Wilson outlasted Cedar Crest 21-13 in a penalty-laden and mistake-filled game before a capacity crowd at Earl Boltz Stadium on Friday night.
While both teams were plagued with penalties and turnovers, it was Cedar Crest’s mistakes that head coach Rob Wildasin said cost them the game. The loss dropped the Falcons’ record to 4-1, and 1-1 in Lancaster-Lebanon League Section One play. Wilson is 3-2 and 2-0 in sectional play.
“I never question our kids, their desire, their guts, their toughness, never, just never will, not this group,” said Wildasin. “Just too many little mistakes to beat a good football team. You can’t do it. We made some tonight. Obviously, they did, too, but I felt like, in moments, we had big plays that we just missed out on and you just don’t beat good football teams when you do that.”
After Cedar Crest ran five plays to start the game on a beautiful evening under a fire-red sunset, they punted after making just one first down. Wilson took possession and marched down the field aided by two offside plays by Cedar Crest during a seven-play, 76-yard drive to take the lead, 7-0, with 5:08 to play in the first quarter.
Cedar Crest responded by driving the ball deep into Wilson’s terrority, assisted by pass interference on the Bulldogs. But that drive stalled three plays later and Cedar Crest missed a field goal.
Wilson failed to move the ball on their next possession, thanks, in part, to three penalties, including a holding call that eventually led to a punt.
Taking over near midfield, Cedar Crest drove the ball inside the 20-yard line with an amazing 16-yard scramble by quarterback Jackson Custer. A busted pass play that should have resulted in a loss of yards turned into a gain as Custer scrambled in the backfield, deftly avoiding a sack by dodging Wilson’s defenders.
“That’s the best team I’ve seen in a long time,” said Wilson head coach Doug Dahms. “Their QB runs well, they’ve got a little bit of speed. The front – their front – played well.”
The second consecutive Cedar Crest drive within Wilson’s 20-yard line halted two plays later, however, with an interception with 7:23 to go in the half.
Following a short Wilson possession that was marred by a holding penalty that negated a long run by senior quarterback Tommy Hunsicker, Cedar Crest took possession at midfield following a Wilson punt.
Despite being down 7-0 with just over five minutes to go in the half, Cedar Crest demonstrated their grit with a two-play scoring drive highlighted by a Custer 46-yard bomb to wide receiver Jack Waranavage. Running back Fernando Marquez rushed three yards into the end zone to make the score, 7-6, which is where it remained after a missed Cedar Crest extra-point attempt.
Despite a false start and a face mask penalty, Wilson used several big plays to move the ball 80 yards on six plays in just over three minutes to score a touchdown and up their lead to 14-6
While it seemed Cedar Crest might run out the clock with 1:09 remaining in the half and the ball deep in their own territory, the Falcons chose to pass the ball instead on three consecutive downs, failing to convert a first down in that short-lived series. That would prove to be costly after Wilson returned the punt from just over midfield to the six-yard line. What would have been a special teams touchdown for Wilson was thwarted by a fine solo tackle by Cedar Crest defender Aiden Schomp.
It would only take Wilson two plays and a Cedar Crest offside penalty to make the score 21-6 with only 16 seconds remaining in the half.
The only scoring in the second half came on a nine-play, 55-yard drive that saw Custer scramble up the middle, untouched, and into the end zone on a 14-yard run with 3:41 remaining in the third quarter.
Cedar Crest’s defense stepped up big in the second half, recovering two Wilson fumbles and intercepting a pass deep inside their own 20-yard line to keep them in the game and their opponent off the scoreboard in the second half.
Cedar Crest recovered its second fumble of the half at their own 40-yard line and it appeared momentum was in the Falcons’ favor with 9:23 to go in the game.
But the turnover bug would bite Cedar Crest late in the fourth quarter on 4th down with a Wilson interception in Cedar Crest’s end zone. A seven-minute drive that would have cut the score to two points was marred by several penalties on Cedar Crest’s side of the ball and helped contribute to the interception late in the game.
“We got first and 20 and we had to figure out a way to get it and we did but then we got something like first and 20 again and I was like, ‘Here we go,’” said Wildasin. “But back-to-back first and 20s are not in your favor to get those. We got one, which was awesome, but we couldn’t capitalize down there. That’s frustrating because we really had an opportunity to beat a really good football team.”
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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