Intracounty battles highlight Week 2
Northern Lebanon travels to Cedar Crest and Elco hosts Palmyra in a pair of All-Lebanon County matchups this week.
If Lebanon County football matchups are your thing, boy, is this your week.
Not one, but two, intracounty battles highlight the Week 2 gridiron schedule locally, including one between county teams that we're pretty sure have not met before.
So let's get right to it and take a closer look at the impending Friday night clashes, most notably those all-county tussles between Northern Lebanon and Cedar Crest and Elco and Palmyra.
And away we go...
Northern Lebanon at Cedar Crest, 7 p.m.
As far as we can tell, this is the first-ever meeting between the two proud Lebanon County programs, so let history note that the initial contest took place on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016 at Earl Boltz Stadium. Unless, of course, new evidence that can't be found right now in our dusty files comes to light.
Should be a good one, too. Both teams won their openers - Northern Lebanon by a 32-13 count over Pine Grove two weeks back, Cedar Crest with a smash mouth 26-14 defeat of Lebanon in the 45th Cedar Bowl last Friday. You can also watch the livestream coverage on GameTimePA.com.
It's a measuring stick game as well. Northern Lebanon, the two-time defending Section Three champs, will get to see how it stacks up with longtime Section One resident and new Section Two entry Cedar Crest, while the Falcons will have the chance to be the physically superior team for a second straight week.
The visiting Vikings piled up 285 total yards in the win over Pine Grove, but will be facing a far more deep and athletic squad this week in the Falcons, who controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage in the Cedar Bowl.
To have a shot at a 2-0 start, NL will need good production from its offensive catalysts, senior running back Luke Funck and junior quarterback Michigan Daub, who had a hand in all five Viking touchdowns in the win against Pine Grove. But perhaps even more importantly, Northern Lebanon will need to find a way to slow down a Crest offense that was mighty impressive against Lebanon, led by power backs Justice Belleman and AJ Apple, who combined for 274 of the Falcons' 285 rushing yards last week.
Receiver Tate Seyfert also had a big night at the Cedar Bowl, hauling in two Logan Horn touchdown passes and running for a third.
Gotta think Northern Lebanon will show well in this one, but also believe Cedar Crest will have too many horses in the end. Pick: Cedar Crest.
Palmyra at Elco, 7 p.m.
The visiting Cougars have won both games since beginning this series with Elco in 2014, and it's going to be hard for the hosts to deny a third straight Palmyra victory.
The Cougars have been sensational in jetting to a 2-0 start, outscoring opponents Camp Hill and West Perry by a combined 66-7 margin, and there's been a lot to like along the way.
The defense, led by senior defensive end Mason Cooper has been suffocating. Running backs Alon Rhette and Carl Reigle have piled up the yards and allowed Palmyra to control the ball. And new starting quarterback Peter Robertson has been a revelation, hitting on 17 of 22 passes for 225 yards and three TDs in his first two varsity starts after playing wide receiver the first three years of his career.
Don't count out Elco, though. The Raiders opened with a 17-7 win at Susquenita last week and boast senior running back Tyler Horst, a 1,300-yard plus rusher last season, and a versatile playmaker at quarterback in Kyle Knight.
The first two meetings between Elco and Palmyra were entertaining and this one should be no different. But in the end, it will probably be too much to ask for Elco to slow down the Cougars this week. Pick: Palmyra.
Lebanon at Ephrata, 7 p.m.
It wasn't a great week for Lebanon, as evidenced by the Cedar Bowl loss to Cedar Crest, but 2016 began in much better fashion for the Cedars than it did for Ephrata, which fell to Conestoga Valley 54-7 last week.
Lebanon flashed some potential in the loss to Crest, namely from QB Zakee Sailsman and running back Josh Kauffman. who accounted for 195 total yards between them. If those two, and the rest of the Cedars, play to the level they did against Cedar Crest a win should be in the cards.
Ephrata, coached by former Northern Lebanon assistant Kris Miller, figures to make progress this season but doesn't appear to be ready to get in the win column just net. Pick: Lebanon.
Annville-Cleona at Camp Hill, 7 p.m.
After a rough opening week against Trinity, A-C got on the board last week with a tight 35-32 win over Biglerville and will look to make it two in a row with a visit to 1-1 Camp Hill this week.
The Lions got handled by Palmyra two weeks ago, but bounced back to roll over Lancaster Catholic 34-14 last Friday.
A-C accumulated 395 total yards while edging Biglerville, including 166 on the ground from Caleb Turner, and will need every bit of that production to hang with the Lions, who are blessed with a breakaway back in Bill Williams and a heavily recruited tight end in Zack Kuntz, who's been on the shelf with an injury thus far.
Whether Kuntz plays or not, Camp Hill will provide a stern test for the Little Dutchmen. Pick: Camp Hill.
L-L Quarterback Club Players of the Week
Annville-Cleona swept the Section Three honors this week, thanks to Caleb Turner and Isaac Burris.
Turner picked up Section Three Back of the Week honors after running for 164 yards on 19 carries and scoring two touchdowns last week, while Burris nabbed the Lineman of the Week award after exploding for 12 tackles, including four for a loss, and producing a high blocking grade on offense.
Other honorees were: Section One Lineman of the Week - Mike Sadis (Conestoga Valley), Section One Back of the Week - Eric Graff (Conestoga Valley), Section Two Lineman of the Week - Gunnar Royer, Section Two Back of the Week - Kody Kegarise.