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IMG_5984BY JEFF FALK

DENVER – One could make the point that the Cedar Crest football team, through consistency, did overachieve. One could also argue that the Falcons beat the teams they should’ve beaten.

But Cedar Crest was what it’s record said it was.

On a frigid Friday night at Cocalico High School, the Falcons sweet fall ended on a sour note, with a 42-7 loss to Cocalico, in the opening round of the District Three Class AAAAA playoffs. In bringing the mercy rule into play, the Eagles recorded the first three touchdowns and the last three touchdowns of the contest, while dominating everywhere in between.

Feasting on four Falcon first-half turnovers, Cocalico knocked out Cedar Crest starting quarterback Logan Horn early in the second quarter, with the Eagles already ahead 14-0. The Eagles out gained the Falcons 319 total yards to 197.

IMG_5943The flow and outcome of the contest was eerily similar to an October 6th meeting between the two squads in South Lebanon, which Cocalico won 55-6. In that one, Cedar Crest fell behind early, couldn’t generate much offense against the Eagle defense and time and time again gave the Cocalico offense a short field with which to work.

For sixth-seeded Cedar Crest, which concluded its campaign at 8-3, it was its second District Three playoff appearance in three years. Third-seeded Cocalico moved to 10-1 overall and into next Friday’s District Three Class AAAAA semifinal against second-seeded Manheim Central.

“I’m not saying I would take it,” said Cedar Crest head coach Rob Wildasin, when asked if would’ve taken eight wins and a trip to the district playoffs at the beginning of the season. “Eight wins is a great accomplishment. Our 2018 Cedar Crest football goal is to get into districts and win a game. That’s the next step. The kids are buying in. The coaches are coaching, and we have a great staff.

“People picked Lower Dauphin over us. People picked Solanco over us. People picked Lampeter-Strasburg over us,” continued Wildasin. “Aren’t you supposed to beat the teams you’re better than to be a good team? That’s (Cocalico) the eighth-ranked (Class AAAAA) team in the state. If we would’ve won we would’ve played the fifth-ranked team in the state (Manheim Central). We beat the teams we had to beat, and we bounced back after tough losses.”

IMG_5940Down three scores and Horn’s return very much in doubt, reserve quarterback Tanner Miller injected some life into the Cedar Crest comeback hopes when he hit Cole Laney with a 34-yard touchdown strike in the right corner of the end zone. The TD capped a six-play, 89-yard Cedar Crest possession and made it a 21-7 ball game, with 6:10 left in the second quarter.

But it turned out to be the Falcons’ lone highlight of the evening.

“When Logan gets knocked out, it takes everything away,” said Wildasin. “We put the ball on the ground a lot. It (Horn’s injury) takes 80 percent of the game plan down the drain. But I thought Tanner played well.

“They (the Eagles) grind,” added Wildasin. “When you give them a short field to grind,it makes it easier. But I thought our defense played well.”

Cocalico scored twice before the half ended, including a 28-yard scoring collaboration between Ronald Zahm and quarterback Noah Palm, with 16 seconds of the second period remaining that broke the Falcons’ back. Then the Eagles scored on their first possession of the second half to widen their lead to 35 points.

“We needed to score and we didn’t,” said Wildasin. “We needed to move the ball. If (number) Four (Horn) stays healthy, it’s a game. We thought we could score against their defense.

“We had turnovers early, and turnovers hurt us the first time we played them,” continued Wildasin. “I don’t know if we were trying to do too much. My goal for this program is to take the next step.”

IMG_5908Cocalico set a tone for the contest by driving the opening kickoff 70 yards in 15 plays and 8:09, to take a 7-0 lead. Fourteen of those plays were rushes, including Garrett Longenecker’s one-yard scoring plunge.

“The system is very tough to defend,” said Wildasin of the Eagles’ ground attack. “It’s a tough match-up for us. We gave them short field, short field, short field. They’ve got a good football team. They’re going to take advantage of it.

“You have one team that likes to chuck the ball around,” Wildasin added. “If it was up to us, we want to play in a dome. Then the other team wants to play pound and ground. They’ll take any conditions. But that’s not the reason we lost. We didn’t play well. We got our stud (Horn) hurt.”

Cocalico used two Falcon fumbles to push its advantage to 21-0. Palm raced 52 yards to the promised land with nine seconds remaining in the opening stanza, and Brandon Brubaker tallied the first of his three touchdowns, 2:23 into the second quarter.

IMG_6002“This program had eleven wins in a decade,” said Wildasin. “But these seniors have been to the playoffs twice in their careers. I think that’s a good accomplishment.

