. Methodically mixing long marches with explosive plays, Annville-Cleona scored touchdowns on its first eight possessions of the contest, while opening a 55-13 bulge early in the second half.
Rogan Harter and Phoenix Music each scored a pair of touchdowns for Annville-Cleona, while four Little Dutchmen teammates also crossed the goal line. Annville-Cleona amassed a whopping 605 yards of total offense, 497 of which came on the ground, on 38 rushing attempts.
Some 46 seconds prior to the intermission, A-C quarterback Gavin Keller hit Alex Long for a 36-yard scoring strike, and Chase Maguire’s subsequent two-point run made it a 48-13 score and brought the mercy rule into play over the entire second half. It was the Little Dutchmen’s second straight mercy rule outing, after routing Northern Lebanon 41-0 on the road a week prior.
After looking quite ordinary over its first four outings, Annville-Cleona improved to 3-3 on the season and 2-0 in Section Four of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Next week, the Little Dutchmen will host Columbia in a showdown for first-place in Section Four.
Pequea Valley slipped to 1-5 on the year and 0-2 in the section.
“I think the Northern Lebanon game really helped us,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Matt Gingrich. “I that really resonated with us, ‘Like we can’t lose like that on our homecoming.’ The practices of the Northern Lebanon week stank. But then the Friday night game over there was amazing.
“Our practices were better this week,” added Gingrich. “The biggest issue we’ve got right now is consistency. We’re going to need it, because Columbia is really good.”
Even from the opening kickoff, it was all Annville-Cleona. A lengthy return by Harter set the table for Maguire’s three-yard touchdown jaunt, and the Little Dutchmen led 6-0, 2:56 into the game.
Three minutes later, Keller found Ethan Missimer on the right sideline, and Missimer did the rest, racing 72 yards for A-C’s second score.
“The big thing with the triple option is numbers,” said Gingrich. “Until the defense adjusts, I don’t change the plays. And we have a counter to every play. There are certain things we are looking for.”
Annville-Cleona increased its lead to 21-0, with a short field producing a one-yard Music’s run. Then, with three ticks remaining, Harter took off on a 75-yard scoring burst that ended up being the Little Dutchmen’s fourth touchdown of the opening quarter.
“No, we’ve never scored 48 points in a half,” said Gingrich. “Not even close. I was happy with our composure. We try to get lined up correctly. When you can do that and play fast, you’re in pretty good shape. When we’re not being manhandled, we can go out there and play as fast as we can.”
The Little Dutchmen tallied 22 more points in the second period on a 45-yard Harter run, an 80-yard scamper by Music and Long’s reception of a Keller pass. On the night, Annville-Cleona scored on six plays that covered 35 yards of more.
“Yes, I tried to get it to that,” said Gingrich of the 35 point-lead required to evoke the merch run. “There’s a reason they call it ‘the mercy rule’. It gets the clock going, and once the clock gets going, it doesn’t stop. We’ve done it the last two weeks.”
Harter gained 160 rushing yards on five carries to go along with his two touchdowns. Music rushed six times for 98 yards, while Keller posted 89 yards on five attempts.
“Next week, we’re going to play the fastest and most athletic team we’re going to see all year,” said Gingrich of Columbia. “We’ll see. We’ve won the games we’re supposed to. But we haven’t won the games that are 50-50 yet. I’d say that Columbia is the favored team.”
at Lancaster Catholic
at Northern Lebanon