Lebanon Sports Buzz
Breaking News

IMG_4708BY JEFF FALK

ANNVILLE – Rare are the ones which live up to their pre-game hype. Yet this ‘Lebanon County High School Football Game of the Year’ truly was ‘The Lebanon County High School Game of the Year’.

But unlike most ‘games of the year’ this one was not decided by the guys up front. It was the play makers who had the final say.

IMG_4620Friday night’s Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three showdown between Northern Lebanon and Annville-Cleona on the Little Dutchmen’s home turf offered all the characteristics of a very good high school football game – intrigue, individual match-ups, momentum swings and, of course, big plays. While both sides came up with plenty of the latter, it was the Vikings who made a few more, during a stirring 32-24 triumph which placed them firmly in the section driver seat.

In a back-and-forth contest which never saw either team enjoy more than a one-possession advantage, it may have been that Northern Lebanon never fully relinquished the momentum it first gained in the opening period. But with its pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, not only did Northern Lebanon laugh last, it laughed best.

IMG_4628With its sixth straight win, the section championship is now the Vikings’ to lose. Northern Lebanon, 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the circuit, stands alone atop the Section Three standings with apparently only a date with Donegal standing in the way of a title.

The loss dropped Annville-Cleona, currently seeded fourth in the District Three Class AA power rankings, to 6-2 on the season and 3-1 in Section Three.

“We control our destiny,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Roy Wall. “Our kids came up big at the end. We’ve been a second-half team all year. Annville played hard.”

IMG_4606“Me too,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Terry Lehman, when he was told one observer thought the outcome would hinge on the line of scrimmage. “Turnovers, that’s the ball game. We had the ball four times in the first half and we scored twice. It was a good high school football game. What the heck?

“If you’re asking me if they’re (the Vikings) going to win out,” continued Lehman. “They still have Donegal. We’ll be Donegal’s biggest fan.”

What may have ultimately turned the tide in favor of the Vikings was Mason Yost’s 66-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter. Annville-Cleona had just taken its only lead of the contest at 21-20 with 9:36 left, when reserve quarterback Noah Myers hit a wide-open John Groh for 64 yards and a touchdown, off a reverse pass.

IMG_4703But not only did Yost’s kickoff return provide an immediate response, it set up teammate Dominic Trader for his 18-yard touchdown scamper which would prove to be the winning score. Then after Annville-Cleona cut the Vikes’ lead to 26-24 on Matt Light’s 34-yard field goal, Northern Lebanon defensive back Isaac Wenger returned an errant A-C aerial 25 yards for the game’s final score, with 1:02 to go.

Annville-Cleona did get the ball back around midfield in the waning seconds, but a Viking sack ended the threat.

“That was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Wall of Wenger’s pick-six. “They (the Little Dutchmen) had a chance, and our defense stepped up. Our kids played their hearts out.”

“It’s a rival game. It’s for the section,” said Trader, who rushed 20 times for 159 yards. “We haven’t beaten them here since 1991. What else could you want?

IMG_4562“I couldn’t sleep all week because of this game,” added Trader. “It turned out the way I expected. I thought we had more talent. Coach always says that talent takes over on the second series.”

“It’s a game of emotions,” said Lehman. “We had good emotions. We had bad emotions. It’s a rivalry. It’s a county game.

“Tonight, they were seven or eight points better than us,” continued Lehman. “They run the ball nice. They throw the ball nice. They played well. They won the football game.”

IMG_4605Most of the second quarter clock was consumed by a pair of 14-play possessions – one by each side.

Annville-Cleona’s 80-yard march produced quarterback Adam Fox’s one-yard sneak which tied the game at seven. Northern Lebanon answered with an 85-yard drive to retake the lead at 14-7, on Trader’s four-yard jaunt, 1:01 before the break.

IMG_4584But when the Vikings’ ensuing kickoff was squibbed high and short, opportunistic Little Dutchman Kurtis Reigle returned in 40 yards to the Northern Lebanon six-yard line. Two snaps later – a mere 17 seconds ahead of halftime – Fox hit Noah Connor with a seven-yard scoring strike that forged a 14-all intermission draw.

“I knew we had  to play our game,” said Trader. “We knew they (the Little Dutchmen) had a good defense. It was on our offense. I tried to get outside, and I broke it up the middle a couple of times, but I do feel like they’re the best defense we’ve played.”

“The one that hurt was the fumble on the opening drive,” said Lehman. “We get that back, we’re on the (Viking) four-yard line. But that’s history.

IMG_4599“It’s like I told the kids, ‘The sun’s going to come up tomorrow,'” added Lehman. “Our kids are going to come back.”

The A-C fumble on its opening drive – the first of four Little Dutchmen turnovers in the game – allowed the Vikings to score first, two possessions later. Senior QB Isaac Ray capped a six-play 62-yard thrust with a six-yard score that made it 7-0, with 2:11 left in the first quarter.

