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.

Lebanon junior Kai Rivera weaves his way through traffic during action in last night’s game. When the Cedars did commit to the run game, Rivera was effective. (Jeff Falk)

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.

Lebanon quarterback Kareem Stoner fakes a hand-off to running back Kai Rivera. (Jeff Falk)

“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.”

Lebanon sophomore Malachi Briddell turns the corner on the Garden Spot defense. Briddell’s speed helped the Cedars stretch the field. (Jeff Falk)

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.

From the sideline, Lebanon senior Derrick Briddell is an interested observer. (Jeff Falk)

“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.

Lebanon speedster Malachi Briddell tries to out flank the Garden Spot defense. (Jeff Falk)

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.”

Senior Josiah Wright grabs a bow on the sidelines. Wright is one of Lebanon’s emotional leaders. (Jeff Falk)

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.

Lebanon senior Mahkye Cortes rehydrates. (Jeff Falk)

Lebanon Cedars

Read all our coverage of the Cedars here.


Head Coach: Frank Isenberg

Assistant Coaches: Greg Herr, Tyler Roth, Jason Capello, Nathan Myers

Jersey NumberNamePositionGrade
2Derek InfanteWR/DBSenior
4Riquelme EstevezWR/DBSenior
5Jack HerrWR/LBSenior
6Derrick BriddellWR/DBSenior
7Tayvian RiveraWR/DBSenior
8Malachi BriddellWR/DBSophomore
9Aidan FernandezTE/LBSenior
10Brandyn CastroQBJunior
11Braylon BeaverWR/DBSenior
12Jahkeim MedlockRB/DBSenior
13Benjamin FenstermakerWR/DBSenior
14Jeavon CortesWR/LBSenior
15Paul TraceWR/DBSenior
16Josiah WrightTE/DLSenior
17Kareem StonerQB/DBJunior
18Juan RiveraWR/DBSophomore
19Jovani Rivera-GonzalezWR/DBSophomore
20Kai RiveraRB/LBJunior
21Sebastian PolancoRB/LBSophomore
22Camron BuchmoyerRB/LBSophomore
24Anthony KlishWR/DBSophomore
25Nathan BorderRB/LBSenior
26Jesucristo Echevarria FigueroaWR/LBJunior
27Jamil GordonWR/DBSophomore
30Messiah WilsonTE/LBJunior
32Josean WrightWR/LBFreshman
33Issac CortesWR/LBJunior
34Reinaldo RiveraRB/LBJunior
50Colin DaughertyKSenior
52Omar Aguilar-OrtizOL/DLJunior
54Ethan RiveraOL/DLSophomore
60Dujhan BaezOL/DLJunior
62Daniel HersheyOL/DLSophomore
64Derryck BrickleOL/DLSophomore
65Mahkye CortesOL/DLSenior
65Colin JohnsenOL/DLSenior
70Elis Bentez JimenezOL/DLSophomore
72Cayden ClentimackOL/DLJunior
75Cameron HarbaughOL/DLSophomore
76Omar MileteOL/DLJunior
78Corbett BrickleOL/DLSenior
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Jeff Falk is a seasoned journalist based in Lebanon, PA. He's a graduate of Cedar Crest High School, Penn State University, and a lifelong resident of Lebanon, born and raised. Currently, he is a feature writer for Engle Publishing in Lancaster, the editor of, sports director at WLBR...


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