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IMG_8967BY JEFF FALK

SOUTH LEBANON – There are no secret formulas for building competitive and successful Lancaster-Lebanon Section One football programs.  But there are certain characteristics which are common to teams which win on a consistent basis.

First, programs have got to get numbers out. There can’t be athletes walking the halls who can help you on Friday nights.

Second, one has got to develop quality depth. And players have got to buy into what the coaching staff is selling.

You’ve got to put your work in during the off-season, in the weight room and on the practice field. You’ve got to strike a balance between offense and defense, rushing and passing, stopping the run and defending the pass.

IMG_9020And finally, you’ve got to have talented kids who can make plays.

Now, all of these things can’t occur overnight. It’s a process. But the quickest, easiest way to get the ball rolling in the right direction is to address step number one. Because if you can take care of that, some of those subsequent steps will fall into place.

By beating the bushes to the tune of 78 interested bodies – certainly one of the largest turnouts in Lebanon County scholastic football history – Rob Wildasin has taken that first step with gusto. And while that may not assure anything in 2014, it is a solid foundation for future success.

IMG_9072Make no mistakes about it. Wildasin was not hired to coach football at Cedar Crest High School. He was hired to build – or rebuild – a program.

“We had a pretty good idea we were going to have that many before practice started,” said Wildasin, who’s in his first year of taking over for Tom Waranavage. “And we’ve done a good job of accommodating that many kids. It should be a goal for the school. They want kids involved and having a positive experience. As far as wins and losses and what that means, I don’t know.

“Depth is a big concern,” continued Wildasin. “Now you’re going to say I’m crazy because I’ve got 78 kids out. But I’ve got a lot of guys who never played before, or haven’t played in a year or two. This is Section One football. Across the board, with our starters, we feel confident. But it’s about that next level of kids getting up to speed.”

IMG_9064Over the last decade, the Falcons’ struggles on the gridiron have been well documented. Cedar Crest hasn’t had a winning season since 2004.

The general consensus around the Cedar Crest program has been that many of those teams underachieved and didn’t distract the most from their talent- a theory that Wildasin does not dispute.  Last season the Falcons went a way-too-typical 3-7.

There is pressure to win in South Lebanon. But it is not greater than the pressure Wildasin puts on himself.

IMG_8978“It has no bearing on this season,” said Wildasin of 2013. “That’s been my approach. And next year will be next year. The prior year will not cause you to lose or win during the current year. It has no bearing except for maybe some past experience. It’s the same thing when you go day to day, or game to game, or play to play.”

So with his huge roster, a talented coaching staff, an analytic mind, his gushing enthusiasm and a plan, Wildasin wants to qualify for the District Three Class Class AAAA playoffs – this season. It seems to matter not that Cedar Crest returns just four starters from a defense that gave up an average of 390 yards per game last season, and a mere two starters on offense, and that the Falcons play in rugged Section One of the L-L.

“Our goal is the district playoffs. Done!,” said Wildasin, a graduate of Annville-Cleona. “I have no other goals. We’ve probably got to win five or six games. We have a tough schedule, so we’re going to have to upset some people along the way.

IMG_9005“I’ve clearly stated that to them (his players),” added Wildasin. “I’m sure they have some individual goals. But we’re going to judge ourselves on the district playoffs.”

Offensively this season, the Falcons will lean heavily on senior quarterback Josh Bucher, junior slotback Evan Horn, senior back Damon Edwards and senior back Marq Kintzer. Making the holes and providing protection will be a group of linemen headed by junior tackle Joe Radakovitz, junior center Alex Flocken and sophomore guard Terrell Davis.

IMG_9026“It’s too early to tell what our strengths are,” said Wildasin. “Here’s where we are. We have talent to compete with anyone. Can we piece it together? I don’t know. The story has yet to be written. But we have talent. We can compete.

“I think some guys say, ‘Team. Team. Team,'” Wildasin added. “But I really think we are ‘Team. Team. Team.’ We have some good individual players and some studs. But I think the kids know if we’re going to make the district playoffs we’re going to have to be about team.”

IMG_8999Flip to the defensive side of the ball and that’s where Cedar Crest can undergo the most improvement, where it can make the most strides towards winning. The Falcons will attempt to keep blockers off of the versatile Horn, so he can make plays.

