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IMG_6672BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – It’ll create more interest. It’ll produce more hope. It should allow for more wins.

But most importantly, it’s just the right thing to do.

The Lebanon football program belongs in Section Three. It’s where the Cedars should be.

IMG_6573Lebanon’s move from Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League to Section Three will be one of the most intriguing story lines of the upcoming scholastic season, at least locally. What will be interesting to see is how the Cedars fare against teams of similar size and ability, because how they did against squads from schools of their size has been well-documented.

Lebanon will be one of ten teams in revamped Section Three and will join Lebanon County brethren Northern Lebanon, Annville-Cleona and Elco there.

“It is where we should be right now, from a numbers standpoint,” said Lebanon head coach Gerry Yonchiuk. “Right now, that’s where we need to be. It’s where Lebanon football belongs right now.

IMG_6583“That’s the reality of it,” continued Yonchiuk. “When we take the field, we have a better chance to win. In Section One, we were going to fight and give it everything we’ve got, but it was David-versus-Goliath. When you’re playing on even terms, you’ve got a shot. Now we’ve just got to go out and play.”

Over the last two years in Section One, Lebanon High went a combined 2-18. But its overall lack of competitiveness – with of course a few exceptions – dates back decades.

“I’d like to have a winning season,” said Yonchiuk, who’s in his 13th season as the Cedars’ head coach. “That would be a reasonable goal. Like everyone in Section Three, we want to be in the hunt. We’re kind of taking the approach, ‘Why not us?’. The difference this year will be depth, it’s a place we could never match up in the past. In terms of numbers, we’re on an even playing field. I like our chances. We have a chance to compete.

“Last year, there was a great deal of development as a program,” Yonchiuk continued. “But it didn’t show up in the win column. It wasn’t enough to get us over the hump. Section One was very good last year. One-and-nine and one-and-nine is not a whole lot of fun.”

Yonchiuk currently has 35 student-athletes in training camp, a number that is similar to those at Elco, Annville-Cleona and Northern Lebanon. Lebanon will open its 2018 campaign at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 25th at home against Cedar Crest, in the 47th renewal of the Cedar Bowl, then will jump right into its new schedule.

“We’re young and starting over, but we have guys who started last year,” said Yonchiuk. “This year it’s a one-game playoff and then we’re in the league. There’s a lot riding on it (the Cedar Bowl). There’s a lot at stake.

“It (training camp) was a whole different thing because we changed sections,” added Yonchiuk. “It’s an average-sized senior group. We’re sprinkled with young players.”

If there was a negative to the Cedars’ off-season it would be the loss of senior quarterback Zakee Sailsman, who moved to Maryland with his military family. Sailsman’s place is being taken by 6-4 sophomore Isaiah Rodriguez, a skilled and promising, but unknown quantity.

IMG_6562“I didn’t know,” said Yonchiuk of Sailsman’s departure. “There was talk about it, but I didn’t know for sure. I love the kid. It’s like he was a senior last year.

“I’m proud of Isaiah,” added Yonchiuk. “He’s got great size. It’s a great weapon just to be able to see over the line. I really like his ability and understanding of the game. Offensively, it has to start with him.”

The Cedars will surround Rodriguez with a talented tailback – senior Leighton Rivera – and three quality receivers, senior Jahlil Young, senior Christian Manzolillo and sophomore Alex Rufe. Junior tri-captain Andrew Bowers is another piece to the offensive puzzle.

Along the offensive line, Lebanon is pinning its hopes on senior Gabe Calini, three-year starter, junior Jordan Torres and ‘a lot of underclassmen filling in’.

IMG_6815“I think they’re hungry to win,” said Yonchiuk of his charges. “When you win two games in two years it’s tough. They want to get that monkey off their back. Playing Lebanon County teams will be exciting.

“Our concern would be our offensive line,” added Yonchiuk. “The important part there is that there’s ten of them. Another concern is how quickly our quarterback is going to pick up the speed of the game. The first game he’s ever going to start is the Cedar Bowl. It doesn’t get any bigger than that.”

