Recapping Week 3 Lebanon County football action in this week's edition of Friday Night Leftovers....
Cooper gives Palmyra defensive a hand
The career of former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Ed "Too Tall" Jones was over long before Mason Cooper was born. But on Friday night in Palmyra's 17-0 win over Donegal, Cooper did his best impersonation of Jones whether he knew it or not by mimicking the ex-Cowboys' ability to bat down passes at the line of the scrimmage.
A rangy 6-foot-5 210-pound senior defensive end, Cooper, who's also a big target at tight end on offense, got his mitts on two Donegal passes on Friday night to help the Cougars to a third shutout, the most important of which was a fourth down swat at the Palmyra 10 that snuffed out a promising Donegal drive midway through the second quarter.
"He's a real luxury when you think about it," Palmyra coach Chris Pope said of the unique skills Cooper brings to the Palmyra defense. "He's a tall drink of water, and it's nice having him defensively where he can reach up there and has that (wing) span and can knock things down. And offensively, having that agility and the hands he has to bring in balls, it's nice to have him."
A big night for Elco's Knight
Elco senior quarterback Kyle Knight missed most of his junior season with a torn ACL, but has returned to health this season to lead the Raider offense.
And if there were any doubts that he was all the way back to his old self, Knight put them to rest on Friday night in Elco's 29-26 win at Fleetwood.
The Raiders improved to 2-1 due in no small part to Knight's play, which included rushing for 112 yards on 18 carries and firing three touchdown passes - two to tight end Ryan Eshleman - as Elco successfully rallied from a 12-0 deficit after the first quarter.
Elco opens Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three play next week against Annville-Cleona, and it looks like it'll be doing so with a fully healthy - and dangerous - QB at the controls of the offense.
Funck injured, Daub, Herb step up
There's one and only one player Northern Lebanon can ill-afford to lose. On the first play at Daniel Boone Friday, Vikings running back Luke Funck went down with an injury. The severity of the injury is unknown, along with if Funck will be ready to play in his final home opener when NL hosts Pequea Valley in its Section Three opener on Friday night.
But to their credit, the Vikings didn't panic - led by their new quarterback Michigan Daub who helped pick up the slack, throwing for 241 yards on 13-of-20 passing and two touchdowns, while rushing for 58 yards and a touchdown. Steven Herb also helped get the Vikings offense in a rhythm early, scoring on a 71-yard touchdown run on the ensuing play after Fucnk's injury.
Now if that were the only thing to account for in the midst of Funck's absence, the Vikings could find themselves in decent shape. The only problem is, Funck is also a very important part of NL's defense. And while everyone tends to focus on what he means offensively, Funk's presence on the other side of the ball is felt as well - and not having him there really showed, as the Vikings surrendered 266 yards rushing to the Blazers. This also adds to the question marks up front for the Vikings in terms of winning the line of scrimmage each and every week.
So just like others stepped up offensively in Funck's absence, it now has to happen defensively if the Vikings are going to keep themselves afloat in defense of their two-year section crown.
How Cedar Crest can solve its turnover woes
It hasn't been pretty for the Falcons these last two games, overshadowed by seven turnovers in that span, three of them occurring in Friday's loss at Lower Dauphin.
The solution - finding faster starts. And that means establishing what you do best, which is continuing to run the ball effectively. In last week's win despite the turnover woes, the Falcons rushed for 346 yards rushing including 112 from Justice Belleman and a touchdown. They even had 141 yards in the loss to LD at Hersheypark Stadium. And though they weren't as successful as they were against Northern Lebanon, the Falcons coaching staff made it known they will not abandon the run, despite facing a deficit.
Success on the ground leads to momentum and settling down your quarterback, which should ultimately help keep him turnover-free. That hasn't been the case as Logan Horn has thrown four picks in the last two games - three of them against Lower Dauphin.
What the Falcons need to continue to also have is a short-term memory as well, and as Coach Rob Wildasin said Friday, correct it and learn from it.
And the perfect opportunity to turn the page comes against a far less superior team in Ephrata at home next week.