Now that we’ve reached the halfway point of the high school football season – yes, we’re somehow five games into the 2023 campaign and no, I have no idea where the time goes – it seems to be a good time to take a look at the efforts of Lebanon County’s five Lancaster-Lebanon League representatives in the first half of the season.

We’ll check out where they are as the stretch drive fast approaches, how they got there, and where they might be headed over the final five weeks of the regular season.

And away we go…

Annville-Cleona

Record: 3-2 overall, 2-0 in Section 5

This week: Home vs. Kutztown

What’s gone right: After a bit of a shaky 1-2 start to the season, lowlighted by a resounding 49-7 loss to county rival ELCO, A-C has righted its ship with back-to-back impressive wins over Hamburg and Columbia. Those two wins have both lifted the Dutchmen into Section 5 title contention and elevated them to the No. 2 spot in the 2A district power rankings.

What’s gone wrong: The defense was rather leaky early, allowing 100 points over the first three games before producing back-to-back stingy efforts while allowing just 7 points in each of the last two wins vs. Hamburg and Columbia.

First half MVP: Cael Harter, senior running back. The speedy Harter has teamed with Bryce Keller to give A-C a formidable backfield duo to replace the 2,000 yards piled up by the graduated Phoenix Music a season ago. Harter has romped for 468 yards on just 53 carries and scored six touchdowns thus far and could be headed for more similarly productive efforts the rest of the way

What’s ahead: Plenty of games that matter, including key Section 5 matchups with co-leaders Lancaster Catholic and Schuylkill Valley the next three weeks that will go a long way toward determining A-C’s section title and district playoff fate.

AC makes their way onto the field for their Thursday, Aug. 31, game against ELCO. (Will Trostel)

Annville-Cleona Dutchmen

Read all our coverage of the Dutchmen here.

Roster

Head Coach: Matt Gingrich

Assistant Coaches: Joe Heckard, Greg Keener, Joe Shay, Jon Bopp, Drew Speraw, Cody Dodson, Jonathan Lum, Mike Miller

Jersey NumberNameGradePosition
1Miles Riehl11WR/DB
2Cash Watson12WR/DB
3Carson Grow12WR/DB
4Cael Harter12RB/DB
6Noah Riehl10WR/DB
7Wyatt Mase10QB/DB
8Liam Pulaski12WR/DB
9Gavin Martens10WR/DB
10Jonas Cupak11WR/DB
11Bryce Keller11RB/DB
13Ryan Barrientos11RB/LB
14Jonathan Moran10RB/LB
16Cameron Connelly12QB/DB
17Kaeli Pennington11WR/DB
19Yamaliel Navarro9RB/DB
21Mina Elzek12K
22Aidan Blauch11WR/DB
24Hudson Sellers10RB/LB
31Dominic Casciotti11WR/DB
33Luke Wentling10RB/LB
35Jack Getty11WR/DB
36Ivan Kreider11TE/LB
41Jonathon Shay11RB/DL
44Levi Heckard10TE/DL
50Dan Bright-Walck10OL/DL
51Alex Hemperly11OL/LB
52Damien Miller12OL/DL
53Anthony Gardner12OL/DL
54Malacai Victa11OL/DL
55Travis Wilk10OL/DL
59Jordan Nickens10OL/DL
64Armani Santos10OL/DL
68Nathanael Sanchez10OL/DL
70Blake Meyer10OL/DL
72Alec Tetzlaff12OL/DL
75Carter Smith12OL/DL
76Preston Bomgardner11OL/DL
77Jaxon Speece9OL/DL
87Darrian Holloway12TE/LB
89Timothy Montijo12RB/DL

Cedar Crest

Record: 4-1 overall, 1-1 in Section 1

This week: At Reading

What’s gone right: A lot, quite frankly. The Falcons jetted to a 4-0 start before dropping its first game of the season, reluctantly, to Wilson, 21-13, last week. And Cedar Crest has been impressive on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the power running of Fernando Marquez and his nine touchdowns has shown the way, and linebacker Caleb Dorshimer leads a defensive unit that is easily the best group the Falcons have thrown out there in many years.

What’s gone wrong: With the exception of some self-inflicted wounds against Wilson last week, not much. If the Falcons maintain their current level of play, there’s no reason they can’t go at least 8-2 and earn a 6A district playoff berth.

