The game matters. The competition matters. Their teammates matter.
Results are important to members of the Lebanon football team. But there are other things that matter just as much to the Cedars.
On a warm Thursday evening at Lebanon’s Alumni Stadium, the homestanding Cedars dropped a tough 45-7 mercy-rule decision to Garden Spot. After Lebanon had built a bit of momentum during the second quarter, the visiting Spartans totally dominated the second half of play.
The Cedars performed much better than they did during a 51-7 season-opening setback to Palmyra last week. But Lebanon still committed too many mistakes, missed too many assignments and didn’t win enough of the battles up front to emerge victorious.
The loss was Lebanon’s 24th straight over four seasons and left it 0-2 this year. Garden Spot improved to 2-0.
Ironically, Lebanon’s last victory came against the Spartans, a 35-23 home triumph on October 9, 2020.
“It is a good vibe,” said Lebanon head coach Frank Isenberg of his team’s culture. “These are great kids. I love them all dearly. They have great personalities. They come to work. As an educator, I’m always teaching. But the results are important. These kids need to have some success. They want that win badly.”
For a brief moment during the second period last night, it appeared that elusive win might be within reach.
After another slow start had put them in a 17-point hole, the Cedars pieced together an impressive ten-play, 91-yard march to cut their deficit to 17-7. Junior signal-caller Kareem Stoner went six-for-six on the drive, including a 20-yard touchdown strike to senior Braylon Beaver in the left corner of the end zone.
“Kareem Stoner made some great decisions on that drive,” said Isenberg. “He had some opportunities to run the football in the quick game. Going into halftime, it was a two-score game.
“The energy was different this week,” said Isenberg. “The kids looked like they were in the game. The defense made some stops, and we found some rhythm offensively in the second quarter.”
But Garden Spot short circuited any hopes Lebanon had of a second-half comeback with a 21-point third period. With quarterback Kyle Harting showing the way, the Spartans tallied a pair of touchdowns in a 2:54 span right after halftime to open a 31-7 bulge.
“There were some encouraging things,” said Isenberg. “We made some adjustments at halftime. Then we came out in the second half and had a three-and-out on our first possession, and it snowballed from there.”
The Cedars found themselves behind the proverbial eight-ball early.
Garden Spot marched the opening possession of the contest 65 yards in six plays to grab the lead. And when Harting scrambled two yards inside the left pylon, the Spartans had a 14-0 advantage six minutes in.
“It was a good week of practice,” said Isenberg. “These kids battle. They always do. We have seniors who have aspirations beyond high school. They haven’t won a game in two-and-a-half years. They want to turn things around.”
Thanks in part to 221 yards on the ground, Garden Spot out gained Lebanon 356 total yards to 211. Stoner completed 16 of his 27 pass attempts for 142 yards and two interceptions.
Head Coach: Frank Isenberg
Assistant Coaches: Greg Herr, Tyler Roth, Jason Capello, Nathan Myers
|26||Jesucristo Echevarria Figueroa||WR/LB||Junior|
|70||Elis Bentez Jimenez||OL/DL||Sophomore|
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