The future of Cedar Crest football met the program's present Friday night, and the resulting collision nearly sprung a memorable upset.
Defensively, do-it-all senior Evan Horn set up camp in the Manheim Central backfield, regularly knifing through the line over a performance that drew heaps of praise from Barons coaches. On offense, Horn's freshman brother Logan made his varsity debut under center, threw two touchdowns and piled up 219 yards passing.
In between, the pair even connected for a 77-yard score, a remarkable first career touchdown for the freshman and yet just another dazzling catch-and-run to be filed in the highlight reel of his brother.
But amid the family joy there were fatal football mistakes; miscues that not only have the Falcons become all too familiar with but collectively served as a reminder that good things still come to those who wait.
Manheim Central (2-1) pulled away from Cedar Crest, 30-14, at Earl Boltz Stadium, plugging along behind its 227-yard rushing performance to a non-league victory. Senior Dylan Nelson accounted for 163 yards on the ground and a breakaway touchdown run at the start of the third quarter. The Falcons managed only 15 rush yards following halftime, largely a function of playing catch-up and self-inflicted wounds such as fumbled snaps.
"When you're playing a good football team, you can't make mistakes," Cedar Crest coach Rob Wildasin said. "We made more mistakes, so we didn't deserve to win the game. We didn't make a lot mistakes, but we made more."
A scoreless opening quarter gave way to a pair of Barons field goals in the second stanza, which also featured multiple stalled Falcons drives. Junior running back Justise Belleman had rumbled for 45 yards on five carries over the team's initial series, but was forced to leave with a tweaked knee. From there, Cedar Crest (1-2) barely sniffed the end zone until after intermission.
"We had a great week of practice. We were there and just made some mistakes," Logan Horn said. "Getting into those second and long, third and longs, you can't have that. It's basically staying in front of the sticks."
There was no better example than on the Falcons' first series of the second half, which opened with a 16-yard Logan Horn run and then a pair of huge negative plays. Nelson next scored for a 13-0 lead, a touchdown later followed by another Barons field goal, before the lengthy Horn-to-Horn connection produced six points out of "bubble-slant."
"I saw the safety came down, came down on the bubble. Logan saw it right away, made a great read and it worked," Evan Horn said. "I love that kid. He played awesome coming out here playing a team like that first game. I'm so proud of that kid."
However, Manheim Central answered quickly via an air stike of its own, when senior signal caller Kody Kegarise found Gunnar Royer with a 15-yard play-action strike to go back up by two scores.
"We wanted to keep them guessing," Barons coach Dave Hahn said. "I knew they were good. And we have a target on our back when it comes to Cedar Crest. They want to beat us, and they played inspired tonight."
While the younger Horn twice hit senior tight end Raymie Ferreira for long gains on the team's last scoring drive, the Barons drove down field again to secure the proverbial final nail in the Falcons' coffin.
"We drove the ball right there to the 20, 30-yardline and then we get into third and 30," Evan Horn said. "We can't finish drives and it's killing us. We've got seven more to go. We'll be all right. Seven more games and for Logan, three more years. Cedar will be all right, indeed.
Manheim Central 30, Cedar Crest 14
MC — Adams 36-yard field goal
MC — Adams 22-yard field goal
MC — Nelson 25-yard run (Adams kick)
MC — Adams 36-yard field goal
CC — E. Horn 77-yard pass from L. Horn (L. Horn pass)
MC — Royer 15-yard pass from Kegarise (Adams kick)
CC — Ferreira 21-yard pass from L. Horn (2-point try fails)
MC — Kegarise 3-yard run (Adams kick)
MCCCFirst downs1713Rushes-yards46-22729-57Passing8-17-112-21-2Passing yards121219Total yards348276Punts3-466-32.5Fumbles-lost0-05-1Penalties-yards11-915-47
Rushing — MC: Dylan Nelson 32-163, Kody Kegarise 12-60, Craig McKee 2-4. CC: Justise Belleman 12-57, Evan Horn 3-18, Matt Mitchell 4-11, Iziah Trimble 2-0, Logan Horn 10-(-9), Team 1-(-20).
Passing —MC: Kegarise 7-18-0-121. CC: L. Horn 12-21-1-219.
Receiving — MC: Nelson 2-55, Justin Lundgren 1-25, Gunnar Royer 2-21, Sam Martin 1-11, Austin Geib 1-10, Gabin Guyer 1-(-1). CC: E. Horn 4-126, Raymie Ferreira 3-56, Trimble 5-37.