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BY JEFF FALK

SOUTH LEBANON – They may say that youth is wasted on the young. But there is something about being around young people that keeps others young.

It’s the enthusiasm, the element of surprise, the unexpected. Both learning and teaching can be fun.

For just that reason, following the development of the Cedar Crest football team this season will be an enjoyable experience. Exactly which direction the Falcons go will be determined by the decisions they make, by what they make of it.

Anything can happen.

“We were young last year, and we’re still young,” said Cedar Crest head coach Rob Wildasin. “But we’re improving. I think we’re going to become much better as the year goes on. The way you do that is through practice and games, and reps and reps and reps.”

During a COVID-19-shortended season in 2020, Cedar Crest went 2-5. But the Falcons did get better as the year progressed, something which has become a trademark of the program under Wildasin.

Now, the Falcons just want to continue to mature and build off what they learned last season.

“Last year matters in the sense that we got a lot of young guys reps,” said Wildasin, who’s in his eighth season at the top of the program. “Honestly, coming into this training camp, we were just looking for overall improvement. We have no areas where we don’t need to improve. But that’s not a bad thing,

“I think we’re as ready for the season as we can be at this point,” continued Wildasin. “COVID-19 still disrupted some of the stuff we wanted to do in the offseason. We’ve still got work to do.”

Wildasin and his staff are currently working with 67 players in grades ten through 12.

Of those student-athletes, Cedar Crest returns ten offensive starters. The defense is just a little less seasoned, with seven returning starters.

“It depends on the skills of the players you have,” said Wildasin, to the notion that larger rosters can equate to fewer two-way performers. “We’ve had big teams like this where we didn’t have a lot of kids going both ways. We’ve also had smaller teams where we had a lot of kids going both ways. Depth certainly helps. But we’re young. We’re going to have a lot of sophomores on the field. That, to me, is very telling.

“Our goal is always to make the district playoffs, and win a game in districts,” Wildasin continued. “That’s our goal this year. Section One (of the Lancaster-Lebanon League) is loaded. Our schedule is tough. I just want to improve every week. We’ve just got to keep people healthy and get people to practice.”

Cedar Crest will look to build upon the leadership of senior running back/linebacker Aadyn Richards and junior quarterback Jay Huber. Huber is an athletic signal-caller who can both throw and run, while Richards is a proven performer on both sides of the ball.

“I like our linebackers,” said Wildasin. “I like our receivers. I think Jay Huber is going to have a heck of a year at quarterback.

“Our offensive line is just young, but they’re working to get better,” added Wildasin. “You can flip that and also say the same thing about the defensive line.”

Along with Richards, senior receiver/defensive back Brayden Koehler and senior back/linebacker Trayvon Zerbe will serve as Cedar Crest’s captains this year. Junior receiver/linebacker Ethan Heisey and junior receiver/defensive end Nolan Groff are two other athletic kids to watch.

Along both lines, the Falcons will follow the examples set by senior Connor Daubert.

“We’re the smallest 6-A team in the state,” said Wildasin, who sports a 36-34 overall record in South Lebanon. “Every year in high school is different because you’re not recruiting players. You’re coaching the kids you’ve got. You’ve got to build the program with some stability, which I think we have. We’ve built up the expectations of the players, the staff and the community.

“We’ve had some really nice years here,” Wildasin added. “You always want to hit above your weight. That’s what we try to do. We don’t want to be a roll-over. I like our team. We’ve got talent.”

Few things have the power to stunt the kind of growth that the Falcons are seeking more than the on-going Coronavirus pandemic. It’s a variable that hasn’t changed much from 2020 to this year.

“We’re going to follow the guidelines of the Cornwall-Lebanon school district,” said Wildasin. “I want to play. I’m doing everything I can to keep myself healthy so I can lead this program. We really want to play ten games or more, with a full squad.”

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

2021 Cedar Crest Football Schedule

DateOpponents
8/27
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest

Nonleague
9/03
7:00 pm
Gettysburg
at Cedar Crest

Nonleague
9/10
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Governor Mifflin

Nonleague
9/17
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Carlisle

Nonleague
9/24
7:00 pm
Elizabethtown
at Cedar Crest

Nonleague
10/01
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Manheim Township

League
10/08
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Hempfield

League
10/15
7:00 pm
Wilson
at Cedar Crest

League
10/22
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Penn Manor

League
10/29
7:00 pm
McCaskey
at Cedar Crest

League

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