QA’s Elim­i­nated In Re­gion Semis

Elk­ton RB rushes for two TDs for only scores

Record Observer - - Sports - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@star­

Elk­ton 12 — Q. Anne’s 0

CENTREVILLE — The cracks were small, and tight at first, but Elk­ton High head foot­ball coach Matt Feeney knew they were there.

They just needed to be pried open a lit­tle wider and a touch longer.

The of­fen­sive line did just that in the sec­ond half Fri­day night, pro­vid­ing just enough room for Raiquon Estep to slip through for a pair of touch­down runs that — cou­pled with a near air­tight de­fense — car­ried the Golden Elks to a 12-0 vic­tory over Queen Anne’s County in a Class 2A East Re­gion semi­fi­nal at Lions Sta­dium.

Third-seeded Elk­ton (101) will host No. 4 seed North Caro­line (9-2) on Fri­day night in a re­match of last year’s 2A East fi­nal, won by the Bull­dogs.

“The creases were there,” Feeney said. “They needed to see it on film; stay on your block for an­other quar­ter of a sec­ond and he’s go­ing to get it. And there it was.”

Af­ter be­ing held to just 9 yards on five car­ries in a score­less first half, Estep be­gan bur­row­ing into the front side of the trenches and fly­ing out the back­side in the sec­ond half.

Elk­ton re­ceived the sec­ond-half kickof f and watched Estep carry the Golden Elks from their 44 to the Lions 32 on four con­sec­u­tive runs. Af­ter quar­ter­back Jack­son Ar­goe threw in­com­plete, Estep hur­ried up the mid­dle, found a sliver of space, and bolted 32 yards for a touch­down and a 6-0 Elk­ton lead with 9 min­utes, 30 sec­onds re­main­ing in the third quar­ter. Queen Anne’s blocked the ex­tra-point at­tempt.

“He’s quick, man; slip­pery,” Queen Anne’s head coach Donny Graef said of Estep, who fin­ished with 28 car­ries for 164 yards. “I can’t say enough about him. He’s a play­maker. He’s just one of those kids that you know, you think you’ve got ever ything kind of de­fensed pretty well, and then you’re kind of look­ing in the pile and he slips right out of the pile. He’s just a qual­ity kid.”

A dead-ball penalty against Elk­ton on Estep’s TD run pushed the kick­off back 15 yards, and Queen Anne’s (9-2) took over at its 45. But two mo­tion penal­ties against the Lions, two short gains, and a 5-yard loss on a pass play forced Tyler Bon­ner’s punt that rolled to the Elk­ton 30.

Ar­goe (7 of 12, 91 yards, one in­ter­cep­tion) hit Tyrus Woodard for a 15-yard pickup on third-and-eight. Two straight runs by Estep gained 25 yards. Ar­goe was flushed from the pocket, but scram­bled for seven. Estep then raced into an­other scrum, broke free,

juked two Lions, and lunged across the goal line for a 20yard touch­down with 3:30 left in the pe­riod for a 12-0 lead. Queen Anne’s Chris Crow in­ter­cepted Ar­goe on the two-point at­tempt.

“We’re a sec­ond-half team,” Feeney said. “We’ve been a sec­ond-half team all year. I thought we dom­i­nated the first half of that game, and I said, ‘Just come out and just keep do­ing what you’ve been do­ing the first half; do it the sec­ond half and ev­ery­thing will take care of it­self.’”

The Golden Elks’ 12-point third-quar­ter surge was all the of­fense they needed, as their de­fense con­trolled the line of scrim­mage, es­pe­cially in the sec­ond half. Af­ter to­tal­ing five first downs and 87 yards in of­fense in the first half, the Lions were held to 22 yards rush­ing, 11 yards pass­ing and three first downs af­ter in­ter­mis­sion.

“We didn’t win the line of scrim­mage,” Graef said. “They took it to us; a lot of pen­e­tra­tion. Didn’t block as well as we could have. Pass pro­tec­tion just didn’t get it done. Had some hot reads that we didn’t hit. But give all credit to Elk­ton. They played well. We just didn’t get it done.

“We just couldn’t get any­thing go­ing,” said Graef, whose team’s 10 pos­ses­sions ended with five punts, a fum­ble, an in­ter­cep­tion, two turnover on downs, and the ex­pi­ra­tion of time at the end of the game. “We were grasp­ing for straws over there on the side­lines. Noth­ing was fluid. Noth­ing that you could build on. It was just hit and miss on cer­tain plays. Then you get a penalty here, penalty there; you’re al­ready hav­ing trou­ble mov­ing the ball, and now all of a sud­den it’s first-and-15, or sec­ond-and-13. It just makes it that much more tougher. But again give credit to Elk­ton. They came in here and they got it done.”

With Jykel Garner (9-42) and C.J. Rogers (8-30), Graef thought the Lions held a speed ad­van­tage on Elk­ton. Garner did break loose for gains of 10 and 19 yards in the first half. And Rogers was sprung for a 17-yard pickup, but that was in the fi­nal minute of the game.

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

Lions quar­ter­back Mike D’An­gelo com­pleted 5 of 14 for 49 yards and an in­ter­cep­tion, but the Elks sacked the se­nior five times for losses to­tal­ing 35 yards.

“I thought we could have thrown the ball bet­ter,” Graef said. “I didn’t think they’d stop the run­ning game. I thought we could move the ball, but ob­vi­ously I called that one wrong.

“You look at them on tape, I thought we def­i­nitely had a quick­ness fac­tor on them,” Graef said. “But it didn’t show on the field. We just didn’t get a push. Ev­ery­thing at the of­fen­sive line was played ei­ther at the line of scrim­mage, or on our side of the ball seemed like.”

The Lions con­verted just twice on 11 third-down at­tempts, and were stopped both times they tried to con­vert on fourth down.

“It was a com­plete de­fen­sive ef­fort,” Feeney said. “I mean kids were fly­ing around. They be­lieved in the sys­tem. They did their jobs and we tell them the re­sult will take care of (it­self). The re­sult will be what we want if you do your job to the best of your abil­ity. That’s what they did.

“It’s just mat­ter of heart,” Feeney con­tin­ued. “They feed on the doubt. They feed on the doubters, they feed on things like, they’re listed as a pre­tender in the state rank­ings. Queen Anne’s is a con­tender, and Queen Anne’s is go­ing to be more ath­letic; we won’t be able to deal with that. Hey, that’s the fuel that they need and they used it. And it worked out for us.”

Though Ar­goe threw for 56 yards in the first half, the Lions lim­ited Elk­ton to just three yards rush­ing in the first half, and sacked Ar­goe four times of 31 yards in losses. Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Bil­l_Haufe. Email me at bhaufe@star­


Queen Anne’s se­nior line­backer Tyler Bon­ner looks down in de­jec­tion in the fi­nal sec­onds of last Fri­day night’s 12-0 loss to Elk­ton in the Class 2A East semi­fi­nal.

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