BY JEFF FALK
There’s nothing like it. There are no substitutes for it. There is absolutely, positively nothing that tops a win.
On Friday night at Earl Boltz Stadium in South Lebanon , a team in desperate need of a win, got one. The Cedar Crest football team’s offense exploded and the Falcons knocked off Hempfield 42-9 in a Lancaster-Lebanon Section One contest that also served as their homecoming.
Cedar Crest tallied touchdowns on its first five possession of the game and rolled up 540 yards of offense, 385 of which came on the ground. Junior Grant Boehler paced the Falcon attack with 130 yards on the ground and scored three rushing touchdowns before the first quarter was out.
The triumph snapped the Falcons’ five-game losing streak and left them 2-5 on the year and 1-3 in the section. Prior to the victory, Cedar Crest had lost 14 of its last 16 outings.
Hempfield’s loss was its fifth straight and dropped it to 2-5 overall and 0-4 in the section.
The Falcons needed but 1:08 of the opening-period clock to take a 7-0 lead, as Boehler did the honors from 40 yards away. The score was set up by a 45-yard hook-up between quarterback Nick Cascarino and tight-end Adam Gilson.
A two-yard burst from Boehler, with seven minutes of the first quarter remaining, put the Falcons up 14-0. And three minutes later, Boehler was celebrating the ten-yard touchdown that put his team ahead 21-0.
Boehler was joined in his assault of the Black Knight defense by teammates Chuck Yost, Evan Horn, Cascarino and Gage Ocker. Cascarino completed eight of ten throws for 150 yards.
Yost scored a touchdown on the first snap of the second quarter, as the Falcons pushed their lead to 28-0. Cedar Crest carried a 35-7 bulge to the intermission courtesy of a Cascarino-to-Gilson TD collaboration.
The Falcon defense limited Hempfield to 160 yards on the ground.
Elsewhere in scholastic football on Friday:
Columbia 18, Annville-Cleona 6
In Columbia, the Little Dutchmen’s defense served them well, but they were deserted by their offense. Annville-Cleona surrendered just 240 yards of total offense, but was plagued by missed opportunities, penalties and a lack of discipline.
After spotting Columbia a 6-0 start, the Little Dutchmen tied the game midway through the second period. A-C’s Mitch Rodkey’s 20-yard run set up teammate Quentin Hall for a one-yard plunge.
But before the half was out, the Crimson Tide regained the lead on a 20-yard scoring pass. In the third quarter, Columbia added some insurance, in the from of a short touchdown jaunt.
The Little Dutchmen attempted a season-high 22 passes and gained 170 yards through the air. Annville-Cleona collected 275 yards of total offense.
Rodkey toted the pigskin 20 times for 90 yards on the ground.
Cocalico 49, Lebanon 12
At Lebanon’s Alumni Stadium, the Cedars hung with the L-L Section Two-leading Eagles, before being outscored 42-0 in the middle of the game. At that point, Cocalico was clinging to a one-point edge.
In light of the homecomg outcome, Lebanon, now 0-7 on the fall and 0-4 in the section, is still in search of win number one.
Cocalico converted its initial possession of the evening into a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. But the Cedars responded with a 25-yard scoring hook-up between quarterback Mark Pyles and back Jeremy DeLa Cruz, to make it 7-6.
The Cedar score was set up by a faked punt on a fourth down snap.
But Cocalico led 14-6 at the completion of 12 minutes of play, and 35-6 at halftime.
Pyles finished the night by going 20-for-34 with 200 passing yards. DeLa Cruz hauled in 11 of those Pyles passes and amassed 135 yards through the air.
The Eagles ran for 420 yards and collected 450 yards of total offense.
The rest of the Cedars’ points came courtesy of a ten-yard touchdown pass between Pyles and Nicholas Negron.
Red Land 24, Palmyra 13
At New Cumberland, the undermanned Cougars continued their pattern of overachieving and playing difficult competition. But in the end Palmyra simply didn’t have enough left in its tank.
The loss made the Cougars 0-7 on the year and 0-4 in the Keystone Division of the Mid-Penn Conference. With the triumph, Red Land improved to 6-1 on the season and 3-1 in the division.
A 66-yard run by Cougar back Dino Faiola knotted the score at seven, eight minutes before halftime. But Red Land returned an interception the length of the field with seconds left in the second period to take a 14-7 advantage to the locker room.
The score stayed that way through the third stanza, and until the Patriots posted ten straight points in the fourth quarter. Palmyra notched its second touchdown on its final possession of the game, on a 16-yard strike from Mason Laudermilch to Mitchell Cooper.
The final stats were closer than the final score. Thanks to a solid defensive effort, the Cougars were only outgained 297 yards to 270.
Faiola carried 16 times for 138 yards, while Laudermilch completed 11 of his 20 throws for 96 yards.
Red Land had assumed a 7-0 lead three minutes in on a long touchdown scamper.