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IMG_4047BY JEFF FALK

ANNVILLE -They say kids become more emotionally involved when there’s someone behind them, when someone’s watching. Members of the Annville-Cleona football team play for more than themselves and even their teammates, they play for their community.

And while no one represents the communities of Annnville and Cleona like the Little Dutchmen ‘ballers’, those small towns certainly return the favor with their support.

On a sunny Saturday afternoon at Annville-Cleona High School, the Little Dutchmen again represented their hometown in a positive manner, with a convincing 42-12 homecoming triumph over Columbia. With its faithful looking on, Annville-Cleona unleashed a lethal running attack to record 30 unanswered points and break open a 12-6 game, and bring the mercy rule into play in the third quarter.

The result was significant on a couple of fronts for the Little Dutchmen. Not only did it rebound from last week’s disastrous 45-0 loss at Lancaster Catholic, but the victory kept Annville-Cleona in the thick of the Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three race, and in the hunt for a District Three Class AA playoff berth.

IMG_3973The Little Dutchmen pushed their overall record to 5-2 and their Section Three mark to 2-1. Columbia slipped to 0-6 on the fall and 0-3 in the league.

Some 318 of Annville-Cleona’s 388 total yards came on the ground.

“Our team plays for our town,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Matt Gingrich, himself an Annville native and resident. “What my end goal is is to have a team that the town is proud of, for being physical and tough kids. I think at the beginning (when he first took over the program) they (his players) didn’t enjoy running the ball. I get a lot of compliments from a lot of people, and they’re all positive about trying to represent the town in a positive manner.

IMG_4023“For me, the first thing I think of is the 15-20 kids who didn’t come out for football,” continued Gingrich. “These guys looking around see their neighbors, their teachers, their grandparents. We get so much out of our players because they’re from a small town. This is what these kids are privileged to. It’s their job to do their town proud.”

“Everyone looks forward to coming to our games,” said Annville-Cleona senior captain and leader, Noah Myers. “Just from being from a small community, everyone knows each other. It’s awesome having family and friends here supporting you.

“I love seeing it (people in the community wearing apparel supporting the football team),” Myers added. “Just knowing they’re always there for us. In good times or in bad times, they’re here rooting for us.”

Following a bit of a sluggish start, Annville-Cleona really got rolling in the middle of the second quarter. The Little Dutchmen ran all running plays on their next four scoring drives, never attempting a pass.

Caleb Turner’s four-yard scoring jaunt – which capped a 12-snap 80-yard possession – gave the Little Dutchmen a 20-6 locker room margin. Then, Annville-Cleona marched the second-half kickoff 75 yards in 13 plays to get a five-yard touchdown run from Evan Heilman.

“Halftime was twenty minutes and I talked for thirty seconds,” said Gingrich. “I told them (his players), ‘If you don’t want to be physical, they’ll (the Crimson Tide) get back into the game. I was happy with how they (his players) responded..

“They (the Crimson Tide) did what they had to do to stay in the game,” added Gingrich. “But I did not like our aggressiveness. In the second half, we came off the ball. That’s what we needed. We needed some kids to hit.”

IMG_3992“He (Gingrich) knows I’d rather throw than run,” said Myers, who attempted just six passes, and none in the second half. “But he knows I’m going to do what’s best for the team. It’s my job to do what’s best for the team.”

The Little Dutchmen kept the momentum going deep into the third quarter.

Myers shredded the Colmubia defense for a 31-yard touchdown ramble, with 3:20 left in the period, and A-C led 34-6. Before the stanza was through, the Little Dutchmen scored again, when Dominic MacMillan stuck it in from three yards away.

For Myers, it was his 14th rushing touchdown of the year.

“It was a complete breakdown,” said Gingrich of his team’s goose egg in Lancaster last week. “To be blunt and correct, we did not do our jobs. If one person does not do his job, we’re not going to be successful. That’s how our game is. We have to be perfect in every area. That was the first time we had faced adversity. If we do play them (the Crusaders) again and we do our jobs, it would be a heck of a game. It would be fun for people to watch.

IMG_3960“We talk all the time about playing the next play,” added Gingrich. “I need to practice what I preach. We have to do a better job of moving on and playing the next play. That was the first time we got beat.”

“I’m not the fastest guy,” said Myers. “But when I get a chance, I’m going to take what the defense gives me. I’ve been doing it for four years. It’s second nature at this point. I also need to make good decisions off the field.

