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IMG_4091BY JEFF FALK

MYERSTOWN – The adjustments made at halftime were more tactical than motivational. But perhaps the most important thing that happened in the locker room was that Northern Lebanon took a deep breath, gathered itself and collected its thoughts.

After all, the Vikings have become a pretty good second-half team.

On Friday night at Elco Stadium, the Northern Lebanon football team continued to navigate previously uncharted waters in the Roy Wall era quite nicely, using a dominant second-half performance to knock out the home standing Raiders 26-14. After cleaning up some things at the break, the Vikings outscored the Raiders 20-0 in the second 24 minutes of action.

IMG_4029Northern Lebanon was plagued by three turnovers and numerous penalties during a first half which ended with Elco up 14-6. But in the third and fourth quarters, the Vikings added a bit of pace to their offense, senior quarterback Isaac Ray assertive himself more and Northern Lebanon became more opportunistic.

By limiting the Raiders to a negative-one rushing yard, Northern Lebanon out gained its host 208 total yards to 57 in the second half.

The triumph extended Northern Lebanon’s overall record to 6-1 and its Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three mark to 3-0, which represents its best start during Wall’s five years in Fredericksburg. Up next for the Vikings is Annville-Cleona, and a rare all-Lebanon County showdown for control of the section.

IMG_3967With the loss, the Raiders slipped to 2-5 for the fall and 1-3 in Section Three. Elco is now 0-4 against its Lebanon County brethren this year.

“No, we weren’t looking ahead, we were focused on Elco,” said Wall, the head Viking. “They played hard and we played hard. This is the first test we had all year.

“We felt going into the season that there were four teams with a legitimate chance to win the section – ourselves, Annville-Cleona, Elco and Donegal,” added Wall. “We’re right there.”

IMG_4025“We don’t have a lot to say,” said Elco head coach Bob Miller, from his slumped out position on the floor of the Raiders’ coaching room. “My mom always said if you don’t have something nice to say, not to say anything at all. We need to watch film and get better.”

With the Raiders protecting a two-point lead late in the third quarter, Elco elected to go for a fourth-down-and-two at midfield, out of a punt formation. And when the Raiders didn’t get the first down, Northern Lebanon took advantage of it to score the eventual winning touchdown.

Three snaps later,  Ray hit Dominic Traders on a little swing pass out of the backfield, and the speedy Trader turned it into a 44-yard scoring jaunt down the right sideline. A subsequent Ray run for two points gave Northern Lebanon a 20-14 lead with 2:02 of the third quarter remaining.

IMG_4049After blocking an Elco punt, the Vikings placed the finishing touches on their comeback with 3:16 remaining, on a fourth-and-seven call from the Raider 32. Flushed out of the pocket, Ray split the Raider pass rush and raced into the left corner of the end zone for a TD.

“At halftime I said we were in the same situation last week,” said Wall of a non-league win at Williams Valley. “Last week we outscored them by 28 points in the second half, this week it was only 20 points. We’re a very good second-half team.

“I thought we were wearing them down,” Wall continued. “We were taking it to them in the second half, and they didn’t have a lot of yardage.”

IMG_4084“He said,  ‘We’ve been in this situation before’,” said Ray of Wall’s halftime address. “‘We’re not finishing our drives. We’ve got to get pumped up and play better in the second half.’

“Again, we played better in the second half,” Ray added. “We didn’t finish our drives. We’re still waiting to play four quarters.”

Elco’s 14-6 halftime advantage came courtesy of a four-yard scoring collaboration between quarterback Jeff Martin and receiver Dylan Stoops, four minutes before the intermission. Martin went four-for-four on the 38-yard march set up by a short Viking punt.

IMG_3956But the Vikings emerged from the halftime locker room and marched 72 yards in seven plays. The possession was culminated by Mason Yost’s 15-yard sprint to the left pylon, which pulled Northern Lebanon to within 14-12.

“We played well enough to win,” said Wall. “We’ve been our own worst enemy, but we’ve been able to overcome it. Penalties and turnovers were the problems, the same things we’ve been doing all year. Yeah, we’ve been making mistakes, but we’re still 6-1.”