First half MVP: This one goes to Marquez, who gets the nod ever so slightly over Dorshimer, by virtue of his nose for the end zone and his physical running style that simply wears down opponents on a weekly basis.

What’s ahead: A severe test awaits the Falcons next week when they visit perennial Section 1 powerhouse Manheim Township. But the rest of the schedule, which includes Reading, McCaskey, Hempfield and Lebanon, is more than manageable and gives Crest an excellent shot at 8-2 and the postseason berth that would almost surely go with it.

Cedar Crest running back Fernando Marquez heads for the end zone on a 20-yard TD in the Falcons’ season-opening 24-0 victory vs. Northeast High School on Friday, Aug 25. (Will Trostel)

Cedar Crest Falcons

Read all our coverage of the Falcons here.

Roster

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

Jersey NumberNameGradePosition(s)
0Alex Abreu12RB/DB
1Leo Tirado Jr.12WR/DB
2Owen Chernich12WR/DB
3Asher Ford12WR/DB
4Jack Waranavage11WR/DB
5Cristhian Viveros11WR/DB
6Cameron Tirado10WR/DB
7Kayden Tirado11RB/LB
8Jackson Custer11QB/DB
9Seth Warren11TE/DL
10Fernando Marquez12RB/LB
11Logan Oriel12WR/LB
12Lucas Nolan11WR/DB
13Diego Yanez10WR/LB
14Connor McCracken10TE/DE
15Cameron Hansell10QB/DB
16Malachi Victor11WR/LB
17Kaeleb Fees11WR/DB
18Travis Kemberling10WR/DB
19Dillon Hoffman11WR/DB
20Yadi Rosario10WR/DB
21Caleb Dorshimer12TE/LB
22Kenyon Figueroa12WR/DB
23Josh Tricoche11RB/DB
24Preston Barton12WR/DB
25Noah Miller10RB/LB
26Richie Hernandez12FB/LB
27Landen Weaber10WR/LB
28Landyn Kline10RB/LB
29Liam Setcavage10WR/DB
30Justin Moreno10WR/DB
31Alex Thies11WR/DB
32Samantha Fink10K
33Kai Speaks9WR/LB
34Antonio Tirado9WR/DB
35Eli Beard9RB/DB
36Ethan Bowman11K
37Dominic Roth12RB/LB
38Isaiah Zimmerman9RB/LB
39Tre Wamsher11WR/DB
40Joe Arnt11RB/LB
41Jordan Eisenhauer12WR/DB
42Anthony Lantz11WR/DB
43Garrett Starry9TE/LB
44Skyler Sherman9WR/DB
45Conner Rowe11WR/DB
46Jackson Chernich9TE/DE
47Terrance Wilson9WR/DB
48Calvin Dash9WR/DB
49Gavin Berkheimer9OL/DL
50Aidan Arnold11OL/DE
51Keenon Hopple9OL/DL
52Caden Wolfe9OL/DL
53Nicholas Lambros12OL/DT
54Paxton Thomas10OL/DL
55Cameron Simone12OL/DE
56Christian Weaber12OL/DL
57Tyler Toscano10OL/DL
58Alex Kissinger11OL/DL
59Christian Simpson10OL/DL
60Wyatt Fox10OL/DL
61Jordan Cullen11OL/DL
62Brady Shobe10OL/DT
63Austin Brubaker11OL/DL
64Jayden Storm10OL/DL
65Evan Pierce11OL/DL
66Landen Gross10OL/DE
67Damarius Galarza10OL/DE
68Carter Eisenhauer11OL/DL
69Jimmy Trump10OL/DL
70Tristan Long11OL/DL
71Pal Bhavsar12OL/DL
72Carter Ober10OL/DL
73Ahmed Mohamed11OL/DL
74Isaiah Sepulveda12OL/DL
75Connor Shanaman10OL/DL
76Michael Rivera12OL/DL
77Nathanael Harbaugh11OL/DL
78Bruce Gonzalez10OL/DL
79Alex Contreras11OL/DL
80Ben Custer9TE/DE
81Jayden Marley10WR/DB
82Chase Warren9TE/DE
83Luke Oriel10QB/DB
84Cole Shanaman9OL/DL
85Cole Stevenson11OL/DL
86Nolan Brubaker9TE/LB
87Aiden Schomp12TE/DE
88Grayson Frankenstein11TE/DE
91Bryan Duffy10RB/LB
99Dylan Fuhrman11TE/DE

ELCO

Record: 4-1 overall, 1-1 in Section 4

This week: At Cocalico

What’s gone right: Well, you see, there’s this Jake Williams fella. … Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that Williams is simply setting the league on fire with his exploits running the ball. He’s piled up a staggering 1,274 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground through five games. And, oh yeah, he’s averaging an otherworldly 14 yards – 14! – per carry. Enough said.