“Last week was a wake-up call for all of us,” Myers continued. “I’m happy, because this was my last homecoming game. I was a little emotional. Everyone’s goal this year is going back and winning the section. It’s there for the taking.”

Annville-Cleona scored on its first snap of the game, when Columbia didn’t cover Quamir Parker, the Little Dutchmen’s outside receiver. Myers got the ball to him and Parker raced 55 yards untouched down the right sideline.

IMG_4093With 21 seconds remaining in the opening period, McMillan made it 12-0, with a six-yard touchdown burst. Annville-Cleona’s short field was set up by a shanked Crimson Tide punt.

“That’s happened a couple of times this year,” said Myers of his touchdown toss. “But I wasn’t smart and didn’t see it. I got some help from my coaches and players on the bench who were yelling at me, yelling my name.”

“My job is to wake up tomorrow and think about Northern Lebanon, and Northern Lebanon only for the next five days,” said Gingrich of his side’s upcoming showdown in Fredericksburg. “Honestly, with the way the playoffs are, I could care less about them. I want to play ten good games. Right now, I want to play our ten games.”

The Little Dutchmen defense limited Columbia to 236 total yards, all but one of which came on the ground.

Myers led the Annville-Cleona offense with 107 rushing yards, while Turner contributed 97 on 19 carries.

 

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To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

 

 

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2017 Annville-Cleona Football Schedule

Date Teams Score
8/25
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Trinity
34
36
9/01
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Biglervillle
51
13
9/08
7:00 pm
Camp Hill
at Annville-Cleona
20
39
9/15
7:00 pm
Hanover
at Annville-Cleona
14
21
9/22
7:00 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona
14
37
9/29
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Catholic
0
45
10/07
1:00 pm
Columbia
at Annville-Cleona
10/13
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
10/27
7:00 pm
Pequea Valley
at Annville-Cleona
11/03
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Donegal

 

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Lancaster-Lebanon League

 Section Three Standings

League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT PS PA
Northern Lebanon 2 0 100.00 5 1 83.33 169 118
Lancaster Catholic 2 0 100.00 2 4 33.33 138 122
Annville-Cleona 2 1 66.67 5 2 71.43 224 154
Donegal 2 1 66.67 2 4 33.33 150 145
Pequea Valley 1 1 50.00 2 4 33.33 126 151
Elco 0 3 0.00 1 5 16.67 67 254
Columbia 0 3 0.00 0 6 0.00 72 273

 

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PIAA District Three

 Class AA Power Rankings

AAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP  TWPW  OWPW  TWPL  OWPL
1 Middletown 6- 0- 0  0.781914  1.000000  0.515364  6.4  29.4  0.0  27.6
2 Wyomissing 6- 0- 0  0.711102  1.000000  0.358003  6.8  20.8  0.0  37.3
3 Bermudian Springs 5- 1- 0  0.662999  0.838983  0.447907  5.0  25.2  1.0  31.0
4 Littlestown 5- 1- 0  0.629984  0.814516  0.404444  5.1  22.8  1.2  33.5
5 Trinity 3- 3- 0  0.526153  0.452381  0.616319  2.9  35.5  3.5  22.1
6 Schuylkill Valley 3- 3- 0  0.521052  0.500000  0.546781  3.1  31.9  3.1  26.4
7 Annville Cleona 4- 2- 0  0.511402  0.631579  0.364519  3.6  20.7  2.1  36.0
8 Eastern York 2- 3- 0  0.480042  0.446602  0.520913  2.3  27.4  2.9  25.2
9 Susquenita 3- 3- 0  0.440685  0.441667  0.439486  2.7  29.1  3.4  37.1
10 Lancaster Catholic 2- 4- 0  0.398694  0.322034  0.492390  1.9  27.5  4.0  28.4
11 Biglerville 1- 4- 0  0.392559  0.229358  0.592027  1.3  34.9  4.2  24.1
12 Pequea Valley 2- 4- 0  0.342639  0.315789  0.375455  1.8  20.7  3.9  34.4
13 Boiling Springs 0- 5- 0  0.310723  0.000000  0.690496  0.0  41.1  5.0  18.4
14 Eastern Lebanon County 1- 5- 0  0.296365  0.188525  0.428169  1.2  22.8  5.0  30.5
15 Kutztown 0- 5- 0  0.205372  0.000000  0.456381  0.0  28.3  5.4  33.7

 

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