HAMBURG >> Northern Lebanon remains undefeated – but is lucky to do so, according to head coach Roy Wall.
Friday the Vikings (3-0) faced their first true challenge of the season, battling the Hamburg Hawks (1-2) – who won just one game in 2014.
After the sloppy 36-25 victory, Wall said he hoped the game would be a wake-up call for the team, who had five total turnovers.
"We did a lot of things that weren't sound football; things that we didn't do in the first two games," Wall said. "We have to stop making turnovers and things like that. We are very lucky we won turning the ball over five times."
Senior quarterback Isaac Wengert threw four interceptions, two off defensive tips from Hamburg.
With Dylan Weaver out of the lineup due to a family commitment, which the team was aware of in advance, junior running back Luke Funck stepped up with 123 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
"It's never been about who is not here, it's about who is here and the kids here stepped up in his place," Wall said.
Northern Lebanon started the game on a trick play, stunning Hamburg with an onsides kick to begin the game. The Vikings recovered the ball on the 32-yard line and made their way down the field in a long 10-play series before it was intercepted by Hamburg defensive back Nicholas Kuhn, who returned it 66 yards. Jordan McAllister than ran 34 yards for a touchdown, and with a successful kick by Aaron Nelson, Hamburg took a 7-0 lead.
Just over a minute later, however, Wengert connected with Corey Teasdale for a 68-yard touchdown pass, and with a successful two-point conversion, the Vikings were on top.
Kuhn then connected with Ignacio Reynoso for a 58-yard touchdown pass in the first play of the next drive.
With Northern Lebanon trailing by five, Wengert ran for 41 yards and a two-point conversion to take a three-point lead before the end of the first quarter.
Northern Lebanon refrained from kicking the ball for most of the game, attempting two-point conversions and onsides kicks. Colton Herb was instructed to complete a traditional kickoff just once in four attempts.
The non-conference matchup was exciting for the home team, as Hamburg stunned Elco two weeks ago with a 30-8 victory. Fans hoped tonight would be another stunner, but after a very close first half, the Hawks came into the third period sluggish and Northern Lebanon took advantage.
Facing a talented defense that Wall has credited as the key to the team's success, Hamburg struggled to get rushing yards in the second half. The Viking defense earned 10 tackles for a loss totaling more than 30 yards.
Northern Lebanon will look to keep its undefeated season alive next Friday against Ephrata at home.
Northern Lebanon 36, Hamburg 25
NL — 68 yard pass from Isaac Wengert to Corey Teasdale complete, 7:00 (2pt conversion good).
NL — Wengert 41 yard rush (2pt conversion good.)
H — Jordan McAllister, 34 yard rush, 8:65 (Jostua Lesher kick good).
H — 58 yard pass from Nicholas Kuhn to Ignacio Reynoso complete, 6:46 (kick failed).
NL — Luke Funck 10 yard rush, 8:16 (2pt conversion failed.)
H — Dariel Ruiz 14 yard rush, 11:52 (2pt conversion failed.)
NL — 4 yard rush by Funck, 4:57 (2pt conversion failed.)
H — 81 yard rush by Reynoso, 8:05 (2pt conversion failed.)
NL — 54 yard option pass from Wengert to Funck, 8:05 (2pt conversion good).
H — N/A
NLHFirst downs1612Rushes-yards 34-248 41-222Passing7-19-4-1155-13-0-99Passing yards11599Total yards363321Punts2-261-35Fumbles-lost1-62-2Penalties-yards7-36.5 6-55
Rushing — NL, Luke Funck 22-123, Noah Smith 3- 7, Wengert 9-118. H, Jordan McCallister 6-62, Ignacio Reynoso 19-144, Dariel Ruiz 7-24, Aaron Nelson 2-8, Kuhn 7-(-16).
Passing — NL, Isaac Wengert 7-19-4-115. H, Nicholas Kuhn 5-13-0-99.
Receiving — NL, Corey Teasdale 4-83, Noah Smith, 2-25, Colton Herb 1-10. H, Jordan McCallister 1-16, Reynoso 2-59, Andrew Payne 1-14, Nelson 1-10.