“For the past four years, our seniors have stepped up,” concluded Wildasin. “We expect the same thing with these juniors next year. We seem to reload.”

Cedar Crest turned the ball over a total of six times.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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2017 Cedar Crest Football Results

Date Teams Score
9/01
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
14
42
9/08
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Northern Lebanon
35
7
9/15
7:00 pm
Lower Dauphin
at Cedar Crest
35
41
9/22
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Ephrata
41
7
9/29
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Garden Spot
60
30
10/06
7:00 pm
Cocalico
at Cedar Crest
55
6
10/13
7:00 pm
Solanco
at Cedar Crest
21
42
10/20
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Central
6
42
10/27
7:00 pm
Elizabethtown
at Cedar Crest
7
31
11/03
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lampeter-Strasburg
49
27
11/10
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Cocalico
7
42

 

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PIAA District Three

 Class AAAAA Power Rankings

AAAAA School  W  L  T  Rating  TWP  OWP  TWPW  OWPW  TWPL  OWPL
1 Harrisburg 10- 0- 0  0.829580  1.000000  0.621290  11.8  60.7  0.0  37.0
2 Manheim Central 10- 0- 0  0.795371  1.000000  0.545270  11.3  53.6  0.0  44.7
3 Cocalico 9- 1- 0  0.776737  0.922727  0.598303  10.2  60.0  0.9  40.3
4 Governor Mifflin 9- 1- 0  0.761170  0.924779  0.561204  10.5  56.9  0.9  44.5
5 William Penn 9- 1- 0  0.747074  0.934783  0.517653  10.8  49.9  0.8  46.5
6 Cedar Crest 8- 2- 0  0.726188  0.841121  0.585714  9.0  57.4  1.7  40.6
7 Waynesboro 7- 2- 0  0.689985  0.814208  0.538157  7.5  47.6  1.7  40.9
8 Exeter Township 7- 3- 0  0.680583  0.763889  0.578764  8.3  58.1  2.6  42.3
9 Cedar Cliff 7- 3- 0  0.618320  0.756881  0.448969  8.3  42.5  2.7  52.1
10 Elizabethtown 6- 4- 0  0.606219  0.663366  0.536373  6.7  52.4  3.4  45.3
11 Northeastern 6- 4- 0  0.605541  0.686869  0.506141  6.8  49.5  3.1  48.3
12 Lower Dauphin 5- 5- 0  0.600760  0.565000  0.644467  5.7  64.4  4.4  35.5
13 Dover 6- 4- 0  0.562662  0.605769  0.509974  6.3  49.9  4.1  47.9
14 Palmyra 6- 4- 0  0.539708  0.580000  0.490462  5.8  48.9  4.2  50.8
15 Solanco 4- 6- 0  0.526280  0.463918  0.602500  4.5  60.3  5.2  39.8
16 Conestoga Valley 4- 6- 0  0.520642  0.500000  0.545872  4.7  53.6  4.7  44.6
17 Twin Valley 5- 5- 0  0.516212  0.520619  0.510827  5.1  51.9  4.7  49.7
18 Muhlenberg 5- 5- 0  0.514492  0.545000  0.477205  5.5  48.2  4.6  52.8
19 South Western 3- 7- 0  0.511505  0.380682  0.671401  3.4  68.6  5.5  33.6
20 Mechanicsburg 3- 7- 0  0.446893  0.360215  0.552833  3.4  54.2  6.0  43.8
21 Garden Spot 2- 8- 0  0.432379  0.247312  0.658573  2.3  66.5  7.0  34.5
22 Daniel Boone 2- 8- 0  0.429867  0.250000  0.649704  2.3  65.8  6.9  35.5
23 Red Land 2- 8- 0  0.416003  0.252747  0.615539  2.3  61.4  6.8  38.4
24 Hershey 2- 8- 0  0.390426  0.239130  0.575342  2.2  56.7  7.0  41.9
25 Lebanon 1- 9- 0  0.353332  0.140244  0.613772  1.2  61.5  7.1  38.7
26 Spring Grove 1- 9- 0  0.322459  0.135294  0.551217  1.2  54.4  7.4  44.3
27 New Oxford 0- 10- 0  0.312039  0.000000  0.693420  0.0  69.6  8.8  30.8
28 Ephrata 0- 10- 0  0.286364  0.000000  0.636364  0.0  63.7  8.5  36.4
29 Fleetwood 1- 9- 0  0.282468  0.103261  0.501499  1.0  50.2  8.3  49.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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