BY JEFF FALK
Just when it looked like things couldn’t possibly get any worse for the Cedar Crest football team, Friday night happened.
At Earl Boltz Stadium in South Lebanon, the Falcons coughed up a 22-point lead and lost to previously winless Ephrata, 48-35. Down 35-13 at halftime, the Mounts rattled off 35 unanswered points.
Ephrata entered the contest 0-8 on the season, 0-5 in Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League and riding a 15-game losing skein. The loss dropped Cedar Crest to 1-8 overall and 1-5 in the circuit.
Behind the passing combination of Garrett Levengood-to-Daulton Ritter, Cedar Crest posted 28 consecutive points to erase a 13-7 deficit. The duo connected for 150 yards passing and four touchdowns.
The Falcons’ other score came courtesy of senior Nick Bechtold. But for as bountiful as the Falcon offense was in the first half, it was more baren in the second.
On the flip side, Ephrata gained more than 500 yards of total offense. For the year, Cedar Crest has allowed an average of 43 points per game and surrendered about 400 yards per outing.
Manheim Central 31, Lebanon 18
At Elden Rettew Field in Manheim, the Cedars displayed some spunk, but after spotting the Barons a 21-0 head start. Lebanon High, which has never beaten the mighty Barons, lost for the seventh consecutive time.
The loss dropped Lebanon to 2-7 on the season and 0-6 in Section Two of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Manheim Central upped its overall mark to 7-2 and its section record to 5-1.
The Cedars took some hope to halftime, thanks to Mark Pyles’ quarterback sneak that ended the half and made it a 21-6 affair. The touchdown culminated a 20-play drive that covered 80 percent of the field.
The Barons had turned Lebanon High turnovers into a 14-0 halftime lead.
Near the end of the third quarter, the Cedars pulled to within 24-12 on a short touchdown throw from senior signal-caller Alex Trautman to Steven Padillas. Lebanon’s other score came late in the contest when sophomore Mark Pyles returned a Baron fumble for a touchdown.
Lebanon will close out its 2011 campaign on Friday at Alumni Stadium when it hosts winless Elizabethtown.
Donegal 48, Elco 14
At Elco Stadium in Myerstown, the Raiders took a step back, after two positive steps forward. As has been the case most of the way, Elco experienced difficulties slowing the opponents’ ground game.
With the setback, Elco is now 3-6 on the year and 2-3 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. In search of a postseason berth in Class AAA, Donegal improved to 5-4 overall and 4-1 in the circuit.
Midway through the second period, Elco pulled to within 7-6 on a Dylan Hickernell touchdown burst. But the Indians scored the next 34 points to pull away.
By the time halftime rolled around, the Indians were sitting on a 28-6 cushion.
Elco’s other touchdown was the result of a Nate Litschi kickoff return. But it came at a time when the Raiders were staring at a 41-6 deficit.
Lancaster Catholic 54, Annville-Cleona 14
In Annville, the Crusaders scored every time they touched the ball in the first half to open up a 40-0 halftime bulge. All six of Lancaster Catholic’s first-half scoring drives covered 52 yards or more.
The loss dropped Annville-Cleona to 1-7 on the year and 0-6 in Section Three of the L-L. Lancaster Catholic, which is moving up to Section One next season, is one of the top Class AA programs in all of the state.
Lancaster Catholic rolled up more than 400 yards of total offense in the opening half and totalled better than 600 yards for the evening.
In the second half, Annville-Cleona got a 30-yard scoring jaunt from sophomore Quentin Hall and a touchdown connection between Mitch Rodkey and Paxson Hayes.