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 IMG_3415BY JEFF FALK

ATGLEN – Perhaps it was due to expectations. Maybe it had something to do with how the contest unfolded. Or it could’ve been related to the earliness of the season.

But it’s always good to accentuate the positives and downplay the negatives. One should also remember that Annville-Cleona did enough good things to emerge victorious.

IMG_3450All you really need to know about Thursday night’s Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three football opener at Octorara High School in Chester County is that the Little Dutchmen defeated the home-standing Braves 39-30. The rest is just details.

Annville-Cleona played hard and was certainly most deserving of the win, but the Little Dutchmen couldn’t put Octorara away, after enjoying comfortable leads as large as 39-16, late in the third quarter. Although A-C never allowed the spunky Braves to get within a single score of the lead, there was the matter of Little Dutchmen fumbles, mental mistakes and missed tackles.

IMG_3489Certainly the historical significance of the game can’t be overlooked. The tussle represented new member Octorara’s first-ever L-L Section Three contest.

The result left the Little Dutchmen 1-1 in the early going of the campaign, while the Braves fell to 0-2 overall.

With 57 seconds left in the third quarter, Annville-Cleona junior quarterback Junior Bours hit teammate Jalen Price with a 50-yard touchdown fade to give the visitors their largest lead, 23 points. It was the second scoring strike of the evening for Bours, who also accounted for two other touchdowns with his legs.

Thanks in part to a Little Dutchmen turnover, Octorara netted 14 points in a 3:46 span in the middle of the final stanza.

“I was happy how we started,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Matt Gingrich. “But I wasn’t happy about how we finished.

“I yell at them (his players) and I hug them,” continued Gingrich. “But if they need something at 2 p.m., I’m there for them. We yell and scream, and we care.”

After the Braves had pulled to within ten points of the lead 4;29 after halftime, Bours ran in a three-yarder to re-extend the Little Dutchmen’s lead to 32-16. It capped a ten-play – all runs – 69-yard march.

IMG_3424Annville-Cleona out gained Octorara 277 total yards to 161 in the first half, and 448-332 for the game. The Little Dutchmen piled up 349 yards on the ground.

“They were awesome,” said Gingrich of his interior linemen. “I was very proud of them. Although we’re not that big, we’re bigger than we were last year. But we got a good push.

“I didn’t know we could fumble four times (all the second half),” Gingrich continued. “These kids have been running the option since the seventh grade. I don’t expect them to fumble.”

During a frantic 6:31 before the intermission, the Little Dutchmen outscored the Braves 20-7 to take a 26-10 cushion to the locker room.

A-C’s second quarterback, Josh Speraw, tallied two of those touchdowns on short keepers. But the highlight was Bours’ 76-yard ramble to the house, with 1:45 of the second period remaining.

IMG_3480“I worry about them because they get worried about positions,” said Gingrich of the proficiency of his skill people. “They’re high school kids. They’re athletes. They’re three-sport kids. They better know what they’re supposed to be doing.

“They (Bours and Speraw) both want the job (of starting quarterback),” added Gingrich. “Until someone takes the reigns, they’re both going to play. It’s high school football.”

The Little Dutchmen opened the scoring on their second possession of the night, and it went down as a one-play drive. Bours found junior end Tyler Long on a first-down slant, and Long took it all the way for a 49-yard score and a 6-0 lead.

IMG_3413“For me, it’s a big deal,” said Gingrich.”We completed two touchdown passes and they (his players) played their butts off. I was really worried about them looking at (last year’s) records.

“I really liked our conditioning,” Gingrich added. “We did not practice this week full go. The fact that we were in such good shape was amazing. But this week will be the most improvement we make all season. We better get better.”

In addition to his two rushing touchdowns, Bours gained 92 yards on the ground on ten attempts. Annville-Cleona was led in that category by Caleb Turner and his 123 rushing yards on 14 carries.

“If there’s a must-win in Week Two, this was a must-win,” said Gingrich. “We stumble here, we’re in big trouble. If they (his players) do what they want to do, they’ve got to win out. We’ve got to lay it all on the table. If we don’t clean up our stuff, we won’t be able to do it.

“They’ve (the Braves) got kids we don’t have,” continued Gingrich. “They’re going to win a lot of games this year. I was really worried about an upset.”

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IMG_3492To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

 

 

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IMG_34482018 Annville-Cleona Football Schedule
DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
08/24
Milton Hershey
7:00 PM L 13-39
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
08/30 *
@Octorara
7:00 PM Octorara Area High School
09/07 *
Ephrata
7:00 PM Annville-Cleona High School
09/14 *
Northern Lebanon
7:00 PM Annville-Cleona High School
09/21 *
@Columbia
7:00 PM Columbia High School
09/28 *
Lancaster Catholic
7:00 PM Annville-Cleona High School
10/05 *
@Pequea Valley
7:00 PM Pequea Valley High School
10/12 *
@Donegal
7:00 PM Donegal High School
10/19 *
Elco
7:00 PM Annville-Cleona High School
10/26 *
@Lebanon
7:00 PM Lebanon High School

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