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IMG_6054BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – Tyler Long and Evan Heilman got the glory. But it was Caleb Turner who did the dirty work.

And the Annville-Cleona football team will enter the playoffs together as a team, and with a boat load of momentum at its back.

On a chilly Friday night at Lebanon Alumni Stadium, the Little Dutchmen ran away from the hometown Cedars for a 41-21 regular-season ending triumph. After the score was knotted at 14 early in the second half, Annville-Cleona used a couple of big plays and a punishing ground attack to wear down Lebanon.

IMG_6201Turner, the fullback in Annville-Cleona’s triple-option attack, carried an amazing 37 times – more than 60 percent of the Little Dutchmen’s offensive snaps –  for 209 rushing yards, while Long and Heilman each scored a pair of touchdowns. A-C churned out 351 rushing yards and did not throw a pass in the second half.

With the outcome, Annville-Cleona improved to 7-3 overall and 7-2 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Situated fourth in the latest Class AAA power rankings, the Little Dutchmen are likely in line to host a District Three playoff contest next Friday night.

While the result snapped Lebanon’s four-game winning streak, it did nothing to take away from the improvement the Cedars made in their first season in Section Three. Lebanon High concluded its campaign at 5-5 overall and 5-4 in the section.

IMG_6164“There’s three options – inside, vertical and outside,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Matt Gingrich of his team’s offense. “If you’re not going to take the fullback, we’re going to keep giving him the ball. The one thing about the triple option is you plan and plan and plan, and then you attack the weakness.

“We were very proud of him (Turner),” continued Gingrich. “That’s what a senior does. That’s the best team player I’ve coached. They’re 16-, 17-, 18-year-old kids. If they want out (of the game), they can tell me. He’s going to have this night to remember for a long time.”

“We just took it to them,” said Turner. “We were physical.”

“They were running the back-side counter,” said Lebanon head coach Gerry Yonchiuk of the Little Dutchmen, “and the back-side belly. And we couldn’t stop them.

“That type of offense is going to wear you down,” added Yonchiuk. “Because you don’t get those stops, and all of sudden they’ve got six yards.”

While it may have been the Little Dutchmen’s three-yards-and-a-cloud of dust approach that won the game, it was two big plays that ultimately turned the tide in their direction.

The first came when Quamir Parker returned the ensuing kickoff – after the Cedars had tied the game at 14 – 87 yards for the touchdown that gave the Little Dutchmen the lead for good. The second was Evan Heilman’s 35-yard interception return for a touchdown, a snap after Turner had plunged two yards for the score that made it 28-14.

Annville-Cleona completed its run of 27 unanswered points in the middle of the fourth quarter, when Long scampered in from seven yards away to push the Little Dutchmen’s advantage to 41-14.

IMG_6129“The kick-off return was the changing point,” said Gingrich. “When it rains it pours. That kid (Parker) is one of my kids. He played his butt off.

“I was a little worried defensively in the second half,” Gingrich continued. “That air-raid offense is hard to stop when it gets clicking. We’re injured back there. But these kids didn’t blink.”

“It was peaks and valleys,” said Yonchiuk. “We were down 14-0, but we battled real well and we came back. I really thought the game was going to come down to the last series. The kickoff return was like a punch to the face. Everything went into the tank after that. They had that pick-six, and it was a killer.

“The thing with Annville-Cleona, they’re very disciplined,” added Yonchiuk. “They don’t make mistakes and hurt themselves. They’re smart. They countered our aggressiveness to their advantage. We stopped one thing and they hurt us with another. But we didn’t stop the fullback.”

The Little Dutchmen drove the opening kickoff 68 yards in eight plays to grab a 7-0 lead. Heilman did the honors from 17 yards away.

Then 1:21 into the second stanza, Annville-Cleona extended its advantage to 14-0. After seven straight Turner dives, Long scored on a four-yard touchdown scamper.

IMG_6133“I’m very pleased with what we did,” said Gingrich. “We do not have the type of athletes they have. But our kids stuck in there and played well.

“Our defense played good,” Gingrich added. “We had a pick-six. I’m very proud of the kids. We had six kids out (with injuries). Each week it’s somebody else. Our kids are resilient.”

“It’s huge,” said Turner. “Playing at home in districts is important.”

“Winning four in-a-row, you start to believe in yourself,” said Yonchiuk. “We started believing we would win, and not hoping we would. You never want to be satisfied, and these young guys kept competing, We demand effort and they gave us that.”

The Cedars answered Annville-Cleona’s second touchdown with one of their own, to pull to within 14-7.  It was Christian Mazolillo’s 10-yard scoring jaunt with 8:59 left in the first half that did the trick.

IMG_6138Lebanon then used good field position and a couple of Annville-Cleona penalties to draw even on the first possession of the second half. Cedar sophomore signal-caller Isaiah Rodriguez found Leighton Rivera with a 25-yard touchdown strike.

“I get crap all the time about running the triple option,” said Gingrich. “I get it from everyone. When you run the triple option you have kids who play three sport. In weather like this, it translates.