Many of the Lebanon offensive starters will also see time on the other side of the ball. On defense, the Cedars will also insert sophomore Skylar Sattizahn, junior Hari Allen and sophomore Nathan Hollinger along the front, junior David Vargas-Garcia, junior Joseph Mejias-Rios and sophomore Kayden Harbaugh at linebacker.

“I like what I see with our guys on defense,” said Yonchiuk. “We’ve got some guys who can run. We’re going to get to the football. We’re hoping defense can be a strong point for us this year.

IMG_6560“We went to team camp and that’s where it started for us,” continued Yonchiuk. “Week Zero is different. Now we have all the parts to the puzzle. I like the athleticism of our team. For the league we’re in, we’ll be average up front. You try to prepare for everything that can happen. But there are so many things in the game of football. I want to come out and play. I want to play hard. I want to play well.”

 

 

 

 

 

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To 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_66402018 Lebanon Football Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
08/24
Cedar Crest
7:00 PM Lebanon High School
08/31 *
@Elco
7:00 PM Elco High School
09/07 *
Pequea Valley
7:00 PM Lebanon High School
09/14 *
@Donegal
7:00 PM Donegal High School
09/21 *
@Lancaster Catholic
7:00 PM Lancaster Catholic High School
09/28 *
Columbia
7:00 PM Lebanon High School
10/05 *
Northern Lebanon
7:00 PM Lebanon High School
10/12 *
@Ephrata
7:00 PM Ephrata High School
10/19 *
@Octorara
7:00 PM Octorara Area High School
10/26 *
Annville-Cleona
7:00 PM Lebanon High School

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IMG_67982017 Lebanon Football Results

DATE OPPONENT TIME RESULT
09/01
@Cedar Crest
7:00 PM L 14-42
09/08
@Ephrata
7:00 PM W 28-21
09/15
@Elizabethtown
7:00 PM L 19-39
09/22 *
@Penn Manor
7:00 PM L 20-35
09/29 *
Warwick
7:00 PM L 28-62
10/06 *
Conestoga Valley
7:00 PM L 24-32
10/13 *
@Wilson West Lawn
7:00 PM L 11-46
10/20 *
@McCaskey
7:00 PM L 33-48
10/27 *
Manheim Twp.
7:00 PM L 14-61

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IMG_6709Cedar Bowl History

 2017 – Cedar Crest 42, Lebanon 14

2016 – Cedar Crest 26, Lebanon 14

IMG_66362015 – Cedar Crest 41, Lebanon 7

2014 – Cedar Crest 38, Lebanon 24

2013 – Cedar Crest 40, Lebanon 24

2012 – Cedar Crest 67, Lebanon 0

2011 – Lebanon 47, Cedar Crest 14

2010 – Lebanon 35, Cedar Crest 7

2009 – Cedar Crest 33, Lebanon 14

2008 — Lebanon 39, Cedar Crest 7
2007 — Cedar Crest 30, Lebanon 19
2006 — Lebanon 28, Cedar Crest 7
2005 — Lebanon 14, Cedar Crest 13
IMG_65652004 — Cedar Crest 34, Lebanon 7
2003 — Lebanon 29, Cedar Crest 24
2002 — Cedar Crest 14, Lebanon 7
2001 — Cedar Crest 42, Lebanon 24
2000 — Cedar Crest 39, Lebanon 6
1999 — Cedar Crest 42, Lebanon 6
1998 — Cedar Crest 63, Lebanon 21
1997 — Cedar Crest 49, Lebanon 12
1996 — Lebanon 41, Cedar Crest 6
1995 — Cedar Crest 28, Lebanon 0
1994 — Cedar Crest 28, Lebanon 0
1993 — Cedar Crest 35, Lebanon 20
1992 — Lebanon 7, Cedar Crest 0
1991 — Cedar Crest 20, Lebanon 14
1990 — Lebanon 35, Cedar Crest 31
1989 — Lebanon 13, Cedar Crest 6
1988 — Lebanon 0, Cedar Crest 0
1987 — Cedar Crest 14, Lebanon 6
1986 — Cedar Crest 14, Lebanon 0
IMG_67371985 — Cedar Crest 28, Lebanon 23
1984 — Lebanon 23, Cedar Crest 7
1983 — Cedar Crest 14, Lebanon 7
1982 — Cedar Crest 23, Lebanon 0
1981 — Lebanon 15, Cedar Crest 9
1980 — Cedar Crest 15, Lebanon 13
1979 — Cedar Crest 34, Lebanon 0
1978 — Lebanon 14, Cedar Crest 0
1977 — Cedar Crest 20, Lebanon 8
1976 — Lebanon 14, Cedar Crest 6
1975 — Cedar Crest 32, Lebanon 14
1974 — Cedar Crest 39, Lebanon 8
1973 — Lebanon 22, Cedar Crest 0
1972 — Cedar Crest 15, Lebanon 13