What’s gone wrong: Not a lot. Even last week’s loss at Wyomissing was a positive, given that ELCO didn’t back down one bit from the Berks County bullies, playing them on mostly even terms before falling 28-14.

First half MVP: Williams. Duh. Although it would be wrong to overlook the efforts of fullback Elliott Kreider, quarterback Steven Rosado, and a young and physical offensive line led by sophomore Paul Williams, who’ve all made significant contributions to ELCO’s fast start.

What’s ahead: Plenty fun of meaningful football, as the Raiders attempt to nail down a 4A district playoff spot. Also, likely more Williams heroics.

ELCO head coach Robert Miller speaks to RB Jake Williams on the sideline during an Aug. 31 game against Annville-Cleona. (Will Trostel)

ELCO Raiders

Read all our coverage of the Raiders here.

Roster

Head Coach: Robert Miller

Assistant Coaches: John Carley, Robert Williams, Wyatt Hall, Earl Thomas, John Wetzel

Jersey NumberNameGradePosition
1Jordan HartzJr.WR/DB
2Justin SmuckerJr.WR/DB
3Steven RosadoJr.QB/DB
4Shane BoyerJr.WR/LB
5Jackson ConnersSr.WR/DB
6Gavin BicherJr.QB/LB
7Phillip HorstJr.TE/DE
8Austin YeskoJr.RB/DB
9Ira GensamerSr.RB/DB
10Elliott KreiderSr.RB/LB
11Dom HerzogSr.WR/DB
14Ethan BusserJr.WR/LB
15Dante JamesSr.WR/DB
16Sara MillerSr.WR/DB
17Josh BlairJr.QB/LB
19James ProsserSr.WR/DB
20Jude WeaverSr.WR/DB
21Jonathan FisherJr.WR/DB
22Jake WilliamsSr.RB/LB
23Zane TrostleJr.RB/DB
24Mitchell FrederickJr.RB/LB
25Lee TobiasSr.RB/DB
26Landon GoodisonJr.K/P
28Butch SavichSo.WR/DB
29Issac HarmsSr.WR/DB
30Griffin KreiderFr.QB/DB
32Ellis GensamerSo.RB/LB
33Brady StoopsJr.RB/DL
34Victor FelicianoSr.WR/DB
35Dom ShaakJr.RB/DB
38Isaiah AngleySr.RB/DL
40Rhyce FaustJr.WR/DB
41Hunter MehaffeySo.WR/DB
42Elejandro WeisterSo.WR/DB
44Connor ShowalterSo.WR/DB
45J.C. DejesusJr.RB/DL
50Luke BaileySo.OL/DL
51Paul WilliamsSo.OL/DL
52Avery KurtzJr.OL/DL
53Alex Muniz CruzSr.OL/DL
54Robert LubinJr.OL/DL
55Brayden MalloyJr.OL/DL
57Mason SipeSo.OL/DL
58Carter KemperSr.OL/LB
59Tupac Vasquez-DislaJr.OL/DL
60Lukas MorascoJr.OL/DL
62Griffin FisherSr.OL/DL
63Asher GrierSo.OL/DL
64Dominick LattaruloJr.OL/DL
65Riley McDonaldSo.RB/LB
66Chris BatemanJr.OL/DL
67Ty LandisSo.RB/LB
68Jason ArnoldSr.WR/DB
71James KuhneSo.WR/DB
72Dawson OckerSr.OL/DL
74Cole HaagSo.OL/DL
75Bryce MaizeJr.OL/DL
76Josie Lebron-MatosSo.WR/DB
77Tyler ShaakSo.OL/DL
78Dylan ReddingerSr.WR/DB
79Ethan BretziusSo.OL/DL
80Tyce FiddnerJr.TE/DE
81Michael BooksJr.WR/DB
82Bryant AukerSr.WR/DB
84Noah BurgessJr.WR/DB
85Landon LeonardJr.TE/DE
87Chase HessJr.TE/DE
88Bryce HaislipSr.WR/DB
89Dalton PyzkaSo.TE/DE

Lebanon

Record: 0-5 overall, 0-2 in Section 2

This week: Home, vs. Conestoga Valley

What’s gone right: It’s been predictably rough sledding for the Cedars, who simply do not have the numbers or the firepower to compete in top-heavy Section 2.