After halftime, Ray also hit Corey Teasdale with a 13-yard touchdown toss to consummate an eight-play, 68-yard march and give Northern Lebanon a 20-14 advantage.

IMG_4573“He’s a good athlete,” said Lehman of Ray. “But we had kids stand out as much as they did.”

With Ray at the controls, Northern Lebanon, which did not turn the ball over, out gained Annville-Cleona 316 total yards to 250. Yost caught seven Ray passes for 64 yards.

“We have Columbia and Pequea Valley,” said Lehman. “Hopefully we end up 8-2.”

Lancaster-Lebanon League

     IMG_4591  Section Three Standings

TEAM LEAGUE OVERALL
Northern Lebanon 4-0 7-1
Donegal 3-1 6-2
Annville-Cleona 3-1 6-2
Pequea Valley 2-3 4-4
Elco 2-3 3-5
Columbia 1-3 2-6
Ephrata 0-4 0-8

 

 District Three

 IMG_4616Class AAA Power Rankings

School W L T Rating TWP OWP
1 Bishop McDevitt 7 0 0 .841558 1.000000 .647908
2 West York 6 1 0 .762004 .904110 .588319
3 Red Land 6 1 0 .760520 .906667 .581897
4 Manheim Central 6 1 0 .746328 .913580 .541908
5 Lampeter Strasburg 5 2 0 .710714 .792208 .611111
6 Gettysburg 6 1 0 .694931 .886076 .461310
7 Cocalico 5 2 0 .691964 .792208 .569444
8 East Pennsboro 6 1 0 .686159 .901408 .423077
9 Conrad Weiser 5 2 0 .685715 .797101 .549575
10 Garden Spot 5 2 0 .679851 .772152 .567039
11 Northern Lebanon 6 1 0 .671819 .892308 .402332
12 Solanco 4 3 0 .637176 .666667 .601132
13 Milton Hershey 5 2 0 .611573 .723077 .475291
14 Dover 4 3 0 .602902 .637681 .560393
15 Daniel Boone 4 3 0 .594470 .657534 .517391
16 Donegal 5 2 0 .593480 .718310 .440909
IMG_460217 Greencastle Antrim 5 2 0 .586060 .753425 .381503
18 Lancaster Catholic 3 4 0 .575379 .507692 .658108
19 Fleetwood 4 3 0 .554864 .579710 .524496
20 Middletown 4 3 0 .550443 .619718 .465774
21 Spring Grove 3 4 0 .540215 .540984 .539275
22 Shippensburg 3 4 0 .518900 .493333 .550147
23 Eastern York 4 3 0 .513469 .597015 .411357
24 York Suburban 3 4 0 .512056 .492958 .535398
25 Northern York 3 4 0 .505484 .492537 .521307
26 Muhlenberg 2 5 0 .505104 .318841 .732759
27 Northeastern 3 4 0 .500023 .508772 .489329
28 Hershey 2 5 0 .492932 .358209 .657593
29 Mechanicsburg 2 5 0 .487920 .360656 .643466
30 Palmyra 3 4 0 .454483 .391304 .531700
31 Susquehanna Township 1 6 0 .435494 .186441 .739892
32 Big Spring 2 5 0 .423552 .318841 .551532
33 James Buchanan 2 5 0 .383399 .273973 .517143
34 Eastern Lebanon County 2 5 0 .349808 .285714 .428144
35 Twin Valley 1 6 0 .332096 .130435 .578571
IMG_466436 Kennard Dale 1 6 0 .316004 .194030 .465084
37 New Oxford 0 7 0 .292105 .000000 .649123
38 Susquehannock 0 7 0 .288545 .000000 .641210
39 Kutztown 0 7 0 .272583 .000000 .605740
40 West Perry 0 7 0 .262944 .000000 .584320

District Three

 Class AA Power Rankings

School W L T Rating TWP OWP

IMG_46781 Berks Catholic 7 0 0 .735029 1.00000 .411175
2 Bermudian Springs 7 0 0 .722785 1.00000 .383966
3 Wyomissing 7 0 0 .721210 1.00000 .380466
4 Annville Cleona 6 1 0 .639672 .853333 .378531
5 Schuylkill Valley 4 3 0 .533566 .563380 .497126
6 Boiling Springs 4 3 0 .531334 .575342 .477545
7 Newport 5 2 0 .509051 .630769 .360284
8 Trinity 3 4 0 .449211 .397260 .512706
9 Biglerville 3 4 0 .444170 .425287 .467249
10 Pequea Valley 3 4 0 .432549 .462687 .395714
11 Littlestown 2 5 0 .379554 .260870 .524613
12 Hamburg 1 6 0 .344824 .159420 .571429
13 Hanover 1 6 0 .286511 .142857 .462089
14 Susquenita 0 7 0 .203556 .000000 .452347

IMG_4610

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4672

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4611

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4670

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_4702

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


− five = 4