BY JEFF FALK
Though extremely exciting, the hows and whys weren’t really important. What mattered was that the Cedar Crest football squad persevered and overcame.
On Friday night in Landisville, the Falcons registered their initial triumph of the 2011 season, a wild, come-from-behind 56-52 win over Hempfield. CC senior signal-caller Garrett Levengood paced the attack with five touchdown passes and figured in seven of the Falcons’ eight scores.
The triumph was just the second in the last two years under head coach Tom Waranavage, who sports an overall mark of 6-21 in South Lebanon. Cedar Crest is now 1-6 on the campaign and 1-3 in Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, while the Black Knights limped to 2-5 on the year and 2-2 in the circuit.
Cedar Crest tallied the winning touchdown with less than a minute to play, on a Levengood-to-Daulton Ritter collaboration. The Falcons had trailed 45-36 in the fourth quarter, before coming up with two big plays to grab the lead.
First, Ritter returned a kickoff to swith momentum in CC’s favor. Then Levengood picked off an errant Hempfield pass and took it nearly the length of the field to give the Falcons a 49-45 edge,
As a passer, Levengood missed on only two of 20 throwing attempts and accumulated more than 300 yards through the air.
Hempfield jumped out to a 28-14 lead in a wild opening quarter. But the Falcons responded with a Levengood touchdown toss to Ritter before the break and another Levengood scoring strike, to Darrin Kline, in the third period, that knotted the score at 28.
Levengood would again find Kline later in the stanza, as Cedar Crest regained its edge, at 36-34.
Elsewhere in scholastic football on Friday evening:
Elco 10, Pequea Valley 7
In Kinzers, the Raiders picked up their second victory of the campaign, behind a strong defensive effort and a long field goal from senior Lucas Heck, captain of the Elco boys’ soccer team. Heck’s 46-yard field goal was one of the longest in Lebanon County history and got Elco on the board just before halftime.
But the decisive points was scored by Elco in the final period when sophomore Anthony Pletz found Adam Shoemaker with a touchdown toss. The play capped a long, time-consuming march down the field by the Raiders.
With the outcome, Elco improved to 2-5 overall and 1-2 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Pequea Valley is now 3-4.
Lancaster Catholic 47, Northern Lebanon 7
At Fred Gahres Stadium in Fredericksburg, the Vikings proved no match for the powerful Crusaders, in an attempt to take the next step in their development. Lancaster Catholic raced out to a 34-0 locker room cushion and most of the second half was played under a continous running clock necessitated by the mercy rule.
The triumph was Lancaster Catholic’s 23rd straight in Section Three of the L-L and pushed them to 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the circuit. Northern Lebanon, which had a four-game winning skein short-circuited, fell to 4-3 on the year and 3-1 in the section, but is still very much in the District Three Class AAA playoff picture.
The Vikings managed only 60 yards of total offense in the first half and experienced difficulties moving the football all evening.
Lancaster Catholic returned an interception on the Vikings’ initial possession and led 20-0 after eight minutes of play. Northern Lebanon’s 30 rushing attempts was well below its season average.
The Vikings scored their only touchdown on a Ryan Daub run with two minutes to play.
Next week, Northern Lebanon travels to Donegal.
Solanco 34, Lebanon 19
In Quarryville, the Cedars’ season continued to eerily mirror its 2010 campaign, much to their dismay. Lebanon moved the ball through the air, but was outscored 27-12 after tying the game at seven early on.
The loss was Lebanon’s fifth straight and left it 2-5 on the year and 0-4 in Section Two of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Last year, the Cedars opened 3-0 before dropping six consecutive section contests.
The Cedars experienced difficulties slowing the Golden Mule’s ground game, as Solanco piled up more than 400 yards of total offense.
After Solanco marched the opening kickoff for a 7-0 cushion, Lebanon tied it on a Alex Trautman touchdown strike to Alex Kuhn. But by the time halftime rolled around, the Mules were sitting on a 21-13 cushion.
Lebanon got within 28-19 on a Mark Pyles-to-Steven Padillas scoring aerial.