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BY JEFF FALK

SOUTH LEBANON – It’s like any trend or momentum or streak.

The longer it goes, the harder it becomes to break. And the longer it goes, the easier it becomes to proliferate.

The Cedar Bowl trophy is staying in South Lebanon for one more year, after Cedar Crest trounced Lebanon 38-0 in the 49th renewal of the Cedar Bowl, on an overcast Saturday afternoon at Ed and Jeannie Arnold Field at Earl Boltz Stadium. Lebanon County’s most heated and storied athletic rivalry turned into a coming out party for the Falcons and junior quarterback Jay Huber, who spread the touchdown prosperity around to five different teammates.

After persistent thunderstorms postponed the scheduled Friday night start by 17 hours, Cedar Crest used a 17-point second-quarter to open a 24-0 halftime margin.

The season-opening contest followed a similar Cedar Bowl formula, one that has now allowed the Falcons to beat their rival nine straight times. Cedar Crest leads the all-time series, which dates back to 1972 and was interrupted by COVID-19 last year, 33-15-1.

“We’ll take it. A win’s a win,” said Cedar Crest head coach Rob Wildasin, who’s never lost to Lebanon. “It’s really all about them (his players), especially after what they went through in 2020. This makes things feel a little closer to normal. I just want the kids to have fun, and I mean that sincerely.

“We played right where I thought we would,” continued Wildasin. “We’ve just got to keep taking steps. This team is very young.”

“I’ve only been part of this game once,” said Lebanon head coach Frank Isenberg. “We beat ourselves, we made mistakes. But it seems like they (the Falcons) know how to prepare for this game. They understand the atmosphere.”

The Falcons landed the all-important initial blow 4:20 into the contest when Fernado Marquez broke the plane from a yard away to give the home team a 7-0 lead. Marquez’s score was set up by a 46-yard Aadyn Richards rumble.

Then, on Cedar Crest’s second possession, a 45-yard pass from quarterback Huber to Nolan Groff paved the way for the 27-yard Benno Zacheri field goal that the Falcons a 10-0 lead.

“Coming into the game, I thought they were going to try to pound us,” said Wildasin of the Cedars. “I also thought if they didn’t change their defense, we had to throw the ball, which we did.

“I thought that they (the Cedars) were a little one-dimensional,” added Wildasin. “It was hard for them to pass. We just took what they gave us.”

“I just thought it was the big plays,” said Isenberg. “If it wasn’t for the big plays, I think we would’ve been able to hang in there with them. It was a breakdown in coverage.

“Offensively, we moved it a little,” Isenberg added. “We were getting four yards on our carries. If we’re one-dimensional, it’s kind of who we are.”

Cedar Crest scored twice in a span of 4:21 right before intermission to really put Lebanon behind the proverbial eight-ball. Huber hit Nolan Groff for 43 yards down the right sidelines, and he found Ethan Heisey for 20 yards and a score, with 41 seconds left in the second quarter to extend the Falcon lead to 24-0.

“We’ve got to work on the running game,” said Wildasin. “They (the Cedars) stacked the box and Jay played very well. We’re excited about him.

“He (Huber) is a football player,” Wildasin continued. “He’s legit. He’s a leader. He embraces the spotlight.”

“It is tough when you have a hard time throwing the ball,” said Isenberg. “But if you do the things you need to do in the run game, the passing game will be there.”

The Falcons needed just 39 seconds of the second half to extend their advantage to 31-0. An electric return of the second-half kickoff by Izaiah Gonzalez and a 34-yard passing collaboration between Huber and Heisey led to Richards’ two-yard plunge.

Adien Schomp registered Cedar Crest’s final touchdown, on a nine-yard strike from Huber, with 4:05 remaining in the third stanza.

“I told them at halftime that the game’s not over,” said Wildasin. “Quite frankly, I wanted us to be better in the second half. More physicality. More execution.

