A big “50th” is usually more of a milestone for those paying close attention to age than it is about anything else.
But it is also not an insignificant number of head coaching victories to attain. Particularly in this day and age, when coaching stints tend to be fairly short, given the many responsibilities and demands placed on those who take on such jobs.
Though he not surprisingly downplayed its significance, Rob Wildasin was nonetheless pleased and maybe even a little bit proud of his 50th career victory as Cedar Crest’s head coach, which came in the form of Friday night’s 42-13 throttling of Penn Manor in the Section 1 opener for both teams at Earl Boltz Stadium.
Not because of what it meant for him personally, but because of what it said about the 2023 edition of the Falcons, the 10th Cedar Crest squad Wildasin has guided since taking over the program in 2014.
Now 4-0 overall and 1-0 in Section 1, Cedar Crest picked up Wildasin’s 50th victory in much the same manner as it registered its first three victories of the season — with an attacking, smothering defense and a power running game led by senior bruiser Fernando Marquez.
Marquez rumbled for 117 yards on 17 carries and scored three touchdowns, all before halftime, and the Falcon D did the majority of their damage before intermission as well, forcing four turnovers that included a Malachi Victor fumble return for a touchdown.
It added up to a 35-0 halftime lead that assured an invoking of the mercy rule and a running clock for the entire second half.
“It’s kind of who we are,” said Wildasin of his squad, which is so far more reliant on the run game and defense than many past versions that featured the pass. “We can throw it, but any team would prefer to run if they could do it. Defense has played great, running game has played great, and I’ve got a bunch of seniors up front that should be able to move people. And (Marquez) is just awesome.”
“We’re playing with (house money). We’re just coming out to have fun. Six more weeks.”
Indeed, there is six more weeks of regular season football to be played, but if the Falcons can maintain their current level of play, the 2023 campaign could go into November.
Cedar Crest wasted no time taking control of the contest, grabbing an early 7-0 lead on a 5-yard touchdown blast with 7:06 still to play in the first quarter.
The Falcons then showed they can still throw it around on their second possession when Jackson Custer connected with Leo Tirado on a 29-yard touchdown strike for a 14-0 lead with just over three minutes left in the first.
Marquez struck again six seconds into the second on a 9-yard touchdown run, and added his third and final touchdown of the night later in the second from 10 yards out.
And it was only right that the defense would get involved in the scoring, as Malachi Victor closed out a first half effort that also featured fumble recoveries by Richie Hernandez and Kenyon Figueroa and a pick by Logan Oriel by returning a fumble 17 yards to paydirt.
“It was a really good team effort,” said Wildasin of the Falcons’ defensive work. “(senior linebacker) Caleb Dorshimer looked awesome, he’s been playing great football and he played great tonight. Malachi was great and Richie Hernandez played tough. And the guys up front do all the dirty work, it’s hard to not say anything about them.”
More hard work and toughness will be needed next week as well, when perennial power Wilson visits the Cedar Crest campus in South Lebanon Township for a key Section 1 matchup.
And if history is any indication, Cedar Crest will be ready to do battle.
“It’s another week. And we’ll be ready for them,” Wildasin said. “They’re good, and we know that. It’ll be fun.”
The Falcons haven’t always won these types of games under Wildasin but they have always shown up.
“It’s really been a loyal staff, a bunch of guys that have committed and are still here,” he said, reflecting on his decade as head coach at Cedar Crest. “I don’t think many people thought we’d get to where we are in 10 years. I get it that other programs are celebrating 10 wins a year, but we know who we are and we know where we fight. I’m super proud of all the kids that played here and all the coaches that I’ve had the privilege to coach with.”
Cedar Crest Falcons
Head Coach: Rob Wildasin
Assistant Coaches: Nick Lambros, Brandon Kirsch, Brian Powers, Tom Gerhart, Shawn Rambler, Tom Waranavage, Logan Horn, Jona Padilla, Nevin Pagan, Bob Peebles, Bob Griffiths, Gary Wildasin
|1||Leo Tirado Jr.||12||WR/DB|
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