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IMG_9607BY JEFF FALK

FREDERICKSBURG – It wasn’t the first of the 21st century.

It wasn’t the first under Roy Wall.

It wasn’t the first in 23 years.

It was the first of a repeat.

IMG_9512It was the first of a string.

It was the first of many.

Sure, there’s a lot of work to be done, and there exists some things that are simply of its control. But that’s the exactly the way Northern Lebanon is approaching the 2014 and 2015 scholastic football campaigns.

IMG_9540While their Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three championship last season was certainly gratifying, the Vikings are far from satisfied. It’s almost like now that Northern Lebanon has gotten a taste of  success, it craves more.

“Overall, I’m happy where we’re at,” said Wall, Northern Lebanon’s fifth-year head coach. “The kids are focused. They know no one is going to hand the section to them. But we can’t afford to look past anyone. Winning the section title, for this group, won’t be enough. We have to get into the playoffs and make some noise. We can’t go one and done.

“By our size alone, we should contend for a section championship every year,” Wall continued. “There’s no reason to go 23 years without winning one. We need to start playing like a big school. We have to play like we can beat anyone. The kids know how I do things. I’m not saying its the right way or the wrong way, but the kids have bought into it. The results are there.”

IMG_9567Last season was especially gratifying for Wall, who came to Fredericksburg from Millersburg under somewhat controversial circumstances at the beginning of this decade. But after some near-misses early in Wall’s tenure, everything came together for he and the Vikings in 2014.

From seemingly nowhere, Northern Lebanon went 9-2 and earned a home game for the first round of the District Three Class AAA playoffs.

IMG_9572“The big thing I remember about last year was being happy for our assistant coaches,” said Wall. “They’ve been with me since the start. To be successful, our players bought into it and they did what they needed to do. Winning the section was the goal from the get-go and we accomplished it.

“One newspaper picked us to finish fifth in the section,” added Wall. “We won’t sneak up on anyone this year. I told our guys, ‘Winning the section title, we did that, so it won’t be as special this year’. But we expect to get everyone’s A-game.”

Despite some significant graduations, the Vikings return a solid nucleus. And while Northern Lebanon’s biggest loss was that of quarterback Isaac Ray, Section Three’s most valuable player, his replacement, athletic senior Isaac Wengert, is more than capable.

IMG_9627To say Northern Lebanon’s success will hinge on Wengert’s development would be a bit of an overstatement. Besides, the Vikings are a unit built upon their running game and their ability to play defense.

“He’s got five really good linemen in front of him,” said Wall of Wengert. “It’s not the worst situation to be in. We’re nowhere near where we were three years ago when we were playing sophomores. I’m getting to be an old-school coach. I didn’t know you were allowed to throw more than ten passes in a game.

“He played there last year,” continued Wall. “He got some varsity playing time. He led the team to scores. We have a lot of confidence in him. Isaac is the man. He’s got that gunslinger mentality I look for in a quarterback.”

IMG_9543The men up front who will pave the way for the new Isaac’s transition are George Thompson, Matt Vines, Josiah Kerstetter, Dustin Motter, Hunter Wallace and Ethan Beard. And what those guys can do for Wengert’s comfort they can also do for opposing quarterbacks’ discomfort.

“We have some guys who have been around, all along the line,” said Wall. “And they’ve seen a lot of different defenses. And we like our backfield. They’re all capable ball carriers. Our numbers are up, and we’d like to have a little more depth.

“We’re a team,” added Wall. “There’s no individuals. It’s all about the team. Our kids don’t care about stats. The star of our team is the defense. Seven of our interior eight are back. It’s sort of a no-name team.”

IMG_9504Primary runner Noah Smith averaged 8.9 yards per tote in 2014, and he’ll be complemented nicely by Luke Funck and Dylan Weaver, a transfer from Central Dauphin. Split-end Corey Teasdale knows what to do with the ball after he catches it.

“We want to get better offensively and defensively,” said Wall. “To me, stats are irrelevant. The only stats I care about are points-for, points-against and turnovers. We felt going into this season that our strength was our defense. We have linemen with attitude, and four starters (along the offensive line) coming back.

