FREDERICKSBURG – Northern Lebanon already had a bad taste in its mouth after getting torched by York Suburban at home last week, allowing a touchdown on the first seven defensive possessions.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, run defense doomed them again on Friday night – but it didn’t come without a fight at the end.
Though it was a valiant come-from-behind effort, another night of getting gashed on the ground still cost Vikings, who dropped their second straight game in a 35-31 loss to Donegal at Northern Lebanon High School.
“Our skill positions made some plays, but defensively, we didn’t get enough stops early like we did at the end,” said Vikings coach Roy Wall. “The one positive I take about it is we played four quarters and it gave us an opportunity to win at the end.”
NL (2-4, 1-1) gave up 359 rushing yards, making it a whopping 642 rush yards allowed in the last two games.
Injuries however, have started taking their toll up front. The Vikings were already without two starting offensive lineman going into Friday, and lost a third during the game, bringing NL down to only two starters.
But Wall says there’s still no excuse.
“We just have to get better. We've got to get off the field. It puts ourselves in a hole,” he said. “Last week we scored 38 points and lost, this week we scored 31 points and lost, so we just have to continue to find the right combination on defense so we can get the results we’re used to having.”
And if NL was going to try to change its fortune, it wasn’t going to be easy defending the Indians' three-headed monster of Tyler Rupp, Cameron Ellis and Kevin Young, who accounted for all five touchdowns. Rupp and Ellis had two each, while Young had the other. Young finished with 88 yards rushing, while Ellis went 149. Rupp finished with 83.
But looking at the issue schematically, the Vikings defense seems to have an idea where they’ve gone wrong.
NL quarterback Michigan Daub said, “A lot of the reverses get us. If we work on staying at home backside, that will help … and not getting caught up in the middle where all the junk’s at where all the big linemen are.”
To its credit though, NL fought through the adversity to make it very interesting at the very end, putting up 19 unanswered points after trailing 35-12 midway through the third quarter.
The comeback was on after a 25-yard scoop and score by Isiah Davila made it 35-18 with 4:13 left in the third. Then the Vikings cut the deficit to 35-25 with 4:35 left on Stevie Herb’s second rushing touchdown from a yard out.
NL followed that with its second onside-kick recovery, leading to an 11-yard touchdown run by Noah Smith on a reverse to make it 35-31 with 3:39 left. Donegal was able move the chains and run the clock out from there.
Early, it was all Indians (3-3, 3-0), who are quickly becoming a dangerous team, now winners of three in a row after an 0-3 start.
The Indians started the game with good field position after a bad Vikings punt put their first possession at midfield. Donegal took it right down the field, capped off by Rupp’s first touchdown from 8 yards out to make it 6-0.
Then after a Vikings' fumbled snap, the Indians again went right down the field, ending with the second touchdown by Rupp, this time from 6 yards out, making it 14-0 Indians.
Then after NL cut the deficit to a deuce on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Daub to Caleb Fischer, followed by a 40-yard touchdown run by Herb, Donegal came right back with Ellis’ first touchdown from 5 yards out to make it 21-12 with 5:01 left in the half.
NL’s run “D” will have another challenge next week at Annville-Cleona.
Donegal 35, Northern Lebanon 31
Donegal _ 14 _ 14 _ 7 _ 0 _ — _ 35
Northern Lebanon _ 6 _ 6 _ 6 _ 13_ — _ 31
D — Tyler Rupp 8-yard run. (kick failed)
D - Rupp 6-yard run. (Kevin Young run)
NL - Caleb Fischer 9-yard pass from Michigan Daub (Daub kick failed)
NL — Stephen Herb 40-yard run. (run failed)
D - Cameron Ellis 5-yard run. (Emma Hudson kick)
D - Kevin Young 3-yard run (Hudson kick)
D — Ellis 2-yard run. (Hudson kick)
NL - Isiah Davila 25-yard fumble return. (pass failed)
NL — Herb 1-yard TD run (Daub kick)
NL - Noah Smith 11-yard run (kick failed)
_ Donegal_ NL
First downs _ 17 _ 10
Rushes-yards _ 51-359 _ 32-196
Passing _ 3-5-0 _ 15-31-0
Passing yards _ 27 _ 247
Total yards _ 494 _ 443
Punts _1-27 _ 1-10
Fumbles-lost _ 2-2 _ 2-2
Penalties-yards _ 2-10 _ 7-47
Rushing — Donegal: Greg Chrysler 5-18; Tyler Snyder 6-21; Tyler Rupp 10-83, 2 TD; Cameron Ellis 15-149, 2TD; Kevin Young 15-88, TD. NL: Stephen Herb 14-84, 2 TD; Michigan Daub 10-56; Noah Smith 8-56, TD.
Passing — Donegal: Ryan Buckius 3-5-0 for 27 yards. NL: Daub 15-31-0 for 247 yards, TD.
Receiving — Donegal: Rupp 1-24; Calvin Woods 1-3. NL: Christian Trader 6-146; Will Thompson 3-42; Stephen Herb 1-14; Caleb Fischer 2-28, TD; Smith 3-15.