Lebanon Sports Buzz
Breaking News

BY JEFF FALK

ANNVILLE – It’s OK to bend, but you can never break. And you absolutely, positively must take care of the ball.

Do neither, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

On a pleasant Friday night at Annville-Cleona High School, Donegal’s physicality produced breakdowns and mistakes, and ultimately led to a 54-27 loss for the Little Dutchmen in their home football opener. The Indians opened up a 41-20 halftime advantage on their way to racking up 492 yards of total offense.

On the other side of the ball, Annville-Cleona was guilty of a pick-six and five fumbles, one of which it lost.

The setback dropped the Little Dutchmen to 1-2 on the year. Donegal improved to 3-1 overall.

“You’re going to lose a lot of football games if you do that,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Matt Gingrich. “That’s a recipe to get fired. It certainly doesn’t help anything when you turn the ball over.

“I don’t think we could’ve played any worse in the first half,” continued Gingrich. “It definitely couldn’t have gotten any worse. We didn’t expect to give up 41 points in the first half. And I was disappointed with the offense in the second half.”

It was all Donegal most of the night. But only after Annville-Cleona drove the opening kickoff 13 plays in 76 yards to take a 6-0 lead.

Little Dutchmen quarterback Gavin Keller hit Ethan Missimer with a six-yard pass in the left part of the end zone, 5:40 into the contest.

But Donegal scored touchdowns on all six of its possessions in the first half.

“They were very physical,” said Gingrich of the Inidans. “They were just more physical than us. We physically got beat up. Some of it is just us not being very good. Some of that is us not playing very well. It’s not the same caliber of kids, and it’s a weight room thing.

“We’ve got six senior and they’re busting their butts,” Gingrich added. “But you just see some things happening. My kids give great effort. It’s frustrating, but it’s fun. They’ve never not hustled. Every single kid wants to be here, and there’s something to be said for that.”

Annville-Cleona pulled to within 20-13 of the Indians 1:42 into the second quarter when Chase Maguire finished off a nine-snap, 61-play Little Dutchmen possession. And A-C’s Rogan Harter ripped off a 78-yard touchdown jaunt later in the second quarter to get the Little Dutchmen within 33-20 of the lead.

But in between, Donegal scored a pair of touchdowns in a span of 3:34, thanks in part to an Annville-Cleona fumble.

“That pick-six killed us,” said Gingrich of the Indian defensive touchdown that made it 20-6. “He (the Indian cornerback) just sat there. But we didn’t execute well. You can’t play that way, especially when you’re a young team.

“I’m sure there were physical errors, but I’m also sure there were mental errors,” Gingrich continued. “We have to teach them (his players) how to study film. There were a couple of plays where we were in the right spot, and they (the Indians) just beat us.”

Donegal scored two more touchdowns, one late in the third quarter and the other early in the fourth, to extend its lead to 54-20. The highlight of the second half for the Little Dutchmen was Phoenix Music’s 11-yard scoring run with 7:10 remaining.

“There comes a time in everyone’s life when they have to have personal pride,” said Gingrich. “You can’t give up 41 points in a half. You’ve got to be more physical. There was a call to our pride at halftime.

“We had two practices during the 13 days before our first game with Fleetwood, and we weren’t ready,” Gingrich added. “But since then, we gave up a total of 26 points in six quarters. I wasn’t expecting them (the Indians) to score 41 points in the first half. It just kept coming.”

Of Donegal’s 492 yards of total offense, 467 came on the ground. Offensively for Annville-Cleona, Harter carried nine times for 161 rushing yards, while Music contributed 92 yards on nine totes.

“I had a lot of bigger expectations in June,” said Gingrich. “We lost some kids and the expectations were tempered. But ever since we started team camp, everyone has shown up. I knew going into the season we were going to have some struggles.

“I think we’re right where we’re supposed to be,” added Gingrich. “In the end, no matter what, all you can ask for is 100 percent commitment and effort, and they’ve (his players) brought it every day. Hopefully, we’ve got seven more games and we can get better each game.”

To purchase images in this article please email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

2021 Annville-Cleona Football Schedule

DateOpponentsOutcomes
9/02
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Fleetwood
14
38

Nonleague
9/10
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Littlestown
43
20

Nonleague
9/17
7:00 pm
Donegal
at Annville-Cleona

Nonleague
9/24
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Catholic

Nonleague
10/01
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon

League
10/08
7:00 pm
Pequea Valley
at Annville-Cleona

League
10/15
7:00 pm
Columbia
at Annville-Cleona

League
10/22
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Octorara

League
10/29
7:00 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona

League
11/05
7:00 pm
Schuylkill Valley
at Annville-Cleona

Nonleague

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


7 − seven =