Late score helps Elks survive Indians
NORTH EAST — For the second week in a row, Elkton found itself in a close game with a Cecil County opponent.
This time, it needed a late score to pull away from a team with a prolonged losing streak.
The second-ranked Golden Elks escaped with a 3214 non-divisional win over host North East on Friday behind five combined rushing touchdowns from the dynamic senior duo of quar- terback Ray Johnson and running back Raiquon Estep.
Johnson’s 18-yard scamper into the end zone, through a series of arm tackles, capped the scoring for Elkton (2-0) and put the visitors ahead by three scores just four plays after North East (0-2) pulled within 12 points on a 29-yard passing touchdown from Chase Hollister to fellow senior Henry Rivers and a successful 2-point conversion by Jalen Giles.
“They definitely came out and punched us in the mouth from the first snap. It was definitely clear in the first half that they wanted it more,” Johnson said. “But as the game went on, we started to wear them down, we started to score, we started to get momentum and that took a toll on them and we ended up rallying.”
On paper it appeared to be a mismatch. North East entered on a 24-game losing streak dating back to October 2014, while Elkton took the field having played in last year’s 2A state championship and sporting a 17game winning streak against teams from the Susquehanna Division, including last week’s 35-20 victory over Bohemia Manor.
But early in the second quarter, with the score tied 6-6 and the Indians driving into enemy territory following a quick three-and-out forced by their defense, it was clear a victory wouldn’t come easy for the Elks.
“Tip of the cap to North East for showing up to play football and putting us on the ropes and making us have to get our act together,” Elkton coach Matt Feeney said. “They’re coming. They’ve got a good coaching staff, they’ve got athletes. You put that formula together, you’re going to win football games, and we were almost a victim tonight.”
North East made it as far as the opponent’s 37-yard line on its second-quarter drive, but an unsportsmanlike penalty knocked the host squad back across the 50, where it failed to move the chains on third-andlong. Following a deep punt, Elkton’s offense took the field and Estep took the first handoff of the new drive for the longest play of the game.
The reigning two-time All-County Offensive Player of the Year burst through a hole on the left side and outraced the secondary for a 78-yard touchdown run that delivered Elkton the lead for good.
Johnson extended the advantage with a 25-yard rushing touchdown up the
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