IMG_4019“I’ve been really polite for three years,” said Miller. “I’m going to politely decline to comment, and ask you to leave politely.”

Following a scoreless opening quarter, Northern Lebanon struck first, on a 66-yard scoring romp from Trader, 1:06 into the second stanza. Running between the tackles, Trader made a couple of Raiders miss, broke it off to the right sideline and then out raced the rest of the Elco defense to the goal line.

But the Vikings misfired on the extra point, and on their next possession, the Raiders assumed a 7-6 edge. Elco drove 58 yards in seven plays to get a 27-yard scoring strike from Martin to Travis Zimmerman, with 7:57 remaining in the second quarter.

IMG_3980“It’s great,” said Ray of the Vikings’ 6-1 record. “It’s a great feeling. Next week is the biggest game yet and it could decide the section championship.

“It’s (scrambling) kind of what I see,” continued Ray. “If they (defenders) bail, I’m going to scramble and make a play. I’ve been doing it all year. We’ve been trying to do that (going no-huddle) more to wear teams down. Most of the teams we play have a lot of two-way players, and we have a lot of one-way players, so we try to take advantage of that.”

With Trader gaining 97 yards on 17 carries, the Northern Lebanon run game posted 226 rushing yards on the evening. Ray went seven-for-17 for 190 passing yards and also picked up 73 yards on the ground.

IMG_4001Martin attempted 36 passes and completed 19 of them for 166 yards. For the game, the Raiders were limited to 32 rushing yards.

Northern Lebanon out gained Elco 416 total yards to 199.

 

Lancaster-Lebanon League

    IMG_3909 Section Three

TEAM LEAGUE OVERALL
Northern Lebanon 3-0 6-1
Annville-Cleona 3-0 6-1
Donegal 3-1 5-2
Columbia 1-2 2-5
Pequea Valley 1-3 3-4
Elco 1-3 2-5
Ephrata 0-3 0-7

 

District Three 

 IMG_4067Class AAA Power Rankings

School W L T
1 Bishop McDevitt 6 0 0 .845477
2 Lampeter Strasburg 5 1 0 .769353
3 Red Land 5 1 0 .765506
4 West York 5 1 0 .747289
5 Manheim Central 5 1 0 .742044
6 East Pennsboro 6 0 0 .736694
7 Garden Spot 5 1 0 .734433
8 Milton Hershey 5 1 0 .685931
IMG_40619 Cocalico 4 2 0 .684677
10 Gettysburg 5 1 0 .683585
11 Conrad Weiser 4 2 0 .664519
12 Northern Lebanon 5 1 0 .661942
13 Dover 4 2 0 .635978
14 Daniel Boone 4 2 0 .621928
15 Fleetwood 4 2 0 .616350
16 Solanco 3 3 0 .614082
17 Spring Grove 3 3 0 .573037
18 Donegal 4 2 0 .569306
19 Greencastle Antrim 4 2 0 .566245
20 York Suburban 3 3 0 .557133
21 Northern York 3 3 0 .544570
22 Muhlenberg 2 4 0 .533416
23 Northeastern 3 3 0 .531989
24 Hershey 2 4 0 .523798
25 Middletown 3 3 0 .521836
IMG_405326 Mechanicsburg 2 4 0 .518133
27 Lancaster Catholic 2 4 0 .508001
28 Palmyra 3 3 0 .507603
29 Shippensburg 2 4 0 .484044
30 Eastern York 3 3 0 .477054
31 Big Spring 2 4 0 .451424
32 James Buchanan 2 4 0 .393855
33 Eastern Lebanon County 2 4 0 .374956
34 Twin Valley 1 5 0 .358185
35 Susquehanna Township 0 6 0 .337500
36 Kennard Dale 1 5 0 .335776
37 Susquehannock 0 6 0 .294000
38 New Oxford 0 6 0 .291809
39 Kutztown 0 6 0 .284501
40 West Perry 0 6 0 .262818

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