BY JEFF FALK
ANNVILLE – The beginning of the season has been a bit of a slippery slope for the Annville-Cleona football team. But last night the Little Dutchmen got a little better handle on things.
On a clear Thursday night at Annville-Cleona High School, the Little Dutchmen overcame some mishandles, missteps and mistakes to beat Octorara 34-7 in the Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three opener for both sides. Following an uneven first-half performance, Annville-Cleona tallied 17 unanswered points during the second 24 minutes of play to pull away.
Behind 24 carries and 113 yards from senior workhorse Trevor Porche, the Little Dutchmen racked up all 312 of their total yards on the ground. On the other side, the Annville-Cleona defense surrendered just 74 total yards to the visiting Braves.
Annville-Cleona was six days removed from a season-opening 48-16 loss to Milton Hershey, one in which it was guilty of eight turnovers – six of which were committed inside its own 30-yard line. Last night, the Little Dutchmen put the ball on the ground six times, but the difference was they recovered three of them and their defense really rose to the ocassion when called upon.
Annville-Cleona is now 1-1 in the early going, while Octorara slipped to 0-2.
“The difference tonight was there wasn’t seven Division One athletes on the field,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Matt Gingrich, referencing the Milton Hershey debacle. “They’re (the Spartans) physical. They attack. Here we could stop them (the Braves).
“I’m done with fumbles,” continued Gingrich. “I’m done with turnovers. I can live with guys putting helmets on the ball. I can live with forced errors. But we’re committing unforced errors.”