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IMG_2267BY JEFF FALK

MYERSTOWN – There were big things like a defensive stand late in the fourth quarter, a long punt return and halftime adjustments. And there were also little things like extra points.

But no matter what their size, they all seemed to fall in favor of the Cedars. And against the Raiders.

IMG_2283On Friday night at Elco Stadium, Lebanon High edged Elco 20-19 in an exciting non-league scholastic football game between two Lebanon County squads in desperate need of a win. The Cedars notched the contest’s final 13 points, after the Raiders had opened an early-third-quarter 19-7 lead, and threatened to run away and hide.

Lebanon’s winning points came courtesy of Danny Caricabeur and his 65-yard punt return down the right sideline on the first play of the fourth quarter. Or if one prefers, on Hector Cortes-Cruz’s two earlier extra points.

But the Cedars had to survive a fumble deep inside their own territory, one that gave Elco a first down at the Lebanon 20, with less than four minutes to play. Elco kicker Tucker Brown’s 30-yard field goal attempt with 2:50 showing on the game clock sailed wide right, and the Raiders never did get the ball back again.

IMG_2256The result left Lebanon High 1-2 overall. It also left an 0-3 Elco club that seems to be better than the record implies, scratching its head.

“You find ways to lose, so you’ve got to find ways to win,” said Lebanon head coach Gerry Yonchiuk. “Winning can be contagious, just like losing. The highs and lows are like a roller coaster. Instead of looking at went wrong, you’ve got to look at what went right.

“There’s no question we’re improving,” continued Yonchiuk. “In Week One, we looked like deer in head lights. Last week we had some good signs, but we were inconsistent. Tonight I thought we played well the whole game.”

IMG_2240“I knew we were going to get chances,” said Elco head coach Bob Miller. “But we have to make sure we capitalize on them. We also missed two field goals. Extra points are as important as picking up blitzes or completing slants (patterns).

“We’re very close,” Miller continued. “I thought we did a nice job defensively. We didn’t give up big plays. We need to fix some execution things on offense and special teams. It’s going to be up to the kids if they want to buy in and continue the journey.”

The Raiders opened a 19-7 lead by driving the second-half kickoff 54 yards in six plays to get a 30-yard scoring collaboration between quarterback Jeff Martin and tight end Dylan Stoops. But Elco’s pass attempt at a two-point conversion failed, and the Raiders could not take advantage of great field position on their next possession, a first down at the Lebanon 40-yard line.

IMG_2342The Cedars pulled to within 19-14, with 1:21 left in the third quarter, converting an eight-play, 69-yard march. Quarterback Cody Kissinger’s 40-yard completion to Jeremiah Beckley set up his own one-yard sneak.

But perhaps just as important to the Lebanon cause in the second half was crowding the defensive box to slow the Raider running game.

IMG_2238“It’s the ball game there,” said Yonchiuk. “They (the Raiders) were ahead 19-7 and things weren’t going our way. Our backs were against the wall and we had to dig deep. I believe our guys deserve this win.

“It’s the kicking game,” Yonchiuk added. “So many high school games are won and lost with extra points. Our extra points were key.”

“We’re going to find out who they are,” said Miller of his charges. “Are they going to be men of character and finish the journey? There are things we can fix.

IMG_2254“Last week, it was little things like turnovers,” added Miller. “This week was a lack of execution on plays we had. We’re going to finish much better.”

Elco took a 13-7 lead to the break courtesy of Tyler Horst’s 10-yard touchdown burst with 4:23 of the second quarter remaining. The score capped a seven-play, 66-yard possession, but the Raiders missed the extra point.

Horst’s first touchdown run of the evening was a 33-yarder, and it came with 6:44 left in the first quarter and tied the game at seven. The Cedars had scored on their opening possession of the game, after Kissinger’s 75-yard hook-up with Alex Maldonado had set the stage for his five-yard scoring strike to Jan Suarez-Torres.

IMG_2320“We could not stop them in the first half,” said Yonchiuk of the Raiders’ rushing attack. “But we rotated eight defensive linemen, and I thought they (the Raiders) got tired. At halftime we talked defensively about running an odd front. That’s all we called. When we needed to step up, we did.”

