The 4th ranked varsity football team welcomed the Lebanon Warriors to Centerville Stadium last night for their 2017 Homecoming game looking to stay unbeaten and on course for a National League East title and home playoff game in the first round. The Elks season to this point has been a story of great fundamental play, relentless effort and attitude, and teamwork. That formula would work once again last night.
The visiting Warriors began the game on offense and picked up a couple of first downs before the defense made an early statement. Junior Max Wynn hit the quarterback and knocked the ball out and senior Jevon Henderson fell on the loose ball to give the Elks possession in Warriors territory. The offense quickly moved into scoring position and got on the board when senior quarterback Alec Grandin hit senior wide receiver Riley Poulton from 10-yards out. Junior kicker Brandon Walters added the extra point and the Elks had a 7-0 lead with 7:32 left in the first quarter. Lebanon’s next possession ended with a three and out and the Elks took over possession following a punt. Once again, the offense moved down the field and struck pay dirt when senior running back Ross Harmonn scored from 5-yard out. Walters’ second extra point gave the Elks a 14-0 lead with 4:25 left in the first quarter. The Warriors used a couple of big passing plays to move downfield on the ensuing possession, but stalled on the 27-yard line. They decided to try a 44-yard field goal to get on the board. Billy Crago’s kick from the right hash had plenty of distance, but clanged off of the right upright, giving the ball back to the Elks. They took advantage of the opportunity and drove all the way to the Warriors 5-yard line as time expired in the first quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Grandin lobbed a perfect fade pass to senior wide receiver Jake Spiewak inn the left corner of the end zone. Walters’ PAT made the score 21-0 with 11:55 left in the first half. The defense again forced a Warriors’ punt and the offense made their hard work pay off once more when Harmon ran in from 5-yards out for his second score of the night. Walters’ fourth PAT made the score 28-0 with 6:34 left in the half and the Elks were rolling. Lebanon finally got their offense going on the next drive and got on the board when quarterback Kyle Short hit wide receiver Derrick Allen with a 2-yard scoring strike. Crago’s PAT cut the Elks’ lead to 28-7 with 3:36 left in the half. The Elks offense responded to the Warriors’ challenge and scored once again when senior running back Cody Smith powered in from a yard out. Walters’ PAT put the Elks in front, 35-7 with just 49 seconds remaining before halftime. That would be the score as the two teams headed to their respective locker rooms.
As the second half began, neither offense could get anything going. On the Elks second possession, junior quarterback Tyler King hit Harmon with a swing pass and he took it the rest of the way for a 26-yard touchdown, his third of the night. That put the Elks up, 42-7 and instituted the new running clock rule with the more than 30-point difference between the two teams. That would be the score as the third quarter came to a close.
Following and Elks turnover, the Warriors cashed in on 4th down when Short hit Cole McGinnis with an 8-yard TD pass. Crago’s extra point made the score 42-14 with 8:18 left in the game and returned the clock to normal operations. The Elks drove across midfield on their next possession, but were stopped on fourth and 1 at the Warriors’ 45-yard line, turning the ball back over to Lebanon. Their offense made the defense’s effort hold up when Short lobbed a perfectly placed 39-yard touchdown pass to Alex Koch. Crago’s extra point made the score 42-21 with 2:35 left. The Elks offense proceeded to run out the clock on their seventh straight victory.
On Saturday morning, the JV team traveled to Lebanon High School where they defeated the Warriors, 28-14. That was followed by the freshman game, which was also won by the Elks in thrilling, come-from-behind, fashion, 15-14.
Now 7-0 on the year and 2-0 in the NL East, the Elks hit the road for the final time on Friday night where they will face a tremendous challenge at 5-2 Northmont. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM at Northmont High School.