BY JEFF FALK
Sometimes things just out wear their usefullness. There’s a reason that Lebanon County’s oldest rivalry is coming to a close.
In a game that didn’t do either side much good, Palmyra blitzed Annville-Cleona 47-0 Friday night at Buck Swank Stadium in the 2011 season opener for both schools. Recently, Annville-Cleona decided it wanted to end its rivalry with the Cougars and Friday served as the conclusion to the 43-year history of the series.
Thanks to a Dino Faiola punt block and return for a touchdown, Palmyra led 7-0 before it even possessed the ball. History will show that the Cougars won the all-time series 24-16-3.
On their first possession, the Cougars drove for senior tailback Preston Bare’s first of four touchdowns on the evening. Bare toted the ball a dozen times and averaged 18 yards a carry.
Palmyra ended the half on a Jordan Harro length-of-the-field interception return for a touchdown. The entire second half was played under the 35-point mercy rule.
Next Friday, Palmyra travels to Boiling Springs, while Annville-Cleona hosts Hamburg.
Elsewhere on opening night:
Pine Grove 26, Northern Lebanon 0
At Fred Gahres Stadim in Fredericksburg, two costly fumbles put the Vikings in an early 14-0 hole, and they couldn’t fight their way out of it. The Viking defense held its own, but the offense was hindered by turnovers, penalties and mental mistakes.
Northern Lebanon fumbled a pitch on its opening possession and the Cardinals needed just two plays to cash in. The Vikings also fumbled on their second possession and Pine Grove cashed it in for a second score.
By the time halftime rolled around, Pine Grove was sitting on a 20-0 cushion.
Up next for the Vikings is a Friday trip to Lebanon Alumni Stadium to meet the Cedars.
Hamburg 38, Elco 15
In Hamburg, the young Raiders experienced difficulties clamping down on the Hawks. Elco did grab an early 7-6 edge on an Anthony Pletz-to-Nate Litschi touchdown hook-up.
Down 12-7 late in the second stanza, the Raiders squandered a long kick-off return by sophomore Cameron Strouse. Elco failed to score after earning a first-and-goal opportunity.
Hamburg opened the third period by driving the second-half kickoff for a touchdown that made it 19-7. The Hawks’ advantage reached 38-7 before the Raiders scored on a late Litschi kickoff return.