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BY JEFF FALK

FREDERICKSBURG – All goals require faith, and a degree of hope.

But right now, the Lebanon football team’s goals are right in front of it. So close, the Cedars can see them, smell them, reach out and touch them.

On a nippy Friday night at Fred Gahres Stadium, Lebanon’s goals became a little more real, with a 41-12 dismantling of Northern Lebanon. The hometown Vikings tallied the first and last touchdowns of the evening, and in between, it was all Cedars.

Lebanon held the Vikings to negative three yards rushing and out gained them 436 total yards to 232. Four different Cedars found their way into the end zone, including Nate Portes and Alex Rufe, who tallied a pair of touchdowns apiece.

The victory, combined with Elco’s 31-20 upset triumph at Donegal, created a three-way tie for first place in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, involving Lebanon, the Indians and Lancaster Catholic. The result also solidified now 5-2, 5-1 Lebanon’s tenth-place standing in the District Three Class AAAAAA power rankings.

Northern Lebanon, which was coming off its initial win of the season, fell to 1-6 overall and 1-5 in Section Three.

“I just heard Donegal got beat,” said Lebanon head coach Gerry Yonchiuk. “It got them (his players) excited. It’s a reality that they can play for a section championship. Now it’s a three-way tie for first place. But we’ve got some things to clean up as well.

“We wanted to win the Cedar Bowl (the season opener against Cedar Crest),” continued Yonchiuk. “But we couldn’t let it define our whole season. Then we went right into our section season. I thought the Elco game (a last-second win) was a huge confidence builder. I thought we’d be good defensively. They’ve done a nice job, and we keep improving.”

“Tonight was a step back,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Roy Wall. “Last week was a step forward because it was a win. We just have to play a full game. That’s been our thing all year.”

Lebanon took its first lead of the game at 8-6 in the middle of the opening quarter, on a two-yard Portes run that capped a 13-play, 77-yard possession. The Cedars extended that cushion to 14-6, 3:44 into the second stanza, with a short Rafael Quinonez TD run that completed another long march.

But the one that really gave Lebanon High some breathing room was Rufe’s 39-yard touchdown toss to Lamont Leibold, off a double reverse. That made it 20-6 Cedars, 5:30 before the break.

“It was big,” said Yonchiuk of the Cedars’ ability to control the line of scrimmage. “We need to be able to run the football. I thought we settled down and executed in the second half. Our defense did a heck of a job. I’m just proud of these guys.

“We’re happy with the way we played,” added Yonchiuk. “Winning’s a hard thing. I love our team speed, and I think you saw that tonight. There was no panic. We just took the approach, ‘Let’s get it done.’ The expectation in their (his players’) mind is that we’re going to win. Winning a couple of those close games earlier was important.”

“We had moments,” said Wall. “We made some plays. But in crucial situations, we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities. They (the Cedars) took it to us in the second half.”

Lebanon scored three touchdowns in a seven-minute span of the third quarter to bring the mercy rule into play. The initial one was a 69-yard connection between quarterback Isaiah Rodriguez and Rufe, 4:29 into the second half.

The Cedars increased their lead to 34-6 when Rodriguez found Kaden Harbaugh with a 15-yard touchdown strike. Then with 27 seconds left in the third, Portes turned a short Viking punt into a 15-yard scoring scamper.

“Portes is a real quick kid. He’s explosive and strong,” said Yonchiuk. “An arm tackle won’t bring him down. We’re a little banged up at running back and Nate can really run. He scoots and he’s got good vision.

“They’re (the Vikings) a gritty group,” Yonchiuk added. “They don’t quit. They play hard. They battled and competed. Their quarterback (Ethan Borcky) is good and they have a good group of wide receivers.”

“We always say that the hardest win to get is the first one,” said Wall. “But losing Chase Bressler in the second quarter of the Pequea Valley game hurt. He’s pretty much the heart and soul of our team. It’s a big loss to overcome.

“They’re (the Cedars) talented,” added Wall. “Their quarterback has his eyes down the field all the time. He makes plays down the field.”

The Vikings struck first, 52 seconds into the contest, to assume a 6-0 lead. Borcky hit Nate Leedy-Reidel with a 92-yard strike down the left sideline.

Northern Lebanon completed the scoring with 1:27 to go, when Borcky ran one in from five yards away.

“The coverage got confused,” said Yonchiuk of the Vikings’ opening score. “The cornerback thought he had help over the top. That kid (Leedy-Reidel) just out ran him. I think it helped our kids realize that nothing was going to be given to them.

