Late score helps Elks sur­vive In­di­ans

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By JOR­DAN SCHATZ jschatz@ce­cil­

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

See ELKS Page B4

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