“I thought we ran the ball great in the first half,” said Miller. “We got a lot to build off. Our line is taking a step forward. In the third quarter, we started a drive in the same formation and continued pounding it. What we did was adjust to them (the Cedars) packing the box.

“We need to make sure we stay on the journey, that we play with heart and that we’re men of character,” Miller continued. “The wins will come. I have full confidence that we will start the second season (in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League) on the right foot.”

IMG_2230Elco out gained Lebanon High by a significant margin, 335 total yards to 246. Of Horst’s 185 rushing yards, 127 came in the first half.

Kissinger finished 18 of 26 for 221 yards and no interceptions.

“They’re physical. They pound the ball,” said Yonchiuk of the Raiders. “I think it hurt them when number three (Kyle Knight) got hurt. Horst runs hard and Jeff’s (Martin) got a cannon. But we just kept competing with them. They’re going to have a great run in Section Three (of the Lancaster-Lebanon League). I think they’re just as good as Northern Lebanon.”

IMG_2312“Their kids played with heart too,” said Miller of the Cedars. “They were down 19-7 and got all those big plays. They played hard for four quarters. They’re well-coached, and that’s a result of that.”

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to see more go to www.http://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/gallery-nine/.

Lebanon 20, Elco 19

Lebanon 7 0 7 6 20
Elco 7 6 6 0 19

First Quarter

L— Suarez-Torres 5 pass from Kissinger (Cortes Cruz kick)

IMG_2265E— Horst 33 run (Hackman kick)

Second Quarter

E — Horst 10 run (kick failed)

Third Quarter

E — Stoops 30 pass from Martin (pass failed)

L — Kissinger 1 run (Cortes Cruz kick)

Fourth Quarter

IMG_2263L — Caricabeur 65 punt return (pass failed)

L E
First downs 12 19
Rushes-yards 24-25 43-237
Passing 18-26-0 7-15-1
Passing yards 221 97
Total yards 246 334
Punts 3-30.7 3-33.4
Fumbles-lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties-yards 2-10 2-15
Individual statistics

Rushing — L: Hunter 13-41, Kissinger 7- (-12). E: Horst 27-185, Zimmerman 5-30, Martin 6-13, Knight 3-11,

Passing — L: Kissinger 18-30-0-220, E: Martin 7-16-1-97

Receiving — L: Suarez-Torres 4-53, Maldonado-Hernandez 3-94, Beckley 3-51, Hunter 3-7, Maldonado 3-2, Ortiz 2-13 E: Stoops 2-44, Zimmerman 2-26, Olson 2-16, Beamer 1-11.

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 2015 Lebanon High Football Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
09/04
@Cedar Crest
7:00 PM L 7-41
09/11
Northern Lebanon
7:00 PM L 27-51
09/18
@Elco
7:00 PM W 20-19
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
09/25 *
Cocalico
7:00 PM Lebanon High School
10/02 *
@Manheim Central
7:00 PM Manheim Central High School
10/09 *
Solanco
7:00 PM Lebanon High School
10/16 *
@Lancaster Catholic
7:00 PM Lancaster Catholic High School
10/23 *
@Garden Spot
7:00 PM Garden Spot High School
10/30 *
Lampeter-Strasburg
7:00 PM Lebanon High School
11/06 *
Elizabethtown
7:00 PM Lebanon High School

IMG_22252015 Elco Football Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
09/04
@Hamburg
7:00 PM L 8-30
09/11
@Palmyra
7:00 PM L 22-30
09/18
Lebanon
7:00 PM L 19-20
DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
09/25 *
Pequea Valley
7:00 PM Elco High School
10/02 *
@Annville-Cleona
7:00 PM Annville-Cleona High School
10/09 *
Donegal
7:00 PM Elco High School
10/16 *
@Northern Lebanon
7:00 PM Northern Lebanon High School
10/23 *
@Columbia
7:00 PM Columbia High School
10/30 *
Ephrata
7:00 PM Elco High School
11/06
Twin Valley
7:00 PM Elco High School

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