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BY JEFF FALK

LEBANON – For better of worse, we are all influenced by those who came before us. In that way, we have a duty – a responsibility – to them to carry on.

It’s the type of tradition upon which successful programs are constructed.

Last year, the Lebanon football program graduated 24 influential seniors, one of its largest classes in recent memory. During their tenure, those young men helped transform the climate and culture of Cedar football.

Now, it is up to a new breed of Cedars to honor that work by taking up their mantle.

“One of our takeaways from last year was just the great senior group we had,” said Lebanon head coach Frank Isenberg. “It was a great group. They really turned the tide of our program.

“When you lose 24 seniors, you’ve got some big shoes to fill,” added Isenberg. “What they did was establish a culture within our program, both off the field and on. But I think those same things are present in this group.”

That successful climate was achieved through hard work and by doing the right things. Although last season’s Lebanon team went a misleading 3-3 amid a COVID-19 marred campaign, the Cedars had accomplished some really nice things in the years leading up to it.

“Overall, the goal is just making sure our kids are getting better every day,” said Isenberg. “That’s their mindset.

“We’re definitely ready,” continued Isenberg. “The kids are chomping at the bit. They’re eager to get started. With the way things ended last year, the positive vibes are there. They have their own mark that they want to leave.”

To put things in perspective, Lebanon is preparing to enter the 2021 season with about 38 student-athletes, of whom only a handful are seniors. The Cedars return three starters on offense and four on defense.

“The strength of this group is their speed and athleticism,” said Isenberg. “Those things are unquestioned. But I really liked the work ethic in the off-season. Their buy-in has definitely been a benefit. They’re eager to do well.

“There is no doubt that the experience piece is definitely a weakness,” Isenberg continued. “We’ve also got to be able to create depth and make sure we have that ‘next man up’ mentality.”

Another strength is up front, along both the offensive and defensive line where the Cedars are big and strong. Center Thomas Hershey will anchor Lebanon’s offensive line and he’ll be flanked by Josiah Wright and Tre’ Quell Ruffin.

The Cedars could be a more run-oriented team this year, simply to fit their current personnel.

“We’ve talked about goals and what’s realistic,” said Isenberg. “You never want to put a number on a season. We just want to have the mentality of getting better. That started with our off-season work. If we continue to do that, I don’t see why positive things can’t happen at the end of the season.

“I think the big thing is that Lebanon kids are tough and proud,” Isenberg continued. “That’s something that’s been part of Lebanon city for as long as I can remember. Success on the field starts up front. We have some big kids up there who are athletic. We have a new quarterback, but I think our offensive line is going to carry us.”

The Cedars’ new quarterback is Pedro De’Arce, a converted running back who will be charged with managing the game and taking care of the ball. Lebanon has surrounded De’Arce with athletic performers like Adam Bowers, Xavier Figueroa, Emmanuel Mason, Julien Selman and Zahir Stoner.

“I feel good about a couple of areas of our program,” said Isenberg. “Our feeder program was a large thing I wanted to get established. We’ve also established a culture in the weight room, throughout the school day. Those are the things I’m excited about. We have a good staff and great people within our program.”

Last season, Lebanon lost four contests to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. What the Cedars learned from that ordeal is to control the things they can control and to accept the things they can’t.

“Everything we’re doing is off school board policy,” said Isenberg. “We’re educating our kids to keep our season going. You only have so many opportunities to play this game. You’ve got to make sure you’re doing the right things and staying safe. It’s not an easy situation. But you’ve got to make sure you get every opportunity possible.”

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

2021 Lebanon Football Schedule

DateOpponents
8/27
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Cedar Crest

Nonleague
9/03
7:00 pm
Reading
at Lebanon

Nonleague
9/10
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at McCaskey

Nonleague
9/17
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Lebanon

Nonleague
9/24
7:00 pm
Octorara
at Lebanon

Nonleague
10/01
7:00 pm
Ephrata
at Lebanon

League
10/08
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Garden Spot

League
10/15
7:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Lebanon

League
10/22
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Donegal

League
10/29
7:00 pm
Lebanon
at Lampeter-Strasburg

League

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