ANNVILLE >> Although the score was a mismatch, the level of effort wielded by Annville-Cleona Friday night was insufficient according to its coaches' expectations. It can be easy to get away with against an inferior opponent, but the confrontations the Dutchmen will face in their final regular season game and in the playoffs will be intensified and heightened.
Annville-Cleona (6-3, 2-3 Section Three) topped Columbia 35-8 Friday night to rebound after a tough loss to Section leader Northern Lebanon last week. Columbia (1-8) narrowly outgained the Dutchmen by a single yard (322-321), but weren't able to connect on big plays in a game that turned sloppy in the second half.
"I'm not very happy with our effort, I thought we could have played a lot better," Annville-Cleona head coach Matt Gingrich said. "On the contrary, I got to give a lot of credit to Columbia. I'll tell you this — that must have been one of the best 1-7 team's effort wise. If they had 35 kids, they're probably not 1-7."
Senior quarterback Adam Fox continued to shine for A-C, running in three touchdowns while throwing for another. Fox attempted just four passes on the night, completing two of them to wide receiver Alec Barr, including his 38-yard connection with the senior wide out in the third quarter, which give the Dutchmen a 28-0 advantage.
The home team took a 21-0 lead into halftime after a strong start against one-win Columbia. Although the Crimson Tide have just one win to show for, Gingrich lauded the effort of a team severely lacking depth in their roster.
Along with his touchdown reception, Barr had an exceptional game for the Dutchmen. He ran back an interception for a 46-yard touchdown return in the third quarter, along with collecting another interception in the second half. A-C's hounding defense forced Crimson Tide senior quarterback Dominic Sierra into three interceptions.
Annville-Cleona honored its 1990 undefeated team at halftime, a club that featured former head coach Terry Lehman. He retired last year leading to the hiring of Gingrich, who has found success in his first year as A-C's head coach.
"It's been good," Gingrich explained of his first year at the Dutchmen helm. "There's been some unexpected issues. We've had a lot more injuries than the last couple of years. If anything has happened, it's happened. We've had lightning storm games, we've driven to away games that have gotten cancelled, we've had two overtime games.
"We lost seven very good lineman and one running back. I think we're probably right where we had hoped for," he added. "There's a game or two we would like to have back. We're probably where we're supposed to be."
The Dutchmen close out their season Friday night at home against Pequea Valley, who are tied with A-C with identical 2-3 Section records.
Annville-Cleona 35, Columbia 8
AC- Adam Fox two yard run (Matt Light kick missed)
AC- Fox five yard run (conversion good)
AC- Alec Barr 46 yard interception return (Light kick)
AC- Fox 38 yard pass to Barr (Light kick)
C- Javon McIntyre five yard run (conversion successful)
AC- Fox 26 yard run (Light kick)
Rushing: AC- Fox 18-96, Langan 13-124, Bomgardner 7-48, Barr 1-0; C-McIntyre 20-116, Sierra 14-21, Miller 11-50, Vazquez 5-11, Ramos 1-0
Passing: AC- Fox 2-4-53-1; C- Sierra 10-14-124-3
Receiving: AC- Barr 2-53; C- Vazquez 2-80, Kashner 1-15, Miller 1-9, McIntyre 2-0, Musser 4-20