FREDERICKSBURG – Six touchdowns from Cameron Strause.
An unblemished passing slate by quarterback Jeff Martin.
No punts or turnovers.
Every possession producing a touchdown.
It wasn’t the perfect offensive performance. But it was the perfect storm.
On Monday night at Fred Gahres Stadium, the Elco offense simply couldn’t be stopped – literally – and the Raiders ran away from Northern Lebanon 59-20 in a Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three football contest between a couple of neighbors. Strause scored on a 66-yard touchdown jaunt on the first snap of the game, and the Raiders never took their foot off the gas pedal.
The 5-11 200-pound senior also scored on the last snap of the first half, returning an interception 85 yards to up Elco’s lead to 46-7, and thus bringing the mercy-rule into play. The Raiders’ advantage ultimately reached 52-7 with 1:29 left in the third quarter, when Strause scored his sixth TD, from 15 yards away.
The affair was postponed from its regularly scheduled Friday start by torrential rain.
With the win, Elco improved to 2-5 overall and 2-2 in Section Three. The Vikings dropped to 2-5 and 2-1 in the circuit.
“Our kids were focused and pissed,” said Elco head coach Bob Miller. “It was a pretty good effort. We’ve been a pretty good team on paper all season. But tonight we put it all together.
“They (the Vikings) should’ve played us on Friday night,” Miller added.
“We just made some mistakes and it snowballed on us,” said Northern Lebanon head coach Roy Wall. “It was a bad game. They (the Raiders) scored offensively and defensively. I take the blame for it. Obviously it was my fault.”
But Northern Lebanon answered with its only bright spot of the evening, a 12-play, 73-yard march which culminated in a short Derek DiAngelis burst.
“The thing that’s most impressive is the zero turnovers,” said Miller. “That’s the one I’m most proud of. Not the scores. The fact that we held on to the ball and did our job.
“Our emphasis was stop the run, and we did,” Miller added. “That second drive, they (the Vikings) got us. And we had to take care of the ball. It’s nice to be able to take care of the ball and be balanced.”
“They scored on the first play of the game,” said Wall. “We answered, but we had some mistakes, and big plays hurt us. The next thing we know, we’re down 24-7.”
Elco’s 28-point second-quarter put the outcome on ice. Kline hauled in a 36-yard scoring aerial from Martin on the first snap of the period, while Strause’s ten-yard touchdown waltz preceded his half-ending ‘pick-six’ by a minute and eight seconds.
“Cameron’s interception return brought in the mercy rule right before halftime and made me feel a little comfortable,” said Miller. “I hate being one score away from that.
“It’s (criticism of past defensive performances) very fair,” added Miller. “I’ve done a pretty poor job of getting them (his players) to execute. Coach Carley (defensive coordinator, John) has them in position, but we have to execute. A lot of it is just belief.”
“There were so many of them,” said Wall of the Raiders’ big plays. “I don’t know if there was one (key play). There were a bunch.”
In addition to his half-dozen TDs, Strause also rang up 138 rushing yards on 14 carries. Martin completed all 13 of his pass attempts for 289 yards and three touchdowns. Kline was the recipient of all three Martin scoring tosses and amassed 130 receiving yards.
“We need Cameron to be that guy,” continued Miller. “We expect him to be able to pop a few. On defense, we expect him to lead, fill holes and make tackles.”
“They won,” said Wall when asked to assess the Raiders as a team.
“He’s a good back,” said Wall when asked for his opinion of Strause.
By holding the Vikings to 258 total yards, Elco’s defensive effort might have been its stingiest of the season. The Raiders piled up 188 yards on the ground, 299 through the air and a total of 487 yards.
“If there was a VHS or DVD of this game, we’d throw it in the garbage,” said Wall, “and move forward.”