Note: Cedar Crest leads the all-time series 30-15-1

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IMG_6819 2018 Lebanon Football Roster
Home# Away# Name Position Class Height Weight
2 2 Young, Jahlil WR/DB Senior 5’10″ 155
3 3 Mejias Rios, Joseph WR/DB Junior 5’5″ 150
4 4 Rosario Cruz, Ken WR/DB Sophomore 5’8″ 160
5 5 Rufe, Alexander WR/DB Sophomore 5’9″ 140
6 6 Rivera, Leighton RB/LB Senior 5’10″ 190
7 7 Maldonado, Joselito QB/DB Junior 5’8″ 130
9 9 Hollinger, Nathan QB/DL Sophomore 6’2″ 180
10 10 Rodriguez, Isaiah QB Sophomore 6’4″ 200
11 11 Quinonez III, Rafael RB/LB Sophomore 5’6″ 170
12 12 Checo Mercado, Franklin WR/DB Senior 6’1″ 155
13 13 Enoch, Nasir RB/LB Sophomore 6’0″ 190
15 15 Ortolaza, Erik WR/DB Sophomore 5’11″ 155
17 17 Martinez, Christopher RB/LB Senior 5’10″ 165
18 18 Vargas-Garcia, David WR/LB Junior 6’2″ 175
20 20 Allen, Hari RB/DL Junior 5’10″ 185
22 22 Harbaugh, Kaden WR/DB Sophomore 5’10″ 160
IMG_657724 24 Mease, Tanner K Senior 6’1″ 160
25 25 Fake, Allen WR/DB Sophomore 5’8″ 140
26 26 Manzolillo, Christian WR/DB Senior 5’6″ 155
28 28 Mercado, Jonathan RB/LB Sophomore 6’0″ 180
44 44 Bowers, Andrew RB/LB Junior 5’10″ 205
50 50 Carvajal, Matthew OL/DL Sophomore 5’9″ 215
51 51 Hicklin, Tzadik OL/DL Senior 6’1″ 220
52 52 Sattizahn, Skyler OL/DL Sophomore 6’1″ 200
53 53 Beckley, Jenner OL/DL Junior 5’10″ 207
56 56 Capretti, Marco OL/DL Senior 6’1″ 190
57 57 Mustafa Leon, Yamil OL/DL Sophomore 5’11″ 170
61 61 Gonzalez, Synsier OL/DL Sophomore 5’10″ 195
64 64 Hershey, Thomas OL/DL Freshman 5’6″ 245
65 65 Calini, Gabriel OL/DL Senior 6’0″195
 72 72 Deitzler, Jaden OL/DL Sophomore 5’11″ 205
72 72 Eberhart, Camren OL/DL Sophomore 5’9″ 225
IMG_662076 76 Ruffin Montgomery, Kahiel OL/DL Sophomore 5’11″ 210
77 77 Ruffin Montgomery, Jahiel OL/DL Sophomore 5’11″ 215
78 78 Torres, Jordan OL/DL Junior 6’1″ 340
79 79 Colon Rodriguez, Raymond OL/DL Senior 6’3″ 250

 

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