Recapping Week 4 Lebanon County football action in this week's edition of Friday Night Leftovers....
A night to remember for Hoch
Besides it being a special night for his team in what was a stunning 36-21 victory over Lancaster Catholic to take command of Section 3, it was also a memorable night personally for Annville-Cleona's Cameron Hoch. Hoch won a prestigious award in the Dutchman program that's been a dream of his since his sophomore season - the Steve Johnson Memorial Homecoming MVP Award.
But the mindset was doing whatever it took to lead his team to a victory.
"I'm the captain of the defense. I got to move people where they have to go. It's not just me...it's everybody. If we all do our job, we're going to win just like a night like this," Hoch said. "We didn't come out the best in the second half, but we stuck with them. That was a good football team, but we proved to be better."
And his coach followed with some pretty high praise.
"It's good for him. He played our Lebanon scrimmage, got injured on the last play, and didn't play the rest of the year. Then we played Northern Lebanon and he got hurt on the first play. This is the year he deserves," Dutchmen coach Matt Gingrich said. "This kid means more to our team than anyone. I had Jhet Janis (at Cocalico) in 2012. He means what Janis met to us then. You can put any stat line you want, but he's the best kid in Section 3. I'll take him over anyone else."
Griffin Hertz also had a huge night for A-C, recording two interceptions.
Caleb Turner did suffer an injury however, having to be helped off by teammates. The severity of the injury and Turner's availability next week is unknown.
The Dutchmen are now all alone in first place in the section, having a better overall record (4-2) than Donegal (2-3), which is also off to a 2-0 start in section play.
Unsung hero Sosnoski shines for Palmyra
Usually among the smallest players on the field at 5-foot-6 and 140 pounds, Palmyra junior Devan Sosnoski and his many contributions to the Cougars' success can sometimes be overlooked.
Often, the hard-hitting Sosnoski gets lost in the pile while making a tackle from his linebacker spot. But sometimes he bursts from the pack as he did on Friday night in the Cougars' 41-19 win over Boiling Springs when he ripped off an 11-yard TD run that staked his team to a 20-0 lead in the second quarter.
"It's really nice," teammate Carl Reigle said of seeing Sosnoski get into the end zone. "I think he got in against Elco also. Pound-for-pound on the team I'd say he's the strongest guys we've got and he makes many, many tackles on defense. For him to score on offense and get touches is really nice, because he's a powerful runner."
Cedar Crest 'D' rises to the occasion
Even in its most recent heyday of the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Cedar Crest football was not known for its defense. Back then, the Falcons almost always used high-flying high-powered offenses to do battle in a talent-rich Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League.
The times they may be changing, though, if Cedar Crest's most recent win is any indication.
In a key early Section Two showdown with Garden Spot on Friday night, the Falcons won almost exclusively with defense in an 11-7 triumph that improved them to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in Section Two.
The Spartans entered the contest averaging 38 points per game but managed just a fourth quarter touchdown run against a surprisingly stingy Cedar Crest defense.
If there is more where that came from Cedar Crest just might make its first season in Section Two one to remember.
"We were ready for the challenge," Cedar Crest Rob Wildasin told GameTimePA correspondent Julie Beidler. "We knew it was going to be our biggest challenge and we thought we were going to be their biggest challenge. We talked about the points they put up all year. And I said, ‘This is the challenge and we have to shut them down and I think we did a good job."
"Our defense is playing very physical football right now and I think that’s huge."
Elco in trouble
Though Mother Nature may be to blame for sending Dane Miller's potential game-winning 36-yard field goal wide left, the Raiders have plenty else to worry about: Being 2-3 overall, and more importantly, in an 0-2 Section 3 hole that may be too deep to dig out of.
A key reason - getting gashed defending the run. In its last two games, Elco has given up 575 yards on the ground - 369 in a loss to Annville-Cleona, and 206 in Friday's 13-12 heart breaker at Donegal. And it comes as a surprise because of the Raiders' size up front.
What's also been frustrating for Elco in this back-breaking two-game skid - being inside the 5 with a chance to win the game and coming up empty.
In the loss to the Dutchmen, the Raiders were stopped on fourth-and-goal at the 1, and Friday Elco had first-and-goal at the five before being set back by a one-yard loss and a 13-yard sack.
Those situations, along with defending the run in general, come down to winning the line of scrimmage, something which always makes or breaks teams in close games.