BY JEFF FALK
It’s not too late yet, but time is of the essence. Ten-game schedules can be very unforgiving.
The Northern Lebanon football team needs to break out of the funk that it’s in very soon.
On a homecoming Friday night at Fred Gahres Stadium in Fredericksburg, the Vikings dropped their third straight contest, 26-20 to Pequea Valley. After Northern Lebanon opened a 12-0 lead, the Braves tallied 26 unanswered points.
The result makes Northern Lebanon, which has had been forced to replace a strong graduated class, to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. The Braves improved to 3-2 on the fall and 1-1 in the section.
Pequea’s trimph over the Vikings represented its first in eight seasons.
Northern Lebanon drove its opening possession for a short Derek DiAngelis touchdown blast to grab a 6-0 advantage. Then before halftime, the Vikings upped their lead to 12-0 on a modest scoring hook-up between quarterback Issac Ray and receiver Pat Stevens.
But the second half was all Pequea Valley.
The Braves broke through after just a handful on snaps in the third quarter on an intermediate scoring pass. And before the period was out, Pequea Valley had scored on a long run to knot the score at 12.
A Viking fumble deep inside their own territory put the Braves ahead for good. And Pequea completed the onslaught with another long touchdown jaunt.
Doing the majority of its damage in the second half, Pequea Valley outgained Northern Lebanon 290 total yards to 235. The Braves piled up 260 of those yards on the ground.
The Vikings completed the scoring when Ray and Stevens again collaborated on a scoring play through the air. But it was too little too late.
Elsewhere in scholastic football on Friday:
Garden Spot 40, Elco 7
In Myerstown, the Raiders fell in an early season showdown for first place in Section Three of the L-L. The loss snapped Elco’s three-game, feel-good winning streak.
The result means Elco is 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the section. The Spartans, the apparent class of Section Three, moved to 5-0 on the year and 2-0 in the circuit.
The Raider defense performed admirably in the first half, and it was a scoreless contest two minutes before the break. But Garden Spot broke through for a touchdown pass and took a one-score advantage to the locker room.
In the third quarter, the Spartans asserted themselves with short run and a long pass to assume a 20-0 lead. But the Raiders’ lone bright spot on the evening – a 40-yard touchdown pass from freshman Jeff Martin to Derek Miller – gave the home team a glimmer of hope early in the final period, pulling it to within 13 points of the lead.
But Garden Spot put the outcome out of reach with three subsequent touchdowns.
The Spartans rolled up nearly 500 yards of total offense. The running attack on which Elco had hung its attack during the winning streak was limited to less than 25 yards.
Manheim Central 69, Lebanon 7
At Lebanon’s Alumni Stadium, the mighty Barons rolled to a 28-0 first-quarter bulge and Lebanon High never recovered. The final score represented the second time this season that the Cedars surrendered more than 67 points, and both came at home.
With the defeat, the Cedars plummeted to 0-5 on the season and 0-2 in Section Two of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Manheim Central, which has never lost to Lebanon, improved to 4-1 on the year.
With four rushers surpassing the century mark, the Barons piled up nearly 600 yards of total offense, attempted just a single pass and averaged nearly 15 yards per rush attempt.
Lebanon pulled to within 35-7 in the second period when junior Mark Pyles connected with Jeremy De La Cruz for a 56-yard scoring play. But Manheim Central posted two more touchdowns before the intermission for a 49-7 advantage.
The entire second half was played under a mercy-rule-invoked continuous running clock.
Pyles finished the contest 13-of-26 for 170 yards and no interceptions. The Cedar junior also registered 125 yards on the ground.