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BY JEFF FALK

ANNVILLE – When the Raiders peered into the opposing Little Dutchmen’s eyes they couldn’t help but see their reflection and wonder ‘if they’re thinking what we’re thinking’ – what if?

Amid the pouring rain that engulfed Annville-Cleona High School on Friday night, Elco defeated Annville-Cleona 23-13, in a match-up of two Lebanon County football teams who might not have lived up to some expectations. Gaining yardage in small and deliberate chunks, the Raider offense effectively milked the clock, kept the ball away from the A-C offense and produced three short touchdown runs by senior quarterback Cole Thomas.

Elco never trailed after scoring touchdowns on its first two possessions of the game. The Raiders were also opportunistic, creating ten points out of Annville-Cleona fumbles, and the Elco defense shut down and shut out the Little Dutchmen in the second half of play.

The Raiders are now 4-5 overall and 3-2 in Section Four of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, with one non-league game remaining. With the outcome, Annville-Cleona slipped to 3-6 on the year, 2-3 in the circuit and will concluded its season next Friday.

“You guys always look at records to determine success,” said Elco head coach Bob Miller. “I’ll tell you after next week if our season was a success. As of right now, I think the uphill climb that our season has been has made it successful.”

“As of right now, I’m upset about three clunkers we had this season,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Matt Gingrich. “But we might not have any more wins. Besides those three games, I’m very proud of the way we’ve played. We’ve had a lot of conflict and issues, but the kids have really hung on to the rope and fought. In six of our games, we played as hard as we can.”

Protecting a 14-13 second-stanza edge, Elco drove 70 yards in 14 plays and seven minutes to get Thomas’ two-yard touchdown run that stretched its lead to seven points, 36 seconds before the intermission. The only score by either side in the second half was Raider Rheece Shuey’s 37-yard field goal, with 10:14 remaining that made it a 23-13 game.

“Last week, Luke Williams ran the ball 45 times,” said Miller. “The goal in the triple option is run the ball and make decisions right before the (line)backer reacts. Cole did a great job of making great reads tonight.”

“Dennis Green said it best, ‘They are who we thought they would be’,” said Gingrich of the Raiders. “Only they switched their defense around like we’ve never seen before. Offensively, they have two horses and they rode those two horses. I thought we did a great job on defense with our assignments. I thought we did a great job of playing physical with them.”

The Raiders raced out to an early 14-0 lead by scoring touchdowns on their initial two possessions.

Exactly 7:28 into the contest, a solid kickoff return set up an 11-run, 45-yard march and a one-yard TD run by Thomas. Courtesy of a Little Dutchmen fumble, Elco scored three minutes later, on Thomas’ three-yard run.

“The conditions didn’t change our game plan,” said Miller. “I thought we were able to take care of the ball fairly well. It was a ton of fun playing in the rain. It was an opportunity for our guys to create a great memory in this weather.”

“I don’t know that the conditions affected the outcome,” said Gingrich. “It affected our game plan and what we were hoping to do with our offense. We wanted to get our athletes against their younger defensive backs. We ran 30 plays on offense, so it wasn’t like we got a bunch of opportunities.”

Annville-Cleona posted a pair of second-quarter touchdowns to pull to within a point of the lead. Both resulted from the speed of senior back Rogan Harter, who scored on off-tackle touchdown runs of 19 and 67 yards.

“Our offenses are very similar,” said Miller. “They (the Little Dutchmen) might do a little more than we do with backs on the edge. They’ve got really good speed. They made a lot of nice plays with their offense. We have a little more size to play with.”

“We run the same offense,” said Gingrich of Elco. “But we do not run it the same way. We do a lot of trying to get the ball to athletes in space. We’re more of a speed offense. They’re (the Raiders) kind of a sledge hammer and they pound things. It’s the same offense, just different philosophies.”

With Thomas and Williams leading the way, the Raiders ran twice as many offensive plays as the Little Dutchmen and out gained them 245 total yards to 196. In addition to his three short touchdown bursts, Thomas piled up 144 rushing yards on 30 attempts.

Harter carried nine times for 119 yards on the ground.

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

2021 Elco Football Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
9/02
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Fleetwood
14
38
Nonleague
9/10
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Littlestown
43
20
Nonleague
9/17
7:00 pm
Donegal
at Annville-Cleona
54
27
Nonleague
9/24
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Catholic
14
49
Nonleague
10/01
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
41
0
League
10/08
7:00 pm
Pequea Valley
at Annville-Cleona
21
55
League
10/15
7:00 pm
Columbia
at Annville-Cleona
62
48
League
10/22
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Octorara
7
53
League
10/29
7:00 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona

