PINE GROVE - It wasn’t a perfect football game, but the Northern Lebanon Vikings certainly showed glimpses of just how good they can be this season with a 32-13 victory at Pine Grove on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
The Vikings (1-0), with first-year starting quarterback Michigan Daub, churned up 285 yards of offense, including two long touchdown passes of 54 yards to Dawson Else and 41 yards to Christian Trader.
But Daub wasn’t nervous as most might be in his situation, because he had senior Luke Funck in the backfield, and Funck didn’t disappoint, carrying the ball 11 times for 114 yards and a touchdown.
“To rely on somebody else other than myself and my receivers helps a lot, especially when we have a line that blocks well," Daub said.
While the line was blocking well and the Vikings were reeling off big plays, consistency was one thing that was missing throughout all four quarters, according to head coach Roy Wall.
“That’s good, but it’s not good. If we live and die by the big play, it’s either feast or famine,” Wall said. “Luckily we hit a few, but we need to be more consistent to be able to take charge of the game.”
Northern Lebanon looked to be poised to do just that early after an 11-yard pass from Daub to Trader put the Vikings in front on their second possession. Trader finished with 54 yards receiving on two receptions.
NL then recovered an onside kick and scored for the second time after an eight-play drive ended with Daub running the ball in from the 3.
Pine Grove opened the second quarter with a scoring drive of its own, capped with a one-yard plunge by Cameron Lutz, but Northern Lebanon answered right back on a 62-yard touchdown run by Funck two plays later. That gave the Vikings an 18-6 lead at the half.
“That was just great blocking by our line and a great read by my quarterback,” Funck said.
The Cardinals opened the third quarter with an eight-play scoring drive, including a 42-yard run by Delson Mitchell - who finished with 98 yards on 22 carries - that trimmed the lead to 18-13. However, Daub’s 54-yard pass to Else just three plays later, followed by Trader’s second touchdown reception in the fourth quarter sealed the victory.
While pleased with the victory, Wall noted his team, which had three turnovers on the night, has some improvements to make.
“There are some things we need to work on and we have two weeks to get ourselves ready for Cedar Crest,” he said.
But Wall was pleased his team limited the penalties and with their performance at key times in the game.
“We need to have that emotion that we had in the third and fourth quarters, and when we get tired we have to continue to play hard,” he said.
Northern Lebanon has a bye next week before heading across the county to take on the Falcons on Sept. 9.
Northern Lebanon 32, Pine Grove 13
Away _12 _ 6 _8 _ 6_ — _ 32
Home _ 0 _ 6 _ 7 _ 0 _ — _13
NL — Christian Trader 13-yard pass from Michigan Daub (try failed)
NL - Daub 7-yard run (try failed)
PG — Cameron Lutz 1-yard run (try failed)
NL - Luke Funck 62-yard run (try failed)
PG — Delson Mitchell 1-yard run (Faith Shiffer kick)
NL - Dawson Else 54-yard pass from Daub (Daub run)
NL — Trader 41-yard pass from Daub (try failed)
_Northern Lebanon _ Pine Grove
First downs _ 9 _ 7
Rushes-yards _ 28-149 _ 53-151
Passing _ 5-16-2 _ 2-5-0
Passing yards _ 136 _ 10
Total yards _ 285 _ 161
Punts _ 0 _ 4
Fumbles-lost _ 1-1 _ 2-1
Penalties-yards _5-27 _ 7-55
Rushing — NL: Funck 11-114; Smith 6-19; Daub 8-11; Herb 1-2; Shearer 1-2; Lum 1-1. PG: Mitchell 22-98; Leininger 15-19; Sorrentino 1-(-8); Ney 4-11; Lehman 1-2; Lutz 10-28.
Passing — NL: Daub 5-16-2; PG: Leininger 2-5-0.
Receiving — NL: Trader 2-54; Thompson 1-23; Else 1-54; Fisher 1-5. PG: Luckenbill 1-5; Lehman 1-5.