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ANNVILLE >> They were all legitimate excuses for Annville-Cleona first-year coach Matt Gingrich. The Little Dutchmen lost star quarterback Adam Fox to an injury in the first half. Fox is also the team's punter and the holder on extra points. So they had to shuffle players around to do those jobs.

The Dutchmen's tight end got injured, too.

A Dutchmen receiver flat-out dropped a sure TD pass.

A-C's Mike Sowers picked off a fourth-quarter pass but the Dutchmen had to give the ball back because they didn't have enough players on the field.

The Dutchmen intercepted a last-gasp Schuylkill Valley pass in the end zone in the final minute, but instead of taking a knee, the Dutchmen defender ran around the end zone and got tackled for a safety, which means A-C had to free-kick it back to Schuylkill Valley.

Oh yeah, none of this really mattered. The Dutchmen beat the Panthers 28-16 Friday night in non-league football to go 3-0 for the first time in more than 20 years. And despite Schuylkill Valley having the ball for most of the second half, the game never seemed to be in doubt.

That says something about the Dutchmen's resiliency: they didn't play their best game, but they still did a lot of good things to prevail.

"I'd feel a lot better if we played a little better," Gingrich said after the win. "There were some dumb things that we did that we have to work on."

When reminded his team was 3-0, Gingrich broke into a big grin.

"Three-and-oh! You can smile at a lot of things."

The Dutchmen dominated the first quarter, going up 14-0 on touchdown runs by Will Langan (17 rushes, 82 yards) and Fox (9-28).

But Fox got injured late in the second quarter playing defense and did not return. The good news is that the injury is not serious, and Gingrich held him out in the second half as a precaution.

Which was easier to do with the Dutchmen holding leads of 21-7 and 28-7.

"We gave up a route on a miscommunication, and Hochie (Cameron Hoch) ran into Fox. (Fox) had a stinger. He was itching to go back in there in the fourth quarter, but we decided to play it safe."

Not to mention that Noah Myers stepped up and did a stellar job in relief at quarterback, scoring on an 11-yard run in the third.

With Fox out, Hoch came on in relief as a punter and drilled two beauties in the second half — traveling 43 and 47 yards — to pin the Panthers deep in their own end.

Annville-Cleona 28, Schuylkill Valley 16

Schuylkill Valley0709—16
Annville-Cleona14077—28

AC - Langan 2 run (Light kick)

AC - Fox 5 run (Light kick)

SV - Austill 22 pass from Nawrocki (Strause kick)

AC - Myers 11 run (Light kick)

AC - Reigle recovered fumble in end zone (Light kick)

SV - Mohring 54 pass from Glassmire (Strause kick)

SV - Safety: Hoch tackled in end zone

SVACFirst downs1512Rushes-yards47-13841-137Passing 10-22-33-6-0Passing yards17226Total yards310163Punts4-375-32.4Fumbles-lost3-22-0Penalties-yards8-485-36.5
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