BY JEFF FALK
Just when one thinks he or she has a handle on local high school football, something like Saturday night happens.
In a shocking turn of events in Myerstown, Elco shocked Lebanon 38-26, handing the Cedars their initial setback of the season. The Raiders had entered the contest 0-2 and as the number-six football team in www.lebanonsportsbuzz.com’s latest Lebanon County rankings.
Following a back-and-forth flow, the Raiders tallied a pair of touchdowns in the final five minutes to snap a 26-all deadlock.
First Elco pieced together an impressive drive to get a touchdown run out of senior running back Dylan Hickernell. Then, Raider sophomore Cameron Strause intercepted an errant throw from Lebanon quarterback Alex Trautman and returned it for the score that clinched.
In all, the Elco defense came up with four interceptions.
Elco had taken a 26-18 lead in the third quarter on a Hickernell touchdown scamper. But the Cedars answered it with a Trautman-to-Isaiah Baker scoring hook-up early in the final period.
The Raiders led most of the evening, but couldn’t shake the Cedars until late. With Hickernell and Straue showing the way, Elco ran the ball more than 50 times for about 300 rushing yards.
In the opening period, the two clubs traded quarterback plunges for touchdowns, Anthony Pletz for the Raiders and Mark Pyles for the Cedars. In the second quarter, Pyles hit Steven Padillas for a Lebanon scored, after Strause had squirted for an Elco touchdown.
Elco led 20-18 at the break, thanks in part to another Strause TD jaunt. For Lebanon High, Trautman connected with receiver Alex Kuhn.