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IMG_4869BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – The Lebanon football team has certainly benefited from its move to Section Three, on the scoreboard and in the win column. But to suggest that the Cedars’ improvement is solely the result of that would discredit the efforts of a group of hard-working young men.

On a warm Friday night at Lebanon Alumni Stadium, the Cedars’ metamorphosis continued during a 56-18 thrashing of once-proud Northern Lebanon. Using its speed to establish the edge, Lebanon racked up five unanswered touchdowns during a span that stretched from the middle of the first period to early in the fourth quarter, to open a commanding 42-6 lead.

Six different Cedars tallied touchdowns, including Jahlil Young and Joseph Mejias-Rios, who each scored over land and in the air. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s emerging sophomore quarterback, Isaiah Rodriguez, connected on three scoring strikes.

IMG_4903By some accounts, the outing was Lebanon’s third straight strong one. The Cedars, who went 2-8 a year ago while competing in Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, improved to 3-4 overall and 3-3 in Section Three.

For Northern Lebanon, the two-time defending Section Three champions, the setback left it 1-6 on the fall and 1-5 in the circuit.

“We’re going against Section Three teams, but we were going up against Section One,” said Lebanon head coach Gerry Yonchiuk. “The pendulum has swung. We took our lumps in Section One. This group is very young. They’re absorbing it. They’re taking it all in. They’re doing what we ask of them.

“We’ve improved leaps and bounds,” continued Yonchiuk. “These younger guys are starting to play with a physicality they didn’t have early in the season. They’re playing with confidence.”

“We got beat,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Roy Wall, during an abbreviated post-game encounter with the media. “What do you want me to say? I’m done.”

IMG_4994Lebanon High punched in touchdowns during its first four possessions and carried a 35-6 bulge to intermission.

Protecting a 7-6 edge, the Cedars used a blocked punt to register a pair of TDs in a 1:57 span late in the opening stanza. Alexander Rufe caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Rodriguez, before teammate Christian Manzolilo ran one in from the same distance.

The Cedars’ two second-quarter scores came courtesy of Leighton Rivera’s 35-yard touchdown reception from Rodriguez and Mejias-Rios’ 21-yard touchdown scamper.

Then on the initial snap of the final period, Young caught a 19-yard Rodriguez pass for the touchdown that made it 42-6.

“I think our speed is a big difference,” said Yonchiuk. “We have some speed. We really get after it, especially on defense. Across the board, we have good speed. We can get outside on some teams.

“We worked really hard lately,” Yonchiuk continued. “We start seven sophomores, but they’re improving. They keep getting better every week. We have weapons we can score with. They’re a handful.”

“Congratulations to Lebanon,” said Wall. “They played hard.”

Before the Cedars took over the game, it appeared the two sides might be on course to trade punches.

Lebanon used a short punt and a good return to put itself in position to grab a 7-0 lead. Young got inside the right pylon from 14 yards away, 2:45 into the contest.

IMG_5010The Vikings answered with a ten-play, 69-yard march that combined the run and the pass. It was 7-6, with 5:07 of the first quarter remaining, thanks to Ethan Herb’s one-yard blast.

“I think it’s a lot of confidence,” said Yonchiuk. “Now they’re (his players) hoping to win, instead of hoping not to lose. And they’re starting to believe in each other.

“We would show signs of doing that in the past,” added Yonchiuk. “We just weren’t deep. It keeps us fresher. That’s been a real positive for us.”

The two sides combined for 33 points during a wild ten-minute stretch of the fourth quarter.

IMG_4913“We got what we expected from them,” said Yonchiuk of the Vikings. “They’re tough kids. Where we over matched them was with our speed. But they’re physical and clean. They’re rebuilding. Last year’s team was phenomenal. Sometimes you’ve got to start over.”

Lebanon out gained Northern Lebanon 439 total yards to 263.

Mejias-Rios toted ‘the rock’ eight times for 122 yards, while Manzolilo carried 12 times for 83 yards. In all, the Cedars piled up 276 rushing yards.

Rodriguez finished 10-for-17 for 163 passing yards.

“We didn’t play well last week (against Columbia), but we had been playing well,” said Yonchiuk. “I wish you would’ve seen the Lancaster Catholic game. It was one that slipped through our fingers. They (his players) showed a lot of promise. Now it’s a drive for five (wins). We’re getting better.”

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4859To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to view more go to https://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/photo-gallery/.

 

 

 

 

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 IMG_4985Lancaster-Lebanon League

  Section Three Standings

League Overall
  W L PCT W L PCT PS PA
Lancaster Catholic 6 0 100.00 7 0 100.00 253 61
Elco 5 1 83.33 6 1 85.71 127 133
Annville-Cleona 5 1 83.33 5 2 71.43 279 166
Donegal 4 2 66.67 4 3 57.14 232 167
Lebanon 3 3 50.00 3 4 42.86 187 160
Ephrata 3 3 50.00 3 4 42.86 187 220
Octorara 2 4 33.33 2 5 28.57 116 163
Columbia 1 5 16.67 1 6 14.29 99 252
Northern Lebanon 1 5 16.67 1 6 14.29 100 281
Pequea Valley 0 6 0.00 0 7 0.00 75 250

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IMG_49492018 Northern Lebanon Football Results

Date Opponents Outcomes
8/24
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Pine Grove
14
50
9/01
12:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Ephrata
14
61
9/07
7:00 pm
Octorara
at Northern Lebanon
27
7
9/14
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona
13
62
9/21
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Elco
14
19
9/28
7:00 pm
Pequea Valley
at Northern Lebanon
6
20
10/05
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon
18
56
10/12
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lancaster Catholic
10/19
7:00 pm
Columbia
at Northern Lebanon
10/26
7:00 pm
Donegal
at Northern Lebanon

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IMG_49442018 Lebanon High Football Results

Date Opponents Outcomes
8/24
7:00 pm
Cedar Crest
at Lebanon
42
19
9/01
6:00 pm
Lebanon
at Elco
6
7
9/07
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Pequea Valley
58
26
9/14
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Donegal
12
34
9/21
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Lancaster Catholic
21
27
9/28
7:00 pm
Columbia
at Lebanon
6
15
10/05
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon
18
56
10/12
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Ephrata
10/19
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Octorara
10/26
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Lebanon

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