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READING — The train that had carried them to their first district playff berth in 16 years was coming to a slow halt. The chugging, 5-yards-per-rush locomotive conducted by junior Justice Belleman and built on a sturdy offensive line then went from slow to stopped. And at last the wheels came off, bringing the historic ride to an abrupt end.

No. 14 Cedar Crest suffered a 46-0 shutout at third-seed Exeter in the opening round of the District Three Class AAAA playoffs Friday, ending a bright campaign on a sour note. The Falcons (5-6) failed to establish their patented running game at any point, earning only a single first down after halftime when Exeter (11-0) had led 24-0. Eagles quarterback Gabe Schappell rushed for two touchdowns and tossed another, accumulating 320 yards of offense all by himself.

Belleman picked up only 26 on the ground, as Cedar Crest's veteran offensive line seemed to meet its match. Nevertheless, second-year coach Rob Wildasin left the field leading a proud group, which has improved markedly over his short tenure.

"I was really proud of our kids," Wildasin said. "They worked really hard to get to this point. It was a goal we set out to accomplish, and we did it. We didn't play very well tonight, but I'm super proud of these guys. They have no reason to hang their heads."

Down 3-0 heading into the second quarter, Cedar Crest surrendered a first-play rushing touchdown to Schappell, who had been set up by a 73-yard catch-and-run reeled in by LeRoy Longenecker (171 yards, two touchdowns). Less than two minutes later, following a Falcons three-and-out, Schappell struck again through the air, finding Matt Feeney on a 28-yard rope. The converted tight end eventually finished 6-for-7 passing on the night, before yielding to back-up quarterback Michael Stout, who later hit Longenecker for the game's final score.

"It loosened them up," Exeter coach Matt Bauer said of the passing success. "We really took a lot of time this week to work on timing with the receivers ... (Schappell) made great decisions all night long and that was definitely the key to start loosening them up a little bit."

Now trailing 17-0 with less than five minutes to go until the break, Cedar Crest gained possession on a lost fumble and calmly marched down inside the red zone. Two short runs and an incomplete slant to Evan Horn then ensued, as Wildasin called for timeout facing a critical fourth down. The call, a fade pass from freshman signal caller Logan Horn to senior tight end Raymie Ferriera, eventually fell incomplete, seemingly taking with it any semblance of Falcons hope remaining straight to the turf.

And if that weren't the case, Schappell ensured all hope was gone when he raced 92 yards back the other way on the very next snap.

"Our line is still very good I think," Bauer said. "We can still control the line of scrimmage on most guys."

On the other side of intermission, the Falcons took the second-half kick and returned to the field only to move backwards 10 yards, an ominous sign for the rest of their second-half efforts.

"We made some adjustments at half, but we didn't execute," Wildasin said. "But they fought. And they're feeling it a little bit right now, but that means they care. And that's been a long time since Cedar Crest football cared."

Exeter 46, Cedar Crest 0

CC_ 0_ 0_ 0_ 0_— _0

E_ 3_ 21_ 15_ 7_— _46

First Quarter

E - Brentz 40-yard field goal

Second Quarter

E - Schappell 1-yard rush (Brentz kick)

E - Feeney 28-yard pass from Schappell (Brentz kick)

E - Schappell 92-yard rush (Brentz kick)

Third Quarter

E - Sarangoulis 34-yard rush (Sarangoulis rush)

E - Longenecker 5-yard rush (Brentz kick)

Fourth Quarter

E - Longenecker 70-yard pass from Stout (Brentz kick)

._CC_ E

First downs_ 5 _ 15

Rushes-Yards_ 26-24 _ 37-307

Passing_ 4-13 _ 7-9

Passing Yards_ 66 _ 221

Total Yards_ 98 _ 528

Punts_ 7-34 _ 1-24

Fumbles-Lost_ 4-2 _ 4-2

Penalties-Yards_ 3-16 _ 9-76

Rushing — CC, Justice Belleman 14-26, Logan Horn 1-13, Evan Horn 6-12, Iziah Trimble 1-1, Stevie Roda 4-(-24). E, Gabe Schappell 11-169, Nick Sarangoulis 9-59, Hector Roman 6-26, LeRoy Longenecker 4-16, Chris Scott 3-13, Gage Moran 3-10, Jack Fiucci 1-8.

Passing — CC, L. Horn 3-8-46-0-1, Roda  1-5-20-0-0. E, Schappell 6-7-151-1-1, Michael Stout 1-2-70-1-0.

Receiving — CC, Kobe Bolanos 1-25, Trimble 1-20, E. Horn 1-15, Greyson Williams 1-6. E, Longenecker 3-155, Matt Feeney 2-45, Sarangoulis 2-5.

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