League
11/05
7:00 pm
Schuylkill Valley
at Annville-Cleona

Nonleague

PIAA District Three

Class AAAA Power Rankings

AAAASchool W L T Rating TWP OWP TWPW OWPW TWPL OWPL
1Berks Catholic6-2-0 0.720927 0.802469 0.621265 6.50 44.70 1.60 27.25
2Bishop McDevitt (3)7-1-0 0.717331 0.912791 0.478437 7.85 35.50 0.75 38.70
3Lampeter Strasburg8-1-0 0.716128 0.910995 0.477958 8.70 41.20 0.85 45.00
4Cocalico6-3-0 0.699926 0.732240 0.660431 6.70 58.25 2.45 29.95
5Conrad Weiser7-2-0 0.673429 0.805405 0.512125 7.45 44.35 1.80 42.25
6Northern York6-2-0 0.669773 0.787500 0.525884 6.30 41.65 1.70 37.55
7Kennard Dale8-1-0 0.663135 0.902564 0.370499 8.80 31.90 0.95 54.20
8Big Spring7-2-0 0.655074 0.761006 0.525601 6.05 42.60 1.90 38.45
9Donegal6-2-0 0.638897 0.775000 0.472549 6.20 36.15 1.80 40.35
10Octorara7-2-0 0.604121 0.788360 0.378941 7.45 31.85 2.00 52.20
11East Pennsboro4-5-0 0.512400 0.480000 0.552000 4.20 48.30 4.55 39.20
12Susquehannock5-4-0 0.501300 0.577143 0.408602 5.05 36.10 3.70 52.25
13Greencastle Antrim4-6-0 0.494529 0.422222 0.582903 3.80 50.80 5.20 36.35
14Eastern Lebanon County3-5-0 0.457224 0.370130 0.563672 2.85 43.60 4.85 33.75
15Garden Spot3-5-0 0.457127 0.406667 0.518802 3.05 40.70 4.45 37.75
16Milton Hershey3-6-0 0.431974 0.387283 0.486597 3.35 41.75 5.30 44.05
17Eastern York2-7-0 0.364120 0.225989 0.532948 2.00 46.10 6.85 40.40
18Kutztown2-7-0 0.350997 0.201117 0.534183 1.80 46.10 7.15 40.20
19James Buchanan1-6-0 0.293621 0.104895 0.524287 0.75 34.00 6.40 30.85
20West York0-9-0 0.263396 0.000000 0.585324 0.00 51.45 7.95 36.45

2021 Annville-Cleona Football Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
9/02
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Fleetwood
14
38
Nonleague
9/10
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Littlestown
43
20
Nonleague
9/17
7:00 pm
Donegal
at Annville-Cleona
54
27
Nonleague
9/24
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lancaster Catholic
14
49
Nonleague
10/01
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
41
0
League
10/08
7:00 pm
Pequea Valley
at Annville-Cleona
21
55
League
10/15
7:00 pm
Columbia
at Annville-Cleona
62
48
League
10/22
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Octorara
7
53
League
10/29
7:00 pm
Elco
at Annville-Cleona

League
11/05
7:00 pm
Schuylkill Valley
at Annville-Cleona

Nonleague

PIAA District Three

Class AAA Power Rankings

AAASchool W L T Rating TWP OWP TWPW OWPW TWPL OWPL
1Wyomissing9-0-0 0.815160 1.000000 0.589245 9.55 51.50 0.00 35.90
2Boiling Springs8-1-0 0.699813 0.898204 0.457336 7.50 37.25 0.85 44.20
3Hamburg5-3-0 0.564045 0.625000 0.489545 4.75 39.80 2.85 41.50
4West Perry4-5-0 0.524232 0.473988 0.585642 4.10 51.80 4.55 36.65
5Middletown4-4-0 0.492346 0.447368 0.547320 3.40 41.35 4.20 34.20
6Lancaster Catholic4-5-0 0.489181 0.429379 0.562273 3.80 46.50 5.05 36.20
7Bermudian Springs4-5-0 0.451949 0.430769 0.477835 4.20 41.50 5.55 45.35
8Northern Lebanon4-5-0 0.439932 0.455026 0.421483 4.30 36.10 5.15 49.55
9Annville-Cleona3-5-0 0.432984 0.365385 0.515605 2.85 39.65 4.95 37.25
10Schuylkill Valley2-7-0 0.411433 0.251429 0.606995 2.20 51.20 6.55 33.15
11Hanover (3)3-5-0 0.403842 0.362069 0.454897 3.15 35.30 5.55 42.30
12Littlestown2-6-0 0.357603 0.252874 0.485605 2.20 37.95 6.50 40.20
13Susquehanna Township0-9-0 0.307053 0.000000 0.682340 0.00 62.40 8.05 29.05
14Pequea Valley1-7-0 0.251939 0.097403 0.440816 0.75 32.40 6.95 41.10
15Biglerville0-8-0 0.218190 0.000000 0.484867 0.00 39.25 8.60 41.70

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