What’s gone wrong: Lebanon has been outscored 211-33, and is averaging just shy of 147 total yards per game. There is not much else to say.

First half MVP: Probably quarterback Kareem Stoner. Stoner has completed 45 of 80 passes for three touchdowns to give Lebanon some needed production on offense.

What’s ahead: The Cedars have not won a game since Oct. 9, 2020, and that doesn’t figure to change in the second half of 2023.

Lebanon quarterback Kareen Stoner scans the field for a receiver during action in an Aug. 31 game against Garden Spot. (Jeff Falk)

Lebanon Cedars

Read all our coverage of the Cedars here.

Roster

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

Northern Lebanon

Record: 2-3 overall, 1-1 in Section 5

This week: At Schuylkill Valley

What’s gone right: The Vikings continue to make slow but steady progress under third-year head coach Jason Rice, but are not yet ready to challenge the top teams in Section 5. But thanks to guys like linebacker Luke Shaffer and running back Moises Gonzalez, the Vikings can’t be taken lightly, either.

What’s gone wrong: The Vikings opened the season with back-to-back losses to Pine Grove and Susquehanna Township, but have won two of their last three to climb back to respectability.

First half MVP: Shaffer is getting plenty of college looks and is NL’s best pure football player, but Gonzalez gets the slight nod here for his big-play ability at both running back, where he’s run for 262 yards on 20 carries and scored four touchdowns, and receiver, while catching 8 balls for 148 yards and another score.

What’s ahead: The Vikings face a difficult second half schedule but remain headed in the right direction. If they can come up with a breakthrough type of win in the second half, that could speed up the maturation process significantly.

Northern Lebanon tight end Luke Shaffer finds room down the sideline to set up Northern Lebanon’s first score in its Sept. 1 game against Susquehanna Township. (Will Trostel)

Northern Lebanon Vikings

Read all our coverage of the Vikings here.

Roster

Head Coach: Jason Rice

Assistant Coaches: Mark Rice, Josh Thompson, John Heisey, Josh Wolfe, Rusty Wallace, Hunter Wallace, Collin Wall

Jersey NumberNameGradePosition
2Bryan Mitzel10WR/DB
3Moises Gonzalez12WR/LB
4Kael Erdman10QB/LB
5Julian Rivera9QB/WR/DB
7Brendan Ryan11WR/DB
8Luke Shaffer12TE/LB
10Bryce Yocum9TE/LB
11Tanner Feagley12WR/DE
12Kaleb Barr10WR/DB
14Riley Messinger11K/P
17Owen Dohner9WR/DE
18Sincere Perez10RB/LB
19Garrett Bohn11K
20Jack Kleisath9RB/LB
21Corey Jackson11RB/DE
22Kade Erdman12WR/DB
23Eli Ostermayer12RB/LB
25Brady Ryan9WR/DB
27Jaxin Bush9WR/LB
29Myles Watson11RB/DB
30Raheim Rushton11WR/DE
42Joe Billig9WR/DB
43Jasper Uhler10WR/DB
51Matthew Chernich10OL/DL
52Russell Beers11OL/DL
55Kyle Hitz12OL/LB
57Eli Thompson11OL/DE
60Christian Peiffer10OL/DL
62Hayden Adams11OL/DL
66Caleb Wright10OL/DL
68Bryce Wimer11OL/DL
73Ethan Hughes11OL/DL
74Kale Loser11OL/DL
77Andrew Stohler11OL/DL
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Pat Huggins covered local sports for the Lebanon Daily News for almost 25 years, beginning in January of 1999. Pat was born and raised in Lebanon County and is a 1987 graduate of Lebanon High School and a 1991 alum of Elizabethtown College. A huge Phillies and 76ers fan, Pat spends his spare time on...

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