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 LEBANON – At the beginning of every season, optimism abounds, everybody’s undefeated and everyone is a contender. Hope springs eternal.

  Annually, that is never more true than it is for the Lebanon football program.

 But there’s something different about the Cedars this season – the way they carry themselves, the way they act, the way they project. The hype feels real.

 “Our goal is to have a winning season, and we’d like to make the postseason,” said Gerry Yonchiuk, who’s in his 14th season of heading Lebanon’s program. “It’s not arrogance or confidence, it’s realistic. The goal is to win Section Three. There’s a lot of talent in our division, but we’re taking the approach ‘Why not us?’. I love the ingredients that we have. We do have high expectations, but they’re fair and realistic goals.

 “It’s taking steps, climbing the mountain,” continued Yonchiuk. “Having all these kids back, we can work on certain areas without having to teach first. Having the experience back, I expect us to take the next step as football players. We want to compete in every game we play. I’m excited about the season. I really think we’re going to have a solid year. I really like the make-up of the team.”

 The Cedars certainly have a lot to be excited about.

 A move to Section Three helped Lebanon with some depth issues it had experienced in the past, and ultimately led to a 5-5 campaign. The Cedars were more fundamentally sound and were competitive in nearly every contest, except in a season-opening loss to Cedar Crest in the Cedar Bowl.

 “What I liked about last season was that it was a solid year and a positive learning experience,” said Yonchiuk. “We saw results because we were in Section Three. We did a real nice job in Section Three. We started seven sophomores on offense, and they kept getting better. That was a positive for our program.

 “Our guys going into the 11th grade were undefeated in seventh grade,” added Yonchiuk. “Winning is their only experience. They (the seniors and juniors) mix and match together so well. It’s so important for the classes to mesh together.”

 Lebanon’s 50-man roster will be one of the largest in Section Three, and a vast majority of those players are either seniors or juniors. The Cedars return nine starters on offense and eight starters on defense.

 Experience is something that simply can’t be taught.

 “The learning curve is not as steep,” said Yonchiuk. “It’s so much fun when you understand concepts. The Cedar Bowl is the first game. It’s right out of the gate and with Week Zero, there’s only one scrimmage.

 “I think we run to the ball real well on defense,” Yonchiuk continued. “Having those front six guys back is huge. We’re not the biggest team, but we have good team speed. The experience level is enormous and the development of Isaiah (quarterback Rodriguez) is important. Just his growth from last year. He’s a talented guy. He’s so much quicker with his reads and decision making. He works at it.”

  The Cedars’ chemistry and cohesion this season will originate from leaders David Vargas, a senior inside linebacker, Andrew Bowers, a third-year, senior starter, and junior Skylar Sattizahn. They will be complemented by shifty senior running back Joseph Mejias, junior wide receiver/cornerback Alex Rufe, ultra-quick defensive lineman Hari Allen and of course, the 6-4, 200-pound Rodriguez.

  “I think he’s making progress,” said Yonchiuk of Rodriguez. “He’s very like-able. His teammates know he has talent. He’s a shy kid, but from now until his senior year I think he’ll make a great leap in the leadership area.

 “Probably right now, the area where we need the most work is special teams,” Yonchiuk added. “We have a new punter and return guys. It’s a third of the game, and you’ve got to win two of the three. Hopefully with the extra depth, we’ll be solid in the kicking game. It will be a challenge.”

 Lebanon High will open its campaign on Friday, August 23rd at Cedar Crest, in the annual renewing of the rivalry that is the Cedar Bowl. The Cedars will tangle with three other Lebanon County foes – Elco, Northern Lebanon and Annville-Cleona – along the way, more than any other team locally.

 “It is early, but we’ve been pretty consistent,” said Yonchiuk. “I don’t remember the last time we had this much consistency. It’s a positive experience and we coach our guys hard. I’m doing more complimenting than yelling. It’s building off one another and that’s contagious. It’s fun to be around.

 “With the maturity of the underclassmen, you’ve got to be able to push through those grind days,” concluded Yonchiuk. “You can’t make excuses. We need to start playing well out of the gate. We have to play well in the Cedar Bowl. We want to be ready.”


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















 2019 Lebanon High Football Schedule

Date Opponent  
Location: Cedar Crest High School
Location: Lebanon High School
Location: Pequea Valley High School
Location: Lebanon High School
Location: Lebanon High School
Location: Columbia High School
Location: Northern Lebanon High School
Location: Lebanon High School
Location: Lebanon High School
Game Details: Annville-Cleona High School, Stadium










Cedar Bowl History

2018 – Cedar Crest 42, Lebanon 19

 2017 – Cedar Crest 42, Lebanon 14

 2016 – Cedar Crest 41, Lebanon 7

 2015 – 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
2004 — 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
1985 — 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 31-15-1



















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