Slow start leads to first-round ouster for Lebanon

Lebanon quarterback Dakota Allen carries the ball at Springfield on Sept. 23. DAVID JABLONSKI/STAFF
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Lebanon quarterback Dakota Allen carries the ball at Springfield on Sept. 23. DAVID JABLONSKI/STAFF

The 14-year playoff drought ended for the Lebanon High School football team Friday night at home against Sycamore, but the result was not what the home fans were hoping for.

Lebanon turned the ball over on its first three possessions and fell into an early crevice in suffering a 42-20 setback to the Aves in a Division I, Region 4 opener.

“I think we were almost shell-shocked after the first play,” Lebanon coach Shawn Lamb said after his squad finished 7-4. “We didn’t respond real well. When you play with emotion, sometimes things don’t go well.”

It didn’t go well from the beginning for the Warriors.

Lebanon fumbled on its first play from scrimmage and two plays later, Sycamore’s Ra’Von Bonner was in the end zone for a 7-0 lead for the Aves (7-4).

Sycamore capitalized on two of Lebanon’s three early turnovers en route to a 21-0 lead before Dakota Allen got the Warriors on the board with a 1-yard TD run with 4:21 remaining in the opening quarter.

“That’s tough with turning it over on the first play,” Lamb said. “When you get on the big stage like this against an opponent like them, we knew we had to limit our mistakes and get a few bounces and that didn’t happen.”

The Warriors trailed 35-7 at the break as Bonner found the end zone two more times in gaining 190 of his 254 yards in the first half.

Sycamore had 16 first downs at the break and 348 yards in offense while Allen was harassed into a 7-of-12 half for 69 yards and a pick. Lebanon finished with 123 yards in the first half.

“He’s an unbelievable athlete,” Lamb said of Bonner. “We knew he was good and he didn’t disappoint because he’s the real deal, and he is behind a very good, very big offensive line.”

The Aviators scored on their first possession of the second half to invoke the running clock before the Warriors added a pair of late scores.

Allen’s last touchdown as a Warrior came on a 11-yard pass to Zach Zindel, while backup Kyle Short connected with Nate Crawford for a touchdown on the final play of the game.

“We got so far behind, and they are a good football team,” Lamb said. “But I am proud of the way our guys fought until the end. I am proud of our senior class. We have been out of the playoffs for 14 years, and they are leaving the program in better position for those coming after them.”

Sycamore will meet Greater Miami Conference rival Mason, a 21-20 winner over Elder, next Friday at a neutral site.

Sycamore 21-14-7-0—42

Lebanon 7-0-0-13—20

S: Ra’Von Bonner 11 run (Jacob Hasslebeck kick)

S: Jonathan Malek 50 pass from Jake Borman (Hasslebeck kick)

S: Bonner 3 run (Hasslebeck kick)

L: Dakota Allen 1 run (Xander Haley kick)

S: Borman 10 run (Hasslebeck kick)

S: Bonner 8 run (Hasslebeck kick)

S: Bonner 8 run (Hasslebeck kick)

L: Zach Zindel 11 pass from Allen (Haley kick)

L: Nate Crawford 23 pass from Kyle Short (No kick attempted)