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BY JEFF FALK

FREDERICKSBURG – Football is all about timing.

Linemen coming off the ball. The defensive blitzing of linebackers. The coordination between quarterbacks and his running backs and receivers.

It’s not about how you play well or where you play well or even why you play well. It’s when.

On a crisp Friday night at Northern Lebanon High Schools’ Fred Gahres Stadium, the Annville-Cleona Little Dutchmen opened Lancaster-Lebanon Section Four play with a statement victory, trampling the homestanding Vikings 41-0. Annville-Cleona came out fired up and ready to go, and that momentum never subsided.

Unleashing a brutal ground game, the Little Dutchmen tallied touchdowns on their first six possessions of the evening. Annville-Cleona led 35-0 at halftime and the entire second half was played under the mercy rule.

Phoenix Music scored a couple of Little Dutchmen touchdowns, while teammates Chase Maguire, Rogan Harter, Alex Long and Gavin Keller also hit pay dirt. Maguire, Harter and Music all eclipsed the 100-yard rushing plateau for the game.

The outcome gave Annville-Cleona, now 2-3 on the fall, a leg up in the short but competitive Lancaster-Lebanon Section Four race. Northern Lebanon lost for the second straight week and dipped to 3-3 overall.

“This is our first game in the section,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Matt Gingrich. “We’re in first place right now and we’ve got four of our next five games at home. We have the ability. We have the talent. Hopefully we can keep it going.”

“When you have a tremendous start to the season, it really builds that confidence,” said Northern Lebanon rookie head coach Jason Rice. “In the same way, we might have been a little over confident. We’re a better team than we showed tonight. Maybe this was a dose of reality. We had a good first half of the season, but we still have a second half to play.”

Annville-Cleona’s offensive line really set the tone of the contest early, and the Little Dutchmen never relented.

It took the Little Dutchmen 2:12 and six running plays to drive the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. Harter covered the final 41 yards by maneuvering down the right sideline.

Five minutes later, Annville-Cleona strung together a similar 80-yard march. This time, Long did the honors from 24 yards out and the Little Dutchmen led 14-0.

“Yes, this was the best game we’ve played all season. Not even close,” said Gingrich. “Winning and losing will happen, but I’m concerned with how we play. We played physical, we played fast and we played the next play. We could’ve lost 17-14 and it would’ve been progress.

“I tell our guys, ‘Don’t be afraid to be physical’,” continued Gingrich. “When you’re not afraid to be physical, good things will happen. This time we weren’t afraid.”

“After the game, I told my guys that we’re not where we want to be yet,” said Rice. “That’s the takeaway. You can see it more with the attitude and the behavior than you can with points or wins. Annville-Cleona whooped up on us. But that shouldn’t control what we do. We had too many penalties and too many mistakes.”

As the second quarter unfolded, Annville-Cleona’s rushing momentum continued to build.

Some 56 seconds into the stanza, Music recorded his first touchdown, from three yards away, to cap a 10-run, 57-yard drive. Then in the middle of the second period, Maguire carried a 10-yarder into the end zone to make it a 27-0 game.

“We were very locked in with with our game plan,” said Gingrich. “The kids watched a lot of film. They knew what we were looking for. It happens when you’re ready to go.

“Our practices this week were horrible,” Gingrich added. “I was concerned because it was their (the Vikings’) homecoming. I was concerned with the rivalry. But I knew we had a really good game plan. I knew the possibility was there for us to have a good game plan, and we executed.”

“I respect how they came out to play,” said Rice of the Little Dutchmen. “They came out looking like a very good football team, and they are. They executed their assignments very well. It becomes difficult to defend when they throw their bread and butter at you, throw their bread and butter at you, throw their bread and butter at you, and then you hit you with misdirection. Their play calling was spot on tonight.

“It was a snowball effect,” Rice added. “But the snowball only goes as far as you let it. Teams have come back from large deficits. After their first score, you could see faces of concern of possible defeat. That’s what’s got to change. Momentum can be a beautiful thing and a cruel thing.”

It was Music’s 39-yard touchdown run a minute before the break that brought the mercy rule into play. On its initial possession of the second half, Annville-Cleona drove 82 yards in 12 snaps to register Keller’s one-yard plunge.

“I don’t know how many different plays we ran,” said Gingrich. “Numbers are numbers. When you run triple option football, if you block it moderately well, you don’t run many plays.”

“It’s anybody’s year, at any time,” said Rice of the Section Four race. “If you look at records, we probably should’ve won tonight, and we didn’t. You have to come out ready to play.”

The Annville-Cleona rushing attack churned out 358 yards on the ground and 395 yards of total offense. The Little Dutchmen defense limited the Vikings to 113 yards of total offense.

Maguire carried 25 times for 149 yards. Harter carried nine times for 118 yards. Music registered 100 yards on nine attempts.

“Coach Rice is doing a heck of a job,” said Gingrich. “I’m really impressed with how their kids work with him. The progress they’ve made is phenomenal.”

“Tonight, they (the Little Dutchmen) were the better team,” said Rice. “This was a nice speed bump in where we’re going. It’s a matter of re-rallying the troops on Monday and getting ready for the next one. That’s the nice thing about football.”

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
54
27
Nonleague
9/24
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Catholic
14
49
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

2021 Northern Lebanon Football Schedule

DateOpponentsOutcomes
8/28
7:00 pm
Pine Grove
at Northern Lebanon
7
13
Nonleague
9/03
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Hamburg
6
47
Nonleague
9/10
7:00 pm
York Tech
at Northern Lebanon
6
33
Nonleague
9/17
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon
27
0
Nonleague
9/24
7:00 pm
Lampeter-Strasburg
at Northern Lebanon
42
2
Nonleague
10/01
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon

League
10/08
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Columbia

League
10/15
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco

League
10/22
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Pequea Valley

League
10/29
7:00 pm
Octorara
at Northern Lebanon

League

Lancaster-Lebanon League

Section Four Standings

L-L LEAGUE SECTION FOUR
LeagueOverall
WLPCTWLPCTPSPA
Columbia101.000410.800208160
Elco101.000230.40013197
Annville-Cleona101.000230.400139160
Octorara010.000420.667254113
Northern Lebanon010.000330.50081143
Pequea Valley010.000140.20074243

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