LEBANON – It’s already been a long hard season for the Lebanon football team. The Cedars are distressed and disappointed.
But Lebanon must keep trying, must keep improving, must keep plugging away. There simply is no alternative.
On a sticky Friday night at Lebanon Alumni Stadium, the Cedars endured their most disheartening loss of the year, a 71-8 thumping at the hands of Lancaster Catholic. The Crusaders posted 35 points in the second quarter to open a 50-8 halftime bulge and evoke the mercy rule’s continuously running clock in the second half.
Lebanon entered the season with question marks and hope. But the Cedars have just never been able to develop any type of consistency or enough positives to build upon.
With the setback, Lebanon fell to 0-8 overall and 0-3 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. The result evened Lancaster Catholic’s seasonal mark at 4-4 and moved it to 1-2 in Section Three.
“Yes, there has been improvement,” said Lebanon head coach Frank Isenberg. “We’ve had good weeks of practice. We play a lot of guys. They’re a good group of kids. I think the competition in practice is a positive.
“Coming into the season, we just expected to get better everyday,” continued Isenberg. “There are glimpses of that. The consistency and injuries have hurt us. We’re coaching them (his players) hard. They’re playing hard.”
Down 22-0 in the middle of the second quarter, the Cedars showed some life and pulled to within two scores of the Crusaders when quarterback Emanuel Mason hooked up with Julian Selman on a 29-yard touchdown pass. Mason’s two-point run made it a 14-point game.
But the touchdown would prove to be Lebanon’s longest play from scrimmage all night, and Lancaster Catholic responded with a TD of its own 2:16 later to re-extend its lead to 29-8.
The Crusaders recorded three touchdowns in a 2:19 stretch right before the break, and they led 50-8 in the locker room.
“It’s tough playing from behind, and we haven’t won a game yet,” said Isenberg. “But we’re playing hard. The effort is there. We’re getting some momentum with Emanuel Mason at quarterback. He’s getting better every day. Defensively, we’ve got new guys at new positions.”
“We ran the ball well in the first half and we got lucky on a couple of things,” said Lancaster Catholic head coach Chris Maiorino. “Obviously, it feels great because the last two weeks didn’t go well for us. It’s nice to get back into the win column.
“We came out and competed,” added Maiorino. “We’ve got to keep building on this to get better.”
The Crusaders scored on their first two drives to establish a 15-0 lead.
A mere 2:15 into the contest, Lancaster Catholic quarterback Will Cranford dashed up the middle for a 29-yard scoring burst. Then Cranford’s eight-yard TD run capped a nine-play, 52-yard Crusader march.
“I think it was a little bit of both, them playing well and us not playing well,” said Isenberg. “We’re going through some injury things right now. But tip your cap to Lancaster Catholic, they played hard.”
“We wanted to get through the first series of the second half and see where we are,” said Maiorino. “We didn’t want to take our foot off the gas. Then you’re trying to get some other guys some playing time. We know what it feels to be like on both sides of it.”
During the second half of play, Lancaster Catholic returned a Cedar fumble and an interception for touchdowns. Lebanon turned the ball over four times, and the Crusaders converted them into 28 points.
Lancaster Catholic out gained 395 total yards to 160.
Manuel gained 77 yards on the ground, with nine first-half rushing attempts.
at Cedar Crest
at Garden Spot