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Lebanon football 017BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – ‘Play the next play’.

It’s not a approach, it’s a mentality.

One that requires a short memory.

Lebanon football 027One that demands an unwavering will to go on, no matter what the current circumstances are.

One that takes a certain inner strength not found many places outside of athletics.

On a tepid Friday night at Lebanon Alumni, the Lebanon football team never permitted the scoreboard or other external factors to interfere with its focus, during a 62-28 Lancaster-Lebanon Section One home loss to Warwick. Though the they fell into 28-0 and 48-7 holes, the Cedars never quit and always continued to play the next play.

The setback dropped Lebanon to 1-4 on the season and 0-2 in the circuit. But last night represented the first time this year the Cedars weren’t competitive on the scoreboard – thanks in part to turnovers, penalties and big plays by the visitors from Lititz.

With the win, Warwick upped its overall record to 3-2 and evened its section record to 1-1.

Lebanon football 037“That’s what you saw in the second half,” said Lebanon head coach Gerry Yonchiuk, of play-the-next-play. “In the first half it was, ‘Oh my.’ ‘What happened?’ ‘Why us?’. But you’ve got to continue to play. You have to have confidence. You have to go on. You have to have good body language.”

Realistically, the outcome was probably decided at halftime, with Warwick ahead 48-7. The Warriors scored a total of nine touchdowns, in a variety of ways, but only a portion of them could be put on the Lebanon defense.

The majority of the second half was played under a continuously running clock brought on by the mercy rule.

The Cedars coughed up a fumble on the second snap of the evening, and the Warriors led 7-0 four snaps later, on a four-yard Nick Fucci touchdown run.

Early in the second quarter, Warwick sandwiched a 37-yard Fucci scoring scamper and a 13-yard Adam Ricketts-to-Carter Fortney touchdown toss around another Lebanon fumble, to make it 21-0. It took just 14 seconds.

“The whole first half, honestly it was error after error after error,” said Yonchiuk. “You can only get so far behind. It snow-balled right out of the chute. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen anything like it. It was putting the ball on the ground. And of course, they’re (the Warriors) going to capitalize.

“We just didn’t play really good football in the first half,” continued Yonchiuk. “We played well in the second half. The first half, we’re better than that. I’m not sure how it even happened.”

Lebanon’s intestinal fortitude paid off with 3:46 left in the second quarter when quarterback Zakee Sailsman connected with receiver Luis Aquino-Rios on a 48-yard touchdown bomb. That pulled the Cedars to within 28-7 of the lead, but Warwick scored two touchdowns in the final 1:01 of the half – a two-yard touchdown plunge from Fucci and a 39-yard punt return by Fucci.

Lebanon football 022And when Fucci scored again, from seven yards away, on the second snap of the second half, the Warriors had their 41-point lead. For Fucci, it was his fifth TD of the evening.

“You saw what we’re capable of in the second half,” said Yonchiuk. “I don’t think they’re (the Warriors) any better than us. They’re smarter than us. They took advantage of their opportunities.

“When you have the mercy rule, you can’t play a certain way,” Yonchiuk added. “I would’ve liked to get more guys in. If you’re going to win a game in Section One, you’ve got to play all four quarters. We have to keep competing.”

Despite what the scoreboard said, the Cedars did keep coming.

Lebanon football 033Sailsman hit Aquino-Rios with a one-yard scoring strike to get Lebanon to within 48-14. The third-quarter march featured a 50-yard run from Leighton Rivera.

“We felt we had a great opportunity,” said Yonchiuk. “We’ve got to look at ourselves. In the second half, when we relaxed, they (his players) played very well.

“I thought defensively, we played OK,” Yonchiuk continued. “When you turn it over four times inside the 20, you don’t get a clean shot. The first score they (the Warriors) got came on a 20-yard field. Then it was turnover after turnover. We do really work hard on not fumbling.”

Lebanon football 052Sailsman also threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to James Apple, with 2:13 left in the third quarter, to make it a 48-21 game. That score was set up by a 55-yard connection between Sailsman and Jeremiah Beckley.

Lebanon’s final touchdown came courtesy of a Josh Kauffman three-yard rush.

“We were in it in the fourth quarter the last two games,” said Yonchiuk. “Our kids work their butts off. It’s just frustrating how we can put the ball on the ground.”

Sailsman completed 15 of his 27 throws for 210 yards. Aquino-Rios caught six of those balls for 101 yards.



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




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Lebanon football 048 2017 Lebanon Football Schedule


Date Teams Score
7:00 pm
at Cedar Crest
7:00 pm
at Lebanon
7:00 pm
at Lebanon
7:00 pm
at Penn Manor
7:00 pm
at Lebanon
7:00 pm
Conestoga Valley
at Lebanon
7:00 pm
at Wilson
7:00 pm
at McCaskey
7:00 pm
Manheim Township
at Lebanon
7:00 pm
at Hempfield
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