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BY JEFF FALK

MYERSTOWN – Inside or out, they come at you from all angles and directions.

They’re interchangeable parts, which creates flexibility and balance.

They’re quick, athletic and coordinated.

Yeah, and the Raiders’ skill people aren’t shabby either.

On Friday night at Elco Stadium, a bruisng offensive line paving the way for talented runners produced a 40-10 triumph over rival Annville-Cleona for the Raider football team. Elco grinded out 425 yards on the ground – 241 of which came during a first half in which it was opening a 28-7 lead – on 46 total rushing attempts.

Senior quarterback Braden Boahnnon collected 147 of those rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns, while freshman Jake Williams posted another 116 yards on the ground. But it didn’t seem to matter who toted ‘the rock’, as Cole Thomas, Luke Williams and Cam Martin also ran effectively for Elco.

With the victory, Elco improved to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in Section Four of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Annville-Cleona slipped to 0-2 on the year and 0-1 in the circuit.

“We’re just running the option,” said Elco head coach Bob Miller. “I don’t know if we’re feeding anyone. I think we’re just bigger and older, and we’re beating people up front.

“We’re just going through the phases of the option,” continued Miller. “It’s neat that we’re able to have versatility in the backfield and unselfish play. The quarterbacks are trusting what they see.”

“They’re physical,” said Annville-Cleona head coach Matt Gingrich of the Raiders. “It’s clear that they do a great job in the weight room. It’s clear that they really take pride in it. It’s a physicality that we used to have.

“They understand the philosophy of running the triple option,” Gingrich added. “Their kids are commited to it. On the outside, we competed with them. But up front and in the allies, the wore us down. It’s just a physicality.”

In opening a 21-0 lead in t he middle of the second quarter, Elco tallied touchdowns on its first three possessions. It began with Bohannon’s 11-yard scoring scamper that resulted from a short field.

It continued with an eight-play, 80-yard match that culminated in a 15-yard Bohannon jaunt, and a 14-0 lead. And it concluded with Thomas running one in from five yards out, following the recovery of an Annville-Cleona fumble.

“It was important for us to get a start, and control the line of scrimmage,” said Miller. “It was important for us to do it the right way, with bodies on bodies, both on offense and defense. It was physical. But again, they’re (the Little Dutchmen) young.”

“They’re (the Raiders) very good,” said Gingrich. “They have a lot of talent. They’re well-coached. I thought we had a really good game plan coming in. But we played much better than we did last week, which was better than the week before.”

Annville-Cleona temporarily stemmed Elco’s momentum late in the first half, thanks in part to quarterback Chase Maguire’s 25-yard connection with Kenny Schaeffer. That set up a four-yard Maguire-to-Schaeffer touchdown completion that made it 21-7.

But Elco responded with another Bohannon touchdown burst, this one a six-yarder with a mere nine seconds remaining on the first half clock. The ten-play, 80-yard possession pretty much took the steam out of the Little Dutchmen’s sails for good.

“I saw some heart,” said Miller of Annville-Cleona. “Their kids played hard. They’re not going to quit. They’re going to get better. Defensively, they crowded the box against us.”

“We spent all week at practice working on getting off the ball better,” said Gingrich. “Last week was our worst performance in my high school career. But we got better this week. It’s baby steps. There were a lot of positives.”

Elco scored on its first possession of the second half to stretch its advantage to 34-7. Williams’ shifting, twisting, cut-back of a 48-yard touchdown run placed an exclamation point on a five-snap possession.

Then, after Annville-Cleona’s Mac Plummer drilled a 47-yard field goal, Bohannon tallied the game’s final touchdown, with 3:16 left in the third quarter.

“We’ll see when we look at the tape,” said Miller, when asked about the level of his team’s performance. “The kids are trying to be a physical football team, and doing it the right way. It goes back to our goals, building that team culture.”

“They’re (the Raiders) good,” said Gingrich. “I think they should win the section.”

“We’re ready for Pequea,” said Miller of the Raiders’ next opponent. “That’s the mentality. We’ll look for things to try and fix.

Elco was just as impressive on the defensive side of the ball, limiting Annville-Cleona to 179 yards of total offense. In addition to his 47-yarder, Plummer, one of the top kickers in the state, missed on attempts from 57 and 45 yards away.

“We’re just happy to be out here,” continued Miller. “We just need to make sure we have fun everyday. I’m just really proud of the kids, how they’ve come together, on the field and in the locker room. They love the game.”

“When I say ‘down block’, it’s a fairly common football term,” said Gingrich. “Two weeks ago, most of our kids didn’t know what a down bock was. I’ve got 30 new kids. It’s a long process, but they battle. I’ve lost because of effort before, but that won’t happen again. We’ve just got to get better.”

To purchase images in this article email jkfalk2005@yahoo.com

2020 Annville-Cleona Football Schedule

DateOpponentsResults
9/18
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Donegal
14
42
Nonleague
9/25
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco

League
10/02
7:00 pm
Northern Lebanon
at Annville-Cleona

League
10/09
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Pequea Valley

League
10/16
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Columbia

League
10/23
7:00 pm
Octorara
at Annville-Cleona

League
10/30
7:00 pm
Lancaster Catholic
at Annville-Cleona

Nonleague

2020 Elco Football Schedule

DateOpponentsResults
9/18
7:00 pm
Elco
at Ephrata
28
27
Nonleague
9/25
7:00 pm
Annville-Cleona
at Elco

League
10/02
7:00 pm
Pequea Valley
at Elco

League
10/09
7:00 pm
Elco
at Octorara

League
10/16
7:00 pm
Elco
at Northern Lebanon

League
10/23
7:00 pm
Columbia
at Elco

League
10/30
7:00 pm
Elco
at Donegal

Nonleague

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