Friday Night Leftovers: Annville-Cleona keeps focus
Recapping Week 6 Lebanon County football action in this week's edition of Friday Night Leftovers.
No letdown for Annville-Cleona
With back-to-back key wins over Elco and Lancaster Catholic the previous two weeks, the Annville-Cleona football team went a long way toward establishing itself as the team to beat in Section 3.
But what A-C did on Friday night against a struggling Columbia team may have said even more about its titles hopes.
Quite frankly, it was a game the Dutchmen could have won without a top-notch performance. But with every opportunity to ease its way through the contest, A-C instead kept the pedal to the metal, racking up 448 rushing yards in a thorough 56-20 victory. No letdown, no loss of focus.
Cameron Hoch and Dominic McMillian each ran for three touchdowns as the Dutchmen improved to 5-2 overall and 3-0 in Section 3, where they are tied with Donegal for first place.
If A-C can get by Northern Lebanon next week its regular season finale matchup with Donegal on Nov. 4 could be for all the section marbles.
Palmyra loses first, but not composure
The Cougars experienced defeat for the first time Friday night in a 14-10 loss at Middletown. But Palmyra's first setback did not come with an accompanying loss of composure.
In what was an intense, physical affair tempers are bound to flare, but the Cougars kept theirs largely under control while Middletown was piling up 95 yards in penalties that included four unsportsmanlike conduct calls. One of those was offset by a Palmyra personal foul on the same play, but for the overwhelming majority of the contest the Cougars did an admirable job of keeping their cool.
That was not lost on head coach Chris Pope.
"I think it's important," Pope said. "You can't hurt yourself, you can't do things to hurt yourself. And I think in these previous games you've seen a little bit of that. I have to go back (and look at the tape) but I thought we did a better job of not hurting ourselves."
Vikings playing loose the rest of the way
Despite having only one loss in section play, Friday's loss at home to Donegal put Northern Lebanon behind the eight ball a bit in the Section 3 standings, now a game and a half behind the Indians (3-3, 3-0) and next week's opponent, Annville-Cleona (5-2, 3-0) with four games left. But anything can happen, and its still not over.
And the Vikings know they have to get better - especially correcting their run defense - and get healthy.
NL coach Roy Wall however, just wants his team to relax - and maybe approach each game in a different way.
"This is the first time our seniors have lost a section game, so it's a bitter pill to swallow, but we're not out of it by any means. We still have all league games to go," he said. "The game has to be fun. You can't play the game if you don't like it. I don't want them to put so much pressure on themselves that we can't defend the section. It's a young team. We just have to keep playing and not give up on ourselves. We'll be fine."
But for anyone facing Donegal coming up - look out. The Indians have quickly risen into a tie for first with Annville-Cleona and are now 3-3 overall after digging out of an 0-3 hole. And most importantly, all three wins have come in section play.
Falcons D turning the corner?
Despite a tough 22-13 loss at Cocalico and dropping into a tie for second place in Section 2, Cedar Crest is starting to figure one thing out - their defense is starting to get into a groove. The Falcons forced two turnovers on Friday night, including a fumble midway through the fourth quarter to set up the offense with a chance to go win the game. Cedar Crest did give up 301 yards rushing - but it accounted for literally the only offense for the Eagles, held to zero passing yards and not even one completion. Crest's solid "D" the last two weeks seems to be beginning to answer some of the question marks up front, though maybe run defense still raises some concern. But there's still plenty to build on going forward.
The Falcons also managed to have some success running the football without Justice Belleman, who was inactive.
"I’m proud of both sides of the ball. That is a good football team. I think we’re a good football team. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose," Cedar Crest coach Rob Wildasin said. "We just need to keep getting better like we’ve been doing."