John Buffone and Matt Catrillo break down three L-L football matchups for Week 7. Video by John Buffone.
ANNVILLE - The Northern Lebanon football team needed to make a stand.
Defensively, where it had been gashed for an alarming number of yards and points in recent weeks. And in Section 3 of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, where its hopes of a third straight section title were beginning to fade amid, among other things, those defensive woes.
This just in: The Vikings made the required stands Friday night. Most emphatically, too.
With its most complete performance of the season and 20 unanswered points in the second half, Northern Lebanon threw its hat back in the ring in the section by knocking off now former Section 3 co-leader Annville-Cleona 32-14 on the Dutchmen's home field.
Junior quarterback Michigan Daub led the way, rushing for 133 yards and three touchdowns and keying a 20-0 second half shutout with a key interception as the Vikings improved to 3-4 overall and 2-1 in Section 3.
But it was a collective effort that seemed to say, "We're better than we've shown and we're not done yet" that was the key to the Vikings' sudden resurgence.
"This was a big one for us," Daub said. "We practiced as hard as we could all week, and we knew the section championship was on the line. We knew if we won this game we could make it a two-way or a three-way tie at the end of the season, so we had to come out here and fight our hardest and win."
A-C (6-3, 3-1 Section 3) entered the contest on a four-game win streak that had been achieved on the back of a potent rushing attack. And led by Cameron Hoch's 144 yards on nine attempts, the Dutchmen racked up a still considerable 209 yards on the ground Friday.
But the Vikings muted those totals by forcing three second-half turnovers and taking advantage of costly A-C penalties after intermission, one of which brought back a touchdown.
"Coach (Phil) Williams and Coach (Rusty) Wallace really stepped up and had a great game plan," NL coach Roy Wall said of his defensive assistants, "and our kids executed. Michigan had a hell of a game and it was a total team effort."
The contest began ominously for the Vikes after they fumbled the opening kickoff and A-C recovered deep in NL territory. But in what would be a recurring theme, the defense held, setting the stage for lineman Luis Negreiros to score the game's first points on a 1-yard touchdown dive with 5:08 left in the first quarter.
A-C came right back on the next play from scrimmage with a 64-yard TD dash by Hoch, then used some trickery to make it 14-6 13 seconds into the second quarter on a 79-yard TD pass from running back Hoch to running back Victor Hoffer.
But it was all NL from there. Daub cut the lead to 14-12 with an 11-yard scoring run just before the half, and after Stevie Herb bolted for a 73-yard TD romp with 6:36 left in the third to put the Vikes up for good, they got help from A-C's turnover and penalty woes.
"You don't score any points in the second half, you get what you deserve," A-C coach Matt Gingrich said. "You reap what you sow. We found a way to lose a game. But they (the Vikings) played good. They did great. They're a good team; they've got some great athletes. You don't want a team like that to get confidence and we got what we deserved."
Northern Lebanon 32, Annville-Cleona 14
Northern Lebanon _ 6 _ 6 _ 8 _ 12 _ — _ 32
Annville-Cleona _ 8 _ 6 _ 0 _ 0 _ — _ 14
NL — Negreiros 1 run (conversion failed)
AC - Hoch 64 run (MacMillan pass)
AC — Hoffer 79 pass from Hoch (conversion failed)
NL - Daub 11 run (conversion failed)
NL — Herb 73 run (Daub run)
NL — Daub 1 run (conversion failed)
NL - Daub 48 run (conversion failed)
_ NL _ A-C
First downs _ 11 _ 11
Rushes-yards _ 44-339 _ 30-209
Passing _ 6-14-0 _ 7-16-1
Passing yards _ 18 _ 185
Total yards _ 357 _ 394
Punts _ 4-38.0 _ 3-26.4
Fumbles-lost _ 1-0 _ 2-2
Penalties-yards _ 3-30 _ 8-55
Rushing — NL: Herb 20-162, Daub 19-133, Smith 4-41, Negreiros 1-1. AC: Hoch 9-140, Hoffer 11-41, MacMillan 4-14 Myers 2-9, Turner 4-5. .
Passing — .NL: Daub 6-14-0-18. AC: Myers 5-14-1-64, Hoch 1-1-079, Ulrich 1-1-0-42.
Receiving — .NL: Fischer 2-8, Trader 2-5, Smith 1-3, Herb 1-2. AC: Hoch 3-53, Hertz 3-53, Hoffer 1-79.