Michael “Big Mike” Rivera had the best seat in the house for the Cedar Crest football team’s season-opening matchup with Northeast High School from Philadelphia at Earl Boltz Stadium on Friday night.

And his former teammates made sure that Rivera liked what he saw while looking down on them from above.

With memories of the popular and personable Rivera, who tragically lost his life in a car crash back in April, on their minds and in their hearts, the Falcons opened the 2023 season with a thorough 24-0 victory over Northeast High School from Philadelphia.

Read More: CLSD super discusses support for high school after false alarm, student death

Led by an interception from Logan Oriel and a fumble recovery by Richie Hernandez, Cedar Crest pitched a shutout on defense with the help of a goal line stand in the waning seconds of play and got all the offense they would need in the form of Fernando, Marquez’s 20-yard TD burst with 7:55 left in the opening quarter.

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 Friday night. (Will Trostel)
Cedar Crest’s Logan Oriel goes up high for an interception. (Will Trostel)

The Falcons added a 7-yard scoring run from quarterback Jackson Custer midway through the second quarter and closed the half with a 23-yard TD pass from Custer to Jack Waranavage with just 43 seconds remaining before intermission, for a commanding 21-0 lead.

Even more impressive was the way the Falcons honored their fallen teammate and his family, who was in attendance, with a pregame moment of silence, among other tributes.

“Michael was a big personality that has inspired us all to be better and to care for each other,” said Cedar Crest head coach Rob Wildasin said of Rivera, who would have been a senior.

The contest’s other main storyline was Cedar Crest’s inspired defensive play, which bottled up Northeast throughout and without being bothered a bit by the heat and humidity that hung over the area Friday.

“Great job by the defense,” said Wildasin. “It was a battle of attrition tonight with the heat. The kids from Northeast were very physical.”

Cedar Crest’s Owen Chernich makes a solo tackle on Northeast’s David Akpuru. (Will Trostel)

Cedar Crest, which next travels to Central Dauphin East for a non-league clash on Thursday, seemed to tire on offense in the second half, though, managing only Ethan Bowman’s 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter that provided the final margin of victory.

“Now we need to get ourselves healthy for a Thursday night battle at CD East,” said Wildasin.

Cedar Crest Falcons

Read all our coverage of the Falcons here.


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
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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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