“Defensively, I thought we played OK,” Wildasin continued. “We missed tackles. We missed assignments. We have stuff to work on. We’ll be better next week.”

“Cedar Crest has a lot of playmakers,” said Isenberg. “They made some great plays. They executed the way they needed to. They’ve got some vertical weapons, but a lot of the damage was self-inflicted.”

With Lebanon not completing a pass, the Falcons outgained the Cedars 361 total yards to 147.

In three quarters of action, Huber completed 11 of his 14 pass attempts for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Groff caught three of those balls for 98 yards, while Heisey contributed four receptions for 68 yards.

“Their kids played hard,” said Wildasin of the Cedars. “They’re well-coached. Their quarterback (Pedro De’Arce) played his heart out.

“Lebanon had a great team last year,” continued Wildasin. “That game (Cedar Bowl) would’ve been a great game. Unfortunately, it wasn’t played. That hurts for them because I think it makes it seem like they’re further off than they really are.”

“It’s a young group,” said Isenberg. “We’ve gone through adversity before. We’ve just got to turn the page, correct some things and move on.”

To purchase images in this article please email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com.

Cedar Bowl History

2021 – Cedar Crest 38, Lebanon 0

2020 – COVID-19

2019 – Cedar Crest 28, Lebanon 6

2018 – Cedar Crest 42, Lebanon 19

2017 – Cedar Crest 42, Lebanon 14

2016 – Cedar Crest 26, Lebanon 14

2015 – Cedar Crest 41, Lebanon 7

2014 – Cedar Crest 38, Lebanon 24

2013 – Cedar Crest 40, Lebanon 24

2012 – Cedar Crest 67, Lebanon 0

2011 – Lebanon 47, Cedar Crest 14

2010 – Lebanon 35, Cedar Crest 7

2009 – Cedar Crest 33, Lebanon 14

2008 — Lebanon 39, Cedar Crest 7

2007 — Cedar Crest 30, Lebanon 19

2006 — Lebanon 28, Cedar Crest 7

2005 — Lebanon 14, Cedar Crest 13

2004 — Cedar Crest 34, Lebanon 7

2003 — Lebanon 29, Cedar Crest 24

2002 — Cedar Crest 14, Lebanon 7

2001 — Cedar Crest 42, Lebanon 24

2000 — Cedar Crest 39, Lebanon 6

1999 — Cedar Crest 42, Lebanon 6

1998 — Cedar Crest 63, Lebanon 21

1997 — Cedar Crest 49, Lebanon 12

1996 — Lebanon 41, Cedar Crest 6

1995 — Cedar Crest 28, Lebanon 0

1994 — Cedar Crest 28, Lebanon 0

1993 — Cedar Crest 35, Lebanon 20

1992 — Lebanon 7, Cedar Crest 0

1991 — Cedar Crest 20, Lebanon 14

1990 — Lebanon 35, Cedar Crest 31

1989 — Lebanon 13, Cedar Crest 6

1988 — Lebanon 0, Cedar Crest 0

1987 — Cedar Crest 14, Lebanon 6

1986 — Cedar Crest 14, Lebanon 0

1985 — Cedar Crest 28, Lebanon 23

1984 — Lebanon 23, Cedar Crest 7

1983 — Cedar Crest 14, Lebanon 7

1982 — Cedar Crest 23, Lebanon 0

1981 — Lebanon 15, Cedar Crest 9

1980 — Cedar Crest 15, Lebanon 13

1979 — Cedar Crest 34, Lebanon 0

1978 — Lebanon 14, Cedar Crest 0

1977 — Cedar Crest 20, Lebanon 8

1976 — Lebanon 14, Cedar Crest 6

1975 — Cedar Crest 32, Lebanon 14

1974 — Cedar Crest 39, Lebanon 8

1973 — Lebanon 22, Cedar Crest 0

1972 — Cedar Crest 15, Lebanon 13

Note: Cedar Crest leads the all-time series 33-15-1

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