Lancaster Lebanon League – Section 5
Head Coach: Jason Rice – 3rd season
Top Returners: Tanner Feagley (Sr., WR/DE); Moises Gonzalez (Sr., WR/LB); Luke Shaffer (Sr., LB/TE); Hayden Adams (Jr., OL/DL); Eli Thompson (Jr., OL/DL); Myles Watson (Jr., RB/DB)
Key Losses: Jared Ecenroad; Grady Stichler; James Voight
2022 Results: 2-8
On the Radio: Northern Lebanon Viking Football can be heard on WLBR/Froggy Valley twice this season: September 1 against Susquehanna Township and when they host Annville-Cleona on October 27. Click for the full radio schedule.
Northern Lebanon Football Season Outlook
In 2021, Coach Rice took over the head coaching role at Northern Lebanon. In his first year, he led the Vikings to their first District 3 Playoff appearance since 2017. Unfortunately, the 2022 campaign did not go quite as planned, with the team completing a two-win season.
Of the experience, Coach Rice recently told WLBR’s Laura LeBeau, “In reality we thought we better than we were. So, we came into games with some overconfidence. You know, we respect our opponents recognizing that we had a tough league schedule and everything. I just think on our end we thought we better when we were so we came out with a little bit of an edge to us.”
This is something that the 3rd year head coach is looking to learn from and lead his young men into the 2023 season. Speaking on the topic of how his team will continue to ready itself, Rice said, “Take it day by day and when that time comes in where we may be against the clock or against the scoreboard, just be ready to respond to it.” Taking this lesson to heart, Coach Rice noticed a change in attitude and demeanor last weekend when they scrimmaged Minersville.
When Week 1 arrives on Friday night, Rice will field a veteran team after only losing five seniors to graduation. The Vikings are still young, rostering only five seniors for the second straight year. Out of that, they will return most of their starters on both sides of the ball.
Leading the way for the Vikings will be three of those seniors, Tanner Feagley, Moises Gonzalez, and Luke Shaffer who will be serving as captains. Feagley earned accolades last year for his play at defensive end and will hope to cause issues as the team’s outside wide receiver this season. Gonzalez plays linebacker and will use his toughness to be the swiss-army knife for the Vikings, having racked up over 700 all-purpose yards last season. Shaffer is a hard-nosed linebacker who has shown the ability to fly all over the field, racking up a whopping 141.5 tackles in ’22. While all three are key players on the field, it is their leadership that may be their most valuable asset.
When weighing what it would take to be successful this season, Shaffer showed evidence that he’s been paying attention to his coach’s lessons when he told LeBeau, “I think we just have to stay focused, do our job, everybody give their 100% on every play for every play, the whole game.”
Gonzalez echoed that sentiment, saying that his role is, “Just trying to do my job every play.”
While Feagley said that Shaffer and Gonzalez are the verbal leaders, he said that attempts to lead by example on and off of the field.
The team also has several younger players that will play key roles this season. Sophomore Kael Erdman started the final two games at quarterback and look to build on that foundation. Junior Myles Watson will line up behind Erdman, as he looks to give the Vikings a solid rushing option again this year after showing flashes during his sophomore season.
While the team has some very good talent up top, they are well-aware of their Achilles’ heel. Feagley summed up the issue as, “We’re a little bit more undersized than most of the teams we go against, even though some of the schools are our size and we just we don’t have quite the numbers that they do.” This causes issues with depth as the games and the season wear on. Coach Rice expressed confidence in his top guys and recognizes that the solution is in developing second-string players who can compete at nearly the same level.
Knowing that there is a true challenge posed by Northern Lebanon’s larger Section 5 opponents, Rice said, “We’ve got schools like Hamburg, like Lancaster Catholic, Schuylkill Valley, I mean there’s Annville even right down south from here. Those are schools you gotta come up ready to compete, but I do think longevity-wise, we’ll be able to compete down the road in.”
Speaking of this season, Rice said, “In life, you’re going to face adversity one way or the other. How do you respond to it?”
The captains have stated their answers and the development of the drive to compete successfully is something that the Feagley, Gonzalez, and Shaffer understand and hope to impart on their younger teammates before they finish their high school football careers.
– Written by Dan Rau with quotes taken from Laura Lebeau’s team interview
(You can listen to Laura LeBeau each weekday morning 6-9 am on WLBR 1270 am)
Returning Key Performers
Luke Shaffer# – 141.5 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 1 tip leading to INT
Moises Gonzalez# – Over 700 all-purpose yards as a receiving, rushing, and as a kick returner
Myles Watson – Over 400 yards rushing / 2 INTs
Kael Erdman – 2 games starting at quarterback, threw for over 500 yards, 4 passing TDs, 1 rushing TD
Tanner Feagley# – Selected as All-County / All-Conference team as a defensive end
# selected as team captain
2023 Northern Lebanon Football Schedule
8/25 @ Pine Grove Area
9/1 v Susquehanna Township (radio)
9/9 @ York County School of Technology
9/15 @ Pequea Valley*
9/22 v Lancaster Catholic*
9/29 @ Schuylkill Valley*
10/6 @ Kutztown*
10/13 v Columbia*
10/20 @ Hamburg*
10/27 v Annville-Cleona* (radio)
*Section 5 game
2023 Northern Lebanon Football Roster
Head Coach: Jason Rice
Assistant Coaches: Mark Rice, Josh Thompson, John Heisey, Josh Wolfe, Rusty Wallace, Hunter Wallace, Collin Wall
For any comments or feedback, please reach out to Dan via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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