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BY JEFF FALK

SOUTH LEBANON – Hundreds of snaps, dozens of practices and six competitions. Adversity, defining moments and teaching opportunities.

The Falcons are different players than they were at the beginning of the season. And Cedar Crest isn’t the same football team.

On a tepid Friday night at Ed and Jeannie Arnold Field at Earl Boltz Stadium, Cedar Crest showed off its two-month-long improvement during a 30-21 victory over Penn Manor. The Falcons built a ten-point lead in the second quarter, then answered every Comet probe the rest of the way.

The outcome was all but secured with 5:17 remaining, when Aadyn Richards ripped off a 27-yard touchdown run to make it a two-score game. Richards’ clinching score had been set up by a 38-yard collaboration between quarterback Chris Danz and receiver Nate Brightbill.

With the triumph, Cedar Crest moved to 2-4 on the year and 2-3 in Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Penn Manor, which had its previously scheduled game postponed by the Coronavirus pandemic, fell to 0-5 overall and 0-4 in the section.

Cedar Crest now lead the all-time series with Penn Manor 16-7.

“I told people they were going to see a different football team at the end of the season, compared to the one at the beginning,” said Cedar Crest head coach Rob Wildasin. “I think you’re starting to see that. There’s been a lot of improvement. That’s (Penn Manor) a good football team. Look at the teams they’ve lost to. With COVID, they missed some games early, just like we did.

“We’ve got freshmen and sophomores all over the field,” continued Wildasin. “Chris Danz is back there battling behind a young offensive line. Aadyn Richards is battling. There’s juniors and seniors coaching freshmen and sophomores. But everybody’s played their tails off.”

With the game knotted at seven, the Falcons took a 14-7 lead they would never relinquish, courtesy of Danz’s eight-yard touchdown toss to Nolan Groff. Then right before the break, Cedar Crest drove the length of the field – 85 yards in 1:57 – to get Connor Aitken’s 30-yard field goal and a ten-point halftime cushion.

“The truth is that the passion and the effort and the focus showed tonight,” said Wildasin. “We took a big step forward, just in our preparation, and it showed.

“Prior to this game, we kind of thought this was going to be a – I hate to say it – rebuild in certain positions,” added Wildasin. “It just took time to gell. When you don’t have a summer (to practice), it’s going to take longer. The offensive line is brand new. You’re going to play Wilson and sort it out? It’s taken time. I’m excited by our young guys.”

After Penn Manor turned a third-quarter blocked punt into a Luke Braas-to-Hunter Hoffman touchdown, the Falcons responded on their next possession. Cedar Crest drove 66 yards in six plays to get the three-yard Richards scoring plunge that made it 24-14.

“Section One is a bear,” said Wildasin. “We’re not ready to play with some of these teams. When you get an opportunity to play a team that’s with you, you want to show up.

“They’re (the Comets) a good athletic team,” Widasin continued. “Somebody had to win and somebody had to lose. That’s how high school football is supposed to be. Blowouts don’t help anybody.”

By striking first, the Falcons set the tone for the evening. Danz hit Adam Heisey with a 25-yard touchdown toss, 6:22 into the contest, the play after connecting with Groff for 44 yards and a first down.

But before the opening period was out, Penn Manor had knotted the score at seven.

“That’s a good football team,” said Wildasin of the Comets. “Their record is deceiving. We just made one more play. There were mistakes made by both sides.”

Cedar Crest out gained Penn Manor 422 total yards to 254. Danz completed 16 of his 25 pass attempts for 310 yards.

Richards rushed 15 times for 112 yards on the ground. Heisey hauled in two aerials for 94 yards, while Groff caught five balls for 91 receiving yards.

“Aadyn’s tough,” said Wildasin. “He ran the ball hard. I think he’s getting better. Part of that is the offensive line is getting better and he’s more confident running behind it.”

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

2020 Cedar Crest Football Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
9/18
7:00 pm
Manheim Central
at Cedar Crest
41
6

Nonleague
9/25
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at McCaskey
27
11

League
10/02
7:00 pm
Manheim Township
at Cedar Crest
49
14

League
10/09
7:00 pm
Hempfield
at Cedar Crest
29
15

League
10/16
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Wilson
6
41

League
10/23
7:00 pm
Penn Manor
at Cedar Crest

League
10/30
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Elizabethtown

Nonleague
11/06
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon

Nonleague

Lancaster-Lebanon League

Section One Standings

LeagueOverall
WLPCTWLPCTPSPA
Wilson501.000510.833182109
Manheim Township410.800420.667223107
Hempfield320.600330.500167146
Cedar Crest130.250140.20068171
Penn Manor030.000040.00034132
McCaskey040.000060.00045260

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