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BY JEFF FALK

ANNVILLE – Wins are both goals and accelerants.

Wins are true and consistent and loyal. No only can you count wins, you can also count on wins.

In uncertain times, wins take on a little extra meaning.

On a seasonal Friday night at Annville-Cleona High School, the Little Dutchmen football squad recorded just such a win, a 28-14 triumph over rival Northern Lebanon. Following an uninspired start, Annville-Cleona pulled its act together in the second period, on its way to forging a 21-0 third-quarter lead.

In a season being played under the mask of a pandemic, it was the Little Dutchmen’s first win of the year.

Annville-Cleona is now 1-2 overall and 1-1 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. At 0-3 on the fall and 0-2 in the league, Northern Lebanon is still seeking its elusive first win.

“Our biggest goal is to finish with more wins than losses,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Matt Gingrich. “Any one we can get will help. It’s like the Coronavirus, we’ll take any game we can get. Any success we have will build these guys up.

“We got better, and they (his players) fought through some adversity,” Gingrich continued. “We were missing some kids. But it was just nice to get a win. Honestly, every win is the Super Bowl for us. We’re happy for the kids.”

“It was the same thing as last week,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Roy Wall of a 39-6 loss at Octorara. “We played well enough to win and we made enough mistakes to lose. There were some killer penalties. We put ourselves in a lot of holes.”

Following a score-less opening quarter, the Little Dutchmen got on the board on the second snap of the second period, in the form of Rogan Harter’s 66-yard jaunt down the right sideline. Then, just 44 seconds before intermission, Harter made it 14-0 home team, coverting a Viking fumble into a five-yard burst to paydirt.

“Our first four plays were scripted, we moved the ball and it felt pretty good,” said Gingrich. “And then we saw some inexperience. The one problem with young teams is petering out. Sustaining long drives is hard. When you don’t have a kicker who can hit a 40-yard field goal (injured senior Mac Plummer), it does change the game plan.

“I think the blocking up-front is getting better,” added Gingrich. “They’re learning how to come off the ball. The effort is better. You look at wins, and you hope it becomes contagious. You’d like to have it snow ball.”

“Annville played hard,” said Wall. “But mistakes are mistakes. We were jumping off sides and not lining up in the right formations.”

The Little Dutchmen turned another Viking fumble into a two-yard Chase Maguire touchdown run and a three-score lead, with 5:47 left in the third quarter. Northern Lebanon finally showed some signs of life on the ensuing possession, a 12-play, 72-yard march that resulted in a seven-yard TD pass from quarterback Nate Shirk to Grady Stichler.

“We’ve got to get better up front,” said Gingrich, of his defense. “We’ve got to be more physical. If we get physical, we’ll get better. We’re trying to figure that out. We have to find kids who want to be physical.”

“The ultimate improvement is a win,” said Wall. “We have some stuff to clean up. The goal for the rest of the season is to win.”

Annville-Cleona all but laid the outcome to rest with 4:55 remaining, when it parlayed a Kenny Schaeffer interception into a three-yard Chase Maguire scoring scamper, and a 28-7 advantage. Northern Lebanon did score three minutes later, on reserve quarterback Stichler’s seven-yard touchdown toss to Rasheed Beldor.

“I saw a lot of effort out of Northern Lebanon,” said Gingrich. “They have some good athletes over there. They do have some size and some good ability. They do what they do. Our kids just made a couple more plays than their kids did.”

Annville-Cleona out gained Northern Lebanon 304 total yards to 194. Harter rushed nine times for 106 yards, while Alex Long contributed 15 carries and 77 yards to the Little Dutchmen cause.

The Vikings fumbled eight times, losing three.

“When the schedule came out and we saw that we played Donegal and Elco our first two games, we’re happy to be 1-2,” said Gingrich. “It would be nice to be farther along, but we have some pretty good kids. They’re flying around. I get a little grumpy when things don’t go our way, but I’m a perfectionist.”

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

2020 Northern Lebanon Football Schedule

DateOpponentsOutcomes
9/18
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Northern Lebanon
39
7

Nonleague
9/25
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Octorara
6
39

League
10/02
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona

League
10/09
7:00 pm
Columbia
at Northern Lebanon

League
10/16
7:00 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon

League
10/23
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Pequea Valley

League
10/30
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lampeter-Strasburg

Nonleague

2020 Annville-Cleona Football Schedule

DateOpponentsOutcomes
9/18
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Donegal
14
42

Nonleague
9/25
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco
10
40

League
10/02
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona

League
10/09
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Pequea Valley

League
10/16
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Columbia

League
10/23
7:00 pm
Octorara
at Annville-Cleona

League
10/30
7:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Annville-Cleona

Nonleague

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