The varsity football team made their second straight trip to Cincinnati last night to take on the Lakota West Firebirds. It was a cold, wet and windy night and the Elks used their special teams to stun the Firebirds early and often.
As the game got underway, the Elks kicked off to the Firebirds in a driving rain. The defense held the Firebirds and forced them to punt. However, Max Wynn had other ideas and stormed through the line to block the kick. The loose ball was scooped up by Riley Poulton who returned it 11 yards for a touchdown. Brandon Walters’ extra point gave the Elks a 7-0 lead with 8:58 left in the first quarter. The two teams would exchange punts the rest of the quarter and the Elks would take their seven point lead to the second quarter.
Early in the second quarter, the Firebirds lined up to punt. Senior Donovan Shelton fielded the ball at his own 49-yard line and raced 51 yards to the end zone for the Elks second special teams score of the night. Walters’ extra point extended the lead to 14-0 with 10:57 left in the first half. West then put a drive together which was finished off on a one-yard TD run by David Afari. Nikolas Hjort added the point after to cut the Elks lead in half at 14-7 with 7:32 left in the half. The joy was short lived for Wet, however, as the Elks special teams would strike for a third time. Once again, Shelton burnt the kick coverage, this time for a 96-yard return for a TD. Walters’ extra point gave the Elks a 21-7 lead with 7:18 left in the half. Following a defensive stop, the Elks drove the length of the field and reached pay dirt when Alec Grandin ran it in from a yard out. Walters’ PAT gave the Elks a 28-7 lead with 1:35 left in the half. That would be the score as the two teams headed to the locker room.
In the third quarter , the Elks took the opening kick off and marched down the field and the drive was finished off when Grandin hit Poulton with a 26-yard scoring strike. Following a successful PAT by Walters, the Elks had a commanding, 35-7 lead with 10:30 left in the third quarter. Following a quick three and out, the Elks marched downfield one more time and reached the end zone when Cody Smith plunged in from two-yards out. Walters’ PAT made the score 42-7 with 8:14 left in the third quarter and sparked the running clock rule due to the more than 30-point separation between the two teams. That would be the score as the third quarter came to a close and the Elks were twelve minutes from a perfect 2-0 start.
In the fourth quarter, the only points were scored by the Firebirds. MyJaden Horton scrambled in from 15-yards out for their first score since early in the second quarter. A successful PAT by Hjort made the score 42-14 with 5:53 left in the game. After stopping the Elks one more time on defense, the Firebirds drove for the games final score when Jalen Swanson scored from 2-yards out with just one second left in the game. Hjort’s PAT made the final score, 42-21.
On Saturday morning at CHS, the Firebirds won the JV game, 28-0. That was followed by the freshman game which was a back and forth battle. However, the Firebirds scored late and stopped the Elks on defense to escape with a 40-35 victory.
Now 2-0 on the year, the Elks finally get to play a home game when hey welcome fellow unbeaten Pickerington North to Centerville Stadium on Friday night for Wee Elks and Middle School night. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM.