QA’s Eliminated In Region Semis
Elkton RB rushes for two TDs for only scores
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 email@example.com
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.