“It’s too early to start thinking about that (district power rankings),” Yonchiuk added. “Where we’re sitting right now, it doesn’t matter. We’re just going to keep fighting one week at a time. We’ll see where we are after Week Ten.”

“Momentum carried us through the first quarter,” said Wall. “I thought we played one of our better first halves, against a quality opponent. In the second half, we didn’t get it done.

“We want to compete every game,” concluded Wall. “Our goal is to win every game. We’re looking at three of the top teams in the section over our last three games. We have our work cut out for us. But we’ve got to keep playing.”

Portes rushed 23 times for 147 yards, while Rufe caught four balls for 100 receiving yards. Rodriguez finished nine-for-15 for 185 passing yards.

Borcky completed 12 of 25 pass attempts for 215 yards.

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

2019 Lebanon Football Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
8/23
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest
6
28
8/30
7:00 pm
Elco
at Lebanon
9
14
9/06
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Pequea Valley
45
0
9/13
7:00 pm
Donegal
at Lebanon
35
24
9/20
7:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Lebanon
22
30
9/27
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Columbia
42
36
10/04
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon
10/11
7:00 pm
Ephrata
at Lebanon
10/18
7:00 pm
Octorara
at Lebanon
10/25
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona

2019 Northern Lebanon Football Results

DateOpponentsOutcomes
8/23
7:00 pm
Pine Grove
at Northern Lebanon
50
8
8/30
7:00 pm
Ephrata
at Northern Lebanon
57
18
9/06
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Octorara
0
35
9/13
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Northern Lebanon
49
20
9/20
7:00 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon
37
7
9/27
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Pequea Valley
36
14
10/04
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon
10/11
7:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Northern Lebanon
10/18
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Columbia
10/25
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Donegal

PIAA District Three

Class AAAAAA Power Rankings

AAAAAASchool W L T Rating TWP OWP TWPW OWPW TWPL OWPL
1Manheim Township6-0-0 0.827588 1.000000 0.616861 7.4 37.0 0.0 23.0
2Wilson5-1-0 0.801878 0.889706 0.694534 6.1 43.2 0.8 19.0
3Harrisburg4-1-0 0.765966 0.867257 0.642166 4.9 33.2 0.8 18.5
4Cedar Crest5-1-0 0.746508 0.876812 0.587248 6.1 35.0 0.9 24.6
5Central Dauphin4-2-0 0.737700 0.761905 0.708117 4.8 41.0 1.5 16.9
6Central York5-1-0 0.730836 0.886364 0.540747 5.9 31.9 0.8 27.1
7Chambersburg Area4-2-0 0.679760 0.758065 0.584055 4.7 33.7 1.5 24.0
8Red Lion4-2-0 0.671648 0.750000 0.575885 4.8 34.2 1.6 25.2
9Reading4-1-0 0.603793 0.841121 0.313725 4.5 16.0 0.9 35.0
10Lebanon4-2-0 0.594964 0.685185 0.484694 3.7 28.5 1.7 30.3
11HEMPFIELD2-4-0 0.561448 0.418182 0.736551 2.3 46.6 3.2 16.7
12Cumberland Valley2-4-0 0.549952 0.433962 0.691716 2.3 40.5 3.0 18.1
13Carlisle2-4-0 0.544805 0.428571 0.686869 2.4 40.8 3.2 18.6
14Penn Manor2-4-0 0.531095 0.428571 0.656402 2.4 40.5 3.2 21.2
15Central Dauphin East2-4-0 0.527591 0.436364 0.639091 2.4 35.2 3.1 19.9
16Dallastown1-5-0 0.439589 0.235849 0.688604 1.3 42.9 4.1 19.4
17J P McCaskey0-6-0 0.353496 0.000000 0.785546 0.0 50.0 4.7 13.7
18York County School of Technology0-6-0 0.185862 0.000000 0.413027 0.0 27.0 6.3 38.3

Lancaster-Lebanon League

Section Three Standings

LeagueOverall
WLPCTWLPCTPSPA
Lancaster Catholic5183.336185.71231132
Lebanon5183.335271.43202142
Donegal5183.335271.43205126
Elco4266.674357.14145116
Annville-Cleona3260.003350.00219207
Ephrata3350.003442.86232229
Octorara2433.332528.57131130
Columbia1516.672528.57219279
Northern Lebanon1516.671614.29101283
Pequea Valley050.00060.0040279

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