Senior Dominic Garloff and junior Kobe Bolanos don’t need a lot of help on their islands, while Edwards will team with senior Chuck Yost to form the foundation of a solid linebacking corp. Up front, the Falcons like senior defensive end Chase Ocker and sophomore defensive end Luis Minaya.

IMG_8970“Obviously the defense is a focus for us, because we were so bad statistically the last few years,” said Wildasin. “We’re teaching football. We got an insane amount of things in during the preseason. I’m impressed with the kids’ focus, their determination, their work ethic. They’re all in.

“I don’t know where the program is,” added Wildasin. “The really hard look at it will be made at the end of the season. That’ll come at the end of the season.”

IMG_8998The Falcons’ new direction will be put to the test early, when they open the 2014 season at Lebanon High’s Alumni Stadium, during the annual Cedar Bowl.

“I like those guys. They’re tough,” said Wildasin of the Cedars. “Their line gets after it. (LHS senior captain) Luke Eisenhour is a tough kid. I have a lot of respect for them. They’re hungry. They’re going to have their A-plus game. Hopefully we can match their intensity.”
IMG_89832014 Cedar Crest Football Roster

# Name Grade
1 Damon Edwards 12
2 Josh Bucher 12
3 Kris Urban 11
4 Mitch Harsh 11
5 Matt Miller 11
6 Kobe Balanos 11
8 Marq Kintzer 12
9 Ted Wuori 12
10 Stevie Roda 11
11 Landy Cruz 12
12 Andrew Zoumas 11
17 Dean Zoumas 11
18 Greg Munnion 10
20 Matt Mitchell 11
21 Iziah Trimble 11
22 Tate Seyfert 10
23 Dominic Garloff 12
24 Kyrie Gillette 12
25 Justice Belleman 10
26 Tyler Roth 11
27 Zach Keffer 10
28 David Santos 11
30 Chuck Yost 12
31 Dylan Shellenhamer 11
32 Jake Kalbach 11
33 Evan Horn 11
36 Jon Simpson 11
39 Hezekiah Gonzalez 10
40 Brandon Heist 11
42 Austyn Brandt 11
44 Austin Garrison 11
45 Greyson Williams 10
49 Victor Ramos 10
50 Tristin Uhler 12
51 Garrett DeBien 10
52 Alex Flocken 11
54 Jared Bybee 11
55 Shjon Daub 11
56 Brett Bawiec 11
58 Granite Miller 11
59 Brad Eisenhauer 11
60 Brandon Tonini 10
61 Ross Fisher 10
62 Austin An 12
63 David Maciel 11
64 Donovan Pfleiger 11
65 Chase Ocker 12
66 Tyler Whary 11
67 Austin Eisenhour 11
68 Mike Eckhart 11
69 Andrew Etter 10
70 Dean Ebersole 12
71 Nick Seiple 10
72 Sam Alvarez 11
73 Joe Radakovitz 11
74 Davonte Davis 11
75 Gavin Singh 10
76 Terrell Davis 10
77 Tony Fernandez 12
78 Andrew Tarsa 11
80 Devon Bernard 10
81 Raymie Ferreira 11
82 Grant Neuman 10
83 Logan Tiffany 11
84 David Donmoyer 11
85 Luis Minaya 10
86 Ryan Gonzalez 12
87 Chris Siozos 10
88 Damian Palm 11
99 Soren Frost 12
Matt Kramer 10
Mitch Tice 10
Zeb Lasta 10
Josiah Byler 10
Mike Sowers 10
Wyatt McNalley 10
Jordan Greeninger 12
Zabby Sharifi 11

IMG_90302014 Cedar Crest Football Schedule

DATE OPPONENT TIME LOCATION
08/29
@Lebanon
7:00 PM Lebanon High School
09/05
Lower Dauphin
7:00 PM Cedar Crest High School
09/12
@Manheim Central
7:00 PM Manheim Central High School
09/19 *
@Warwick
7:00 PM Warwick High School
09/26 *
Wilson West Lawn
7:00 PM Cedar Crest High School
10/03 *
Manheim Twp.
7:00 PM Cedar Crest High School
10/10 *
Hempfield
7:00 PM Cedar Crest High School
10/17 *
McCaskey
7:00 PM Cedar Crest High School
10/24 *
@Conestoga Valley
7:00 PM Conestoga Valley High School
10/31 *
@Penn Manor
7:00 PM Penn Manor High School

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