FOOTBALL: Wengert, NL romp past Annville-Cleona
FREDERICKSBURG >> It hasn't been a great week or so off the field for the Northern Lebanon football team.
But the two forfeit losses the Vikings were forced to absorb after using an ineligible player earlier in the season have done little to disrupt their happy home between the white lines.
There, Northern Lebanon is very much in its element and still yet to be beaten on the scoreboard.
The defending Section Three champs continued to thrive amid the controversy swirling around it on Friday night, riding a surreal performance from senior quarterback Isaac Wengert to a 58-36 Senior Night victory over county rival Annville-Cleona at Fred Gahres Stadium.
Wengert piled up an astounding 448 total yards — 222 on the ground, 226 through the air — threw four touchdown passes and ran for three more as Northern Lebanon improved to 4-0 in Section Three and 6-2 overall on the heels of the forfeits to Pine Grove and Lebanon.
With two games remaining at Donegal and Columbia, the Vikings need only to win out to secure a second straight section crown. This just in: Don't bet against them.
And you wouldn't if you had seen them on Friday night, taking the best shot of a pretty good A-C team without even blinking.
"Our kids stepped up. We're a real resilient bunch," said NL coach Roy Wall. "We knew what was gonna happen (with the forfeits); everyone else is all shocked about this. The day we self-reported we told our players the worst case scenario. We were not shocked in any way, shape or form. It was business as usual for us, and you can see the results."
It was a little more than business as usual for Wengert, a terrific player who morphed into an extraordinary one on Friday.
Appropriately enough, it was Wengert's 15-yard TD pass to Colton Herb in the first quarter that put the Vikings ahead to stay, and helped them get off the mat after being staggered by a 76-yard scoring romp from A-C's Will Langan (24 carries, 217 yards) on the first play from scrimmage.
Wengert would add TD passes of 43, 20 and 31 yards to Christian Trader, Luke Funck and Corey Teasdale before intermission as NL took a 30-15 lead into the break.
In the second half, Wengert got the job done with his legs, scoring on runs of 36, 4 and 6 yards to keep A-C, which also got three TD runs from Adam Fox, at bay.
"He has developed as a leader and he has really stepped up the last three weeks," Wall said. "It started with the last nine minutes of the Williams Valley game. But we're more than one person. We are a whole team."
To its credit, A-C (5-3, 1-3 Section Three) didn't go down easily, hanging within 42-29 after three quarters and 50-36 after Fox scored his third and final TD with 7:15 left.
But Northern Lebanon wasn't going to be denied on Friday night. Or, quite possibly, the rest of the nights of their regular season.
"(The section title) is well within our grasp," Wall said. "We just play one week at a time."
Northern Lebanon 58, Annville-Cleona 36
AC — Langan 76 run (Light kick)
NL — Herb 15 pass from Wengert (Funck run)
NL— Trader 43 pass from Wengert (Wengert run)
NL — Funck 20 pass from Wengert (Func
AC — Fox 1 run (Langan pass from Fox)
NL — Teasdale 31 pass from Wengert (run failed)
NL — Wengert 36 run (pass fails)
AC — Fox 3 run (Light kick)
NL — Wengert 4 run (pass fails)
AC — Langan 42 run (Light kick)
NL — Funck 33 run (Teasdale pass from Wengert)
AC — Fox 10 run (Light kick)
NL — Wengert 6 run (Daub pass from Wengert)
ACNLFirst downs1020Rushes-yards45-35042-334Passing2-6-013-22-0Passing yards28226Total yards378560Punts3-35.71-50.0Fumbles-lost4-22-0Penalties-yards1-1512-77
Rushing — AC: Langan 24-217, Fox 12-54, Barr 4-70, Bomgardner 5-9. NL: Wengert 21-222, Funck 18-131, Motter 1-0, Smith 2- (-19).
Passing — AC:Fox 2-4-0-28, Barr 0-1-0-0, Myers 0-1-0-0 NL: Wengert 13-22-0-226
Receiving — AC: Mintz 1-16, Hertz 1-12 NL: Teasdale 7-95, Daub 3-53, Trader 1-43, Funck 1-20, Herb 1-15.