“We’re healthy,” Wall continued. “We know what we’re doing. We’re a veteran team. Now we’re doing a lot of refining. Little details. Those types of things. We’re not happy getting to the playoffs.”

IMG_9521The Vikings will open their 2015 quest on Friday, September 4 in the form of a home date with Pine Grove. Northern Lebanon will play three Lebanon County brethren during its schedule, a Week Two test at Lebanon Alumni Stadium and two key home contests against Section Three foes Elco and Annville-Cleona, on October 16 and October 23rd.

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com, or to see more go to www.http://lebanonsportsbuzz.com/gallery-nine/.

 

2015 Northern Lebanon Roster 

 

Seniors HT WT # Off Pos Def Pos
Ethan Beard 6’4″ 210 64/85 OL DL
Izzy Benthami 5’11” 165 30 SE DB
Ravel Caravallo 6’3″ 225 88 TE DL
Brad Evans 6’2″ 210 75 OL DL
David  Gerth 5’6″ 140 32 SE DB
Dylan  Gross 5’10” 150 33 SE DB
Colton Herb 6’4″ 190 19 SE DB
Josiah Kerstetter 6’0″ 200 77 OL DL
Tyler Mengel 5’6″ 150 40 RB LB
Ryan Miller 6’1″ 230 56 OL DL
Dustin Motter 5″11′ 202 62 OL DL
Corey Teasdale 5″11′ 155 84 SE DB
George Thompson 6’3″ 301 74 OL DL
Isaac Wengert 6’0″ 170 12 QB DB
Matthew Vines 6’0″ 220 53 OL DL
Juniors
Mansur Alexander 5’8″ 130 42 SE DB
Nick Benfer 6’1 195 55 OL DL
Jason Boyer 5’9″ 240 72 OL DL
Dawson Else 5″11′ 167 10 QB DB
 Caleb Fischer 5″11′ 160 26 SE DB
 Luke Funck 6’0″ 200 7 RB LB
Brandon Gibble 5’9″ 191 78 OL LB
Gavin Rich 5″11′ 160 51 OL DL
Smith, Noah 5’10” 169 21 RB DB
Will Thompson 6’3″ 180 14 SE DB
Hunter Wallace 6’0″ 205 66 OL DL
Dylan Weaver 5’11” 175 16 RB LB
Sophomore
Blaise Bressler 5″11′ 170 35 RB LB
MICHIGAN Daub 6’0″ 185 2 QB DB
ISIAH Davila 5’6″ 160 29 RB LB
STEVIE Herb 5’8″ 155 5 RB LB
Anthony Kraus 5’11” 190 79 OL DL
Brendan Madeira 5’9″ 185 59 OL DL
Cole Messimer 6’1″ 202 73 OL DL
Spencer Mullins 6’0″ 160 70 OL DL
LUIS Negreiros 5’8″ 170 25 RB LB
Tommy Schwartz 6’0″ 175 67 OL DL
Christian Trader 5″11′ 140 22 SE DB
James  Young 5’9″ 140 18 SE DB
l
Coaching Staff
Roy Wall
Kris Miller
Phil Williams
Rusty Wallace
Logan Trout
Darrin Dietrich
Cody Weidner

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2015 Northern Lebanon Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
09/04
Pine Grove
7:00 PM Northern Lebanon High School
09/11
@Lebanon
7:00 PM Lebanon High School
09/18
@Hamburg
7:00 PM Hamburg High School
09/25 *
Ephrata
7:00 PM Northern Lebanon High School
10/02 *
@Pequea Valley
7:00 PM Pequea Valley High School
10/09
Williams Valley
7:00 PM Northern Lebanon High School
10/16 *
Elco
7:00 PM Northern Lebanon High School
10/23 *
Annville-Cleona
7:00 PM Northern Lebanon High School
10/30 *
@Donegal
7:00 PM Donegal High School
11/06 *
@Columbia
7:00 PM Columbia High School

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