“It (hosting a district playoff game) means everything to us,” added Gingrich. “We’re going to get after it as much as we can next week.”

“I think we got it turned around and headed in the right direction,” said Yonchiuk of the Cedars’ campaign. “The offense was very positive. The defense was solid all year. Their (his player’) improvement was huge.

“Tonight we got beat up front,” continued Yonchiuk. “That offense is hard to defend because you’re physically getting attacked every play. We had a couple of nice stops in the first half. It started becoming like a boxing match.”

IMG_6103In addition to Turner’s huge output, Annville-Cleona also got 103 rushing yards out of Heilman. Rodriguez completed 16 of 29 pass attempts for 220 yards for the Cedars.

“That quarterback is a tough kid,” said Gingrich of Rodriguez. “He’s a great young man. That number six (Rivera) is a stud. They’re (the Cedars) much better. At the end of this cycle, I hope they’re ready to go back up (to Section One or Two).”

“I’m really proud of my staff,” said Yonchiuk. “Jeff Stellar is (offensive coordinator) Karl Lidetka’s right-hand man, and they made great strides with the offense. I don’t know who could’ve had that type of success with seven sophomores.

“Greg Herr is my right-hand man and Bob Norman brings a lot of experience to the table,” Yonchiuk added. “I’m very proud of the guys I work with. That’s important to me.”

 

 

 IMG_6146To 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_61942018 Annville-Cleona Football Results

Date Opponents Outcomes
8/24
7:00 pm
Milton Hershey
at Annville-Cleona
39
13
8/30
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Octorara
39
30
9/07
7:00 pm
Ephrata
at Annville-Cleona
35
41
9/14
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
13
62
9/21
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Columbia
56
8
9/28
7:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Annville-Cleona
23
14
10/05
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Pequea Valley
54
18
10/12
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Donegal
14
35
10/19
7:00 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona
19
31
10/26
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lebanon
IMG_6125
 IMG_61812018 Lebanon High Football Results
Date Opponents Outcomes
8/24
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
42
19
9/01
6:00 pm
Lebanon
at Elco
6
7
9/07
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Pequea Valley
58
26
9/14
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Donegal
12
34
9/21
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Lancaster Catholic
21
27
9/28
7:00 pm
Columbia
at Lebanon
6
15
10/05
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon
18
56
10/12
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Ephrata
30
24
10/19
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Octorara
28
0
10/26
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lebanon
IMG_6177
 IMG_6197PIAA District Three
 Class AAA Power Rankings
AAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP  TWPW  OWPW  TWPL  OWPL
1 Lancaster Catholic 10- 0- 0  0.722685  1.000000  0.383745  10.0  37.3  0.0  59.9
2 Middletown Area 9- 1- 0  0.714875  0.905941  0.481351  9.2  47.8  1.0  51.5
3 Wyomissing 8- 1- 0  0.669649  0.895028  0.394187  8.1  38.7  1.0  59.4
4 Annville Cleona 7- 3- 0  0.612269  0.707921  0.495361  7.2  48.1  3.0  49.0
5 Bermudian Springs 7- 3- 0  0.596093  0.691176  0.479881  7.1  48.3  3.2  52.4
6 Littlestown 7- 3- 0  0.562156  0.677885  0.420710  7.1  42.1  3.4  57.9
7 Schuylkill Valley 5- 5- 0  0.495957  0.504902  0.485024  5.2  46.2  5.1  49.0
8 Susquenita 4- 6- 0  0.397703  0.333333  0.476378  3.4  48.4  6.8  53.2
9 James Buchanan 2- 2- 0  0.388991  0.476190  0.282413  2.0  11.0  2.2  28.0
10 Hanover 3- 7- 0  0.364419  0.289216  0.456335  3.0  45.2  7.3  53.9
11 Biglerville 2- 8- 0  0.318004  0.190476  0.473871  2.0  46.7  8.5  51.9
12 Northern Lebanon 1- 9- 0  0.273239  0.088542  0.498980  0.9  48.9  8.8  49.1
13 Kutztown Area 0- 10- 0  0.258071  0.000000  0.573490  0.0  53.7  10.1  39.9
IMG_6064
 IMG_6158Lancaster-Lebanon League
 Final Section Three Standings
League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT PS PA
Lancaster Catholic 9 0 100.00 10 0 100.00 364 82
Elco 7 2 77.78 8 2 80.00 230 192
Annville-Cleona 7 2 77.78 7 3 70.00 365 241
Donegal 6 3 66.67 6 4 60.00 344 223
Lebanon 5 4 55.56 5 5 50.00 266 225
Ephrata 5 4 55.56 5 5 50.00 298 256
Columbia 3 6 33.33 3 7 30.00 187 342
Octorara 2 7 22.22 2 8 20.00 143 259
Northern Lebanon 1 8 11.11 1 9 10.00 146 430
Pequea Valley 0 9 0.00 0 10 0.00 75 366

 

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