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com­bined to rush for 213 yards in a reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale win over even­tual top-seeded Kent Is­land.

“They’re fast. We’re fast. We knew that was the matchup we wanted,” Feeney said. “We thought they were go­ing to try to get to the edge on us and they fig­ured it out early on that wasn’t go­ing to be an easy task.”

The Lions’ deep­est pen­e­tra­tion on the night came late in the first quar­ter when it be­gan with the ball in en­emy ter­ri­tory fol­low­ing a punt by Elk­ton out of the end zone. Start­ing at the Elks’ 44, QA used a pair of runs and a penalty to bring up third-and-short at the 35. Elk­ton re­sponded by stuff­ing the en­su­ing run play for a loss of one yard. It then brought down the ball car­rier on fourth-and-2 be­hind the line of scrim­mage to force a turnover on downs.

“We had a goal and we stuck to

that goal and we did what we had to do to stop their of­fense from scor­ing,” Elk­ton se­nior de­fen­sive end Mar­quis Byrd said. “We knew it was go­ing to be a tough matchup be­cause of the Wing-T and all the dif­fer­ent type of plays they run like scis­sors and all that, but we busted our be­hinds all week long to stop them.”

The Lions fin­ished with 87 yards of of­fense in the first half and had only 33 yardsds of of­fense after half­time.

The QA de­fense proved nearly as tough, hold­ing the Elks to just sin­gle-digit rush­ing yards through the first two quar­ters and pick­ing off an over­thrown pass in the red zone mid­way through the sec­ond frame as both teams ex­ited the field at half­time with the score tied at zero.

But on the first drive of the third quar­ter, Elk­ton ju­nior run­ning back Raiquon Estep fi­nally broke free.

Six plays into the open­ing se­ries of the sec­ond half, Estep broke through QA’s de­fen­sive front and

into the sec­ondary, out­rac­ing would-be tack­lers for a 32-yard touch­down run.

“It de­vel­oped kind of slow but the line opened that hole up. As long as I’m pa­tient, they’re go­ing to open holes,” Estep said of the run that de­liv­ered Elk­ton the lead. “I felt like we fi­nally had a lit­tle bit of [breath­ing] room and we just had to turn it up even more after that.”

Estep twisted the burner to high on the very next Elk­ton pos­ses­sion, cap­ping a 70-yard drive with a 20-yard touch­down run in which he bar­reled over a de­fender at the 1-yard line and dove into the end zone.

The ju­nior fin­ished the con­test with 164 rush­ing yards on 28 car­ries.

Feeney cred­ited a short film ses­sion dur­ing half­time for the ground game’s suc­cess in the sec­ond half.

“The creases were there, they just need to see on film that they needed to stay on their block for just an­other quar­ter of a sec­ond

and he’s go­ing to get it, and there it was,” he said. “We’ve been a sec­ond half team all year. I thought we dom­i­nated the first half of the game and I told them just go out and keep do­ing what you’ve been do­ing.”

Sud­denly trail­ing by two scores, the Lions (9-2) turned to the arm of their quar­ter­back, Mike D’An­gelo (5-for-14, 49 yards), but found lit­tle respite throw­ing the foot­ball, as the Elks recorded a sack on first down and Quiony Wes­son picked off the pass on the fol­low­ing play to bring an end to the drive.

“We didn’t win the line of scrim­mage. They took it to us and had a lot of pen­e­tra­tion. We didn’t block as well as we could have and pass pro­tec­tion just didn’t get it done. We had some hot reads we didn’t hit but all the credit to Elk­ton. They played well,” QA’s head coach Don Graef said. “We just couldn’t get any­thing go­ing. We were grasp­ing for straws over there on the side­lines. Noth­ing was fluid, noth­ing you could build on. It was just hit or miss on cer­tain plays.”

Elks se­nior quar­ter­back Jack­son Ar­goe fin­ished 7-of-12 pass­ing for 91 yards, in­clud­ing four com­ple­tions to Tyrus Wood­ward (66 yards re­ceiv­ing).

Jykel Gar­ner had nine car­ries for 49 yards and C.J. Rogers added eight car­ries for 30 yards for the Lions, who fell in the re­gion semi­fi­nals for a sec­ond-straight sea­son.

For Elk­ton, the win sets up a re­match of last sea­son’s re­gion fi­nal after fourth-seeded North Caroline up­set Kent Is­land on Fri­day to also earn a re­turn trip. Only this time, the Bull­dogs will be trav­el­ing to Elk­ton.

Last year, the Elks fell to host North Caroline, 36-15.

“We’re ready, we’re hun­gry. We’re not the same team that we were last year,” Byrd said. “We’re get­ting ready to turn up and do what we have to do.”

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