Section Two champs! Novak shatters Zug’s record, as MC beats Spot 70-14

By on November 8, 2017

Manheim Central’s Jake Novak tries to fight off a tackle at Manheim Central High School in Manheim, PA on November 3, 2017. KIRK NEIDERMYER | LCW Correspondent Photographer

Jake Novak put himself among elite company last Friday night.

With his 135 receiving yards against Garden Spot, Manheim Central’s senior wide receiver overtook former Baron star Graham Zug as the program’s career leader in that category with 2,257 yards.

Zug, who went on to play at Penn State as a walk-on, finished with 2,154 career receiving yards.

“I talked to Jake about it,” Baron coach Dave Hahn said. “I know how much all the coaches thought of Graham and his accomplishments. Graham was a kid, like, ‘Let’s just throw it his way and we know he’s going to come down with the ball.’ And Jake has worked awfully hard over the last three years to achieve that and he falls right in line with many receivers that we’ve had.”

Novak’s accomplishment, though, wasn’t the only one being celebrated by Manheim Central in the final week of the regular season. The Barons also clinched the Section Two championship outright for the first time since 2013, rolling up 467 yards of total offense in a dominant 70-14 win over Garden Spot at Manheim’s Elden Rettew Field. It’s the 24th L-L Section Two crown in Barons’ history.

The victory — in which Novak and running backs Tyler Flick and Gio Lester each scored two TDs and quarterback Evan Simon passed for four scores — also locked up a perfect 10-0 regular season (7-0 Section Two). Cocalico (6-1, 9-1) finished just one game behind the Barons.

“The team was pretty excited,” said Hahn, whose team shared the Section title in 2015-16. “I think it meant a lot to the seniors to be able to get back to the top. And me personally, I’m happy for the seniors. They’re deserving. They’ve put in a lot of hard work and dedication to the program, so it’s a nice feather in their cap.”

Garden Spot (1-6 L-L, 2-8 overall) got a nice feather in their cap when Connor Finkey grabbed a six-yard TD pass from QB Cameron Roth, answering a 12-yard TD run by Flick and tying the score 7-all in the opening quarter.

That was the start of a big night for Roth, who was 11-of-19 for 108 yards through the air, with one TD and four picks, in addition to rushing for a team-high 122 yards and a TD on 17 carries.

Roth joined rarefied air with that performance, becoming just the ninth player in L-L annals to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 1,000 yards in the same season.

“They’re a very good offense,” Hahn said. “That Roth kid is a good kid.”

The Barons, though, are a very good offense in their own right and Simon’s 10-yard TD pass to tight end Garret Fittery put MC up 14-7 at the end of the first quarter and gave them a lead they never relinquished. For the game, Simon was an impressive 14-of-18 for 257 yards and four TDs, with no interceptions.

“Evan was fantastic,” Hahn remarked. “You could tell in the warm-ups, there was just something different. I told him, ‘I don’t know what you ate today, I don’t know what your schedule was, but whatever it was, keep it going. Let’s make sure we do that every Friday.’ He was making quick decisions, throwing the ball hard, and getting it to its spot. He was remarkable.”

Remarkable was also a good way to describe the Barons’ second quarter, when they erupted for 42 points and took a commanding 56-14 lead at half.

Flick, who rushed for a game-high 128 yards on carries, got the second-half onslaught started with a 33-yard TD run.

“Tyler had a heck of a game,” Hahn said.

So did Lester (8-65 rushing), who scored on a 29-yard bolt.

The Barons then capitalized on Evan Simon’s right arm for their next two scores. The 6-foot-2, 191-pound QB hit his brother, Tyler Simon, for a 35-yard strike and then he found Novak for a four-yard score, stretching the lead to 42-7.

Not long afterward, Tyler Simon intercepted a pass by Roth and returned it 21 yards to house. Besides his pick six, Simon also had a team-high 15 tackle points and a QB sack.

“Tyler Simon had a fantastic night,” Hahn said. “He did well on offense and he kinda spearheads our defense. He gets things moving because he’s so quick, he’s so aggressive, and he slides to the ball.”

Roth snapped the Barons’ scoring run with a 94-yard TD sprint of his own, cutting the Spartans’ deficit to 49-14.

But Manheim Central added one more score before the half, this time on an Evan Simon-to-Novak 13-yard TD pass, making it 56-14 at half.

“I think the thing that makes Jake so special is just his heart,” Hahn said. “That kid is such a competitor. His physical attributes are great. His skills are great, he’s got a great skillset. But his determination, his desire, and his competitive nature about him is second to none.”

With the outcome no longer in doubt in the second half, the Barons completed the scoring on Colin Erb’s one-yard run and Lester’s nine-yard run.

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