LEBANON — This one went according to a now-familiar script.
Cedar Crest cruised to a 28-6 win over Lebanon in the annual Cedar Bowl at Earl Boltz Stadium.
How the Falcons did it might be seen as a mild surprise.
According to coach Rob Wildasin and most observers, the Falcons expect to be heavily run-oriented, with veteran RB Tyler Cruz and a veteran offensive line.
It didn't quite work out that way Friday night. Cruz managed 79 tough yards in 23 carries. The Falcons' netted just 69 yards on the ground.
Big plays were the difference, and junior Chris Danz, the Falcons' new starting QB, was the catalyst of most of them.
Danz, son of former Falcons QB Chris and grandson of Cedar Crest coaching legend Norbie, completed nine of 14 passes for 194 yards, and the three TDs that were the difference.
"I would agree with that,'' Cedar Crest coach Rob Wildasin said. "I thought he settled in quickly and did a good job.''
The Crest TDs were on a 1-yard run by Cruz, but set up by a 33-yard throw to tight end Nick Achey; a 6-yard Danz strike to Brayden Koehler; a 54-yard catch-and-sprint by Chris Rios; and a 39-yard bomb to Cole Miller.
The last of those illustrated what the Falcons can and hope to be.
To begin the second half, Crest gave it to Cruz three straight times, for 7, 7 and 9 yards. On second-and-one at the Lebanon 39, Wildson dialed up the perfect call, the Falcons sold the play-action perfectly, Danz lofted a perfect deep ball and Miller took care of the rest.
Lebanon played with fire to the very end, but will rue an endless series of mistakes. The Cedars had 17 penalties for 116 yards.
"We came out nervous,'' said Lebanon coach Gery Yonchiuk. "All the mistakes … that has to be on me. It's coaching. I take ownership of that.
"It's that deer-in-the-headlights thing. I wish I could figure out how to get them over that.''
Isaiah Rodriguez, the Cedars' 6-5 junior QB, threw it often as expected. He finished 21 of 38, but for a modest 147 yards. Cedar Crest managed to keep the Cedars receivers in front of them and avoid the big play.
"I thought he was running for his life a lot,'' Yonchiuk. "He made a lot of mature decisions.''
As for the Crest running game as it preps for big, physical sides in Section One of the Lancaster-Lebanon League, Wildasin said, "I give hats off to (Lebanon's) defensive front. Those kids are good and they're going to get better. Having said that, we have some things to clean up assignment- wise.”
The win was Cedar Crest’s eighth straight in the series, which it leads alltime 32-15-1.