BY JEFF FALK
There will come a Friday night when someone stuffs the Raiders’ running game and forces them to throw. But until then, if you can’t stop the Elco football team’s ground attack, you can’t stop Elco.
On Friday night at Kinzers, the Raiders’ prolific rushing paved the way for their third win of the season, a 34-7 triumph over the Pequea Valley Braves. Elco pummeled the Braves for 320 rushing yards, and notched the first 27 points of the contest.
With the result, Elco improved to 3-1 on the year and 1-0 in Section Three of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Four games in, the Raiders have now matched their win total from the entire 2011 campaign.
The setback dropped Pequea Valley to 2-2 on the fall and 0-1 in the section.
Elco converted the opening kickoff into a sustained march and a 7-0 lead. A key conversion of a fourth-down play by freshman signal-caller Jeff Martin set up a short scoring plunge by Adam Shoemaker.
The Raiders’ next three touchdowns came courtesy of junior Cameron Strause runs. The shortest of the three, a five-yard jaunt, gave Elco a 14-0 advantage.
For the game, Strause ran for almost 270 yards on his own. Meanwhile, the change-of-pace Shoemaker surpassed the century mark in rushing as well.
Elco led 21-0 before the opening period was out, after Strause ripped off a 40-yarder. Then in the second quarter, the Raider runner struck paydirt from 20 yards away.
Pequea Valley avoided the shutout with a third-quarter scoring connection. But the Raiders answered that with Shoemaker’s second touchdown rumble later in the stanza.
The Elco defense limited the Braves to less than 200 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, the Raider air game was responsible for 127 yards of offense.
Elsewhere in scholastic football on Friday night:
Warwick 24, Cedar Crest 23
In Lititz, the Falcons have not progressed beyond the point of ‘moral victories’ and enjoyed one at Warwick. For a team that went 1-9 a year ago, a one-point loss on the road in Section One could be construed as a step in the right direction.
A failed point-after-touchdown try on their third touchdown of evening proved disasterous for the Falcons. It allowed Warwick to kick a 27-yard game-winning field goal with 12 seconds remaining.
With six minutes to play, CC junior Gage Ocker raced over from seven yards out to give his squad a 23-14 advantage. But the PAT was not true, opening the door for the Warriors’ comeback.
Warwick answered the Falcon score with a five-play march that took only a minute-and-a-half off the game clock. That made it a 23-21 affair.
The game-winning field goal was set up by a pass interference call on the Falcons.
Courtesy of touchdowns from freshman Evan Horn and junior Grant Boehler, Cedar Crest enjoyed a 17-14 margin early in the final stanza.
Cedar Crest’s third straight loss left it 1-3 on the campaign and 0-1 in Section One. Warwick is now 3-1 and 1-0.
The Falcons piled up over 430 yards of total offense, but were hindered by three turnovers.
Cedar Crest trailed 7-3 at the intermission, with its points coming courtesy of a short Kevin Bonnalle field goal. Horn gave the Falcons a 10-7 margin after halftime with a long touchdown run.
Ephrata 41, Lebanon 13
At Ephrata’s War Memorial Field, the Cedars dropped a very winnable game by a large margin. As has been its mantra, Lebanon High experienced difficulties stopping or slowing the Mountaineers’ attack.
Lebanon has now lost four straight games to open 2012 and stands at 0-4 overall and 0-1 in Section Two of the Lancaster-Lebanon League. Ephrata’s initial triumph of the campaign made it 1-3 and 1-0.
Ephrata notched the first 13 points of the contest in opening a 41-6 fourth-quarter bulge. A bright spot for Lebanon was that it finally got its passing game going.
Junior quarterback Mark Pyles completed 16 of his 32 pass attempts for 180 yards through the air. But on the ground, Lebanon High managed less than 50 yards of rushing.
Pyles’ short scoring toss to Jeronimo Rodriguez in the second period pulled the Cedars to within 13-6. In the fourth period, Pyles collaborated with Nicholas Negron on a 60-yard touchdown play.
Susquehanna Township 61, Palmyra 14
In Harrisburg, the Cougars’ defense continued to spring leaks, and this time it was a gaping hole. The Indians piled up 350 yards of total offense, scored two defensive/special team touchdowns and put up four scores in the opening 12 minutes of action.
With the loss, Palmyra fell to 0-4 on the year and 0-1 in the Keystone Division of the Mid-Penn Conference. Susquehanna moved to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the division.
The Cougars cut into Susquehanna Township’s 28-0 cushion with a short sneak by senior quarterback Mason Laudermilch that gave his team hope at halftime. But the Indians squelched that promise by tallying three third-quarter touchdowns.
Laudermilch got Palmyra to within 47-14 early in the fourth quarter with another short touchdown spurt.
Despite the disparity in score, the Cougars were only out gained by 150 yards in the total offense category. With 100 yards of passing, Laudermilch was also proficient through the air.