With District Playoff action underway, we have the details for this week’s games featuring ELCO and Annville-Cleona.
These articles will be updated as we get the official stats and other details about the action.
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ELCO 34, Big Spring 7
With their Week 10 win over Berks Catholic, ELCO entered tonight’s 4A District 3 Playoff game against Big Spring having been awarded a home game. The secret to the Raiders success is no secret at all, as they boast a run-heavy offense that feature senior Jake Williams running behind the blocking of the offensive line, known affectionately as the “Plow Boys”. After sitting out Week 9, Williams returned last week to break his own ELCO single season rushing record and would break 2,000 this week with ease. Like ELCO, Big Spring featured a running game that resulted in two 1,000 yard rushers.
The game got started with an ELCO possession. 3 plays and 60 yards later, Williams was running into the end zone from 8 yards out. He carried the ball on each of the plays from scrimmage to put the Raiders up 7-0 just under three minutes into the contest. The ELCO defense then held Big Spring to back-to-back three-and-outs to keep the score 7-0 through one quarter of action.
Early in the 2nd quarter, the Raiders were driving. Quarterback Steven Rosado pitched the pigskin to Williams on an option, but it didn’t go as planned and the ball hit the turf. Rosado was able to not only recover the ball, but he scooped it up and ran it in for a 22-yard touchdown to give the Raiders a 14-0 lead with 10:24 remaining in the 1st half. With just under three minutes left, Williams took the ball from the 8-yard line, bounced left, and found the end zone.
Down 21-0, Big Spring knew they needed a score before halftime. With forty ticks left in the half, they were able to get what they needed to cut the ELCO lead to 21-7. However, the Raiders would get the ball back again before the half. Lined up at their own 35, the call went to Williams who proceeded to break upwards of 10 tackles on his way to the end zone after a 65-yard run. With ELCO comfortably in front, 28-7, Jackson Conners would pick off a Big Spring pass to finish off the 1st half. Unofficially, Williams finished the half with 202 yards.
After a frantic pace of scoring to end the 1st half, things calmed down quite a bit to start the 3rd quarter. Halfway through the quarter, Elliott Kreider punched it in from f 2 yards out to cap off an ELCO drive, giving them a 34-7 lead.
The Kreider touchdown was the last scoring play of the game, as the Raiders held on for the victory. They will now prepare to travel to take on #2 Twin Valley (9-1) next Friday night.
This was a game of “They are who we thought they were”, Big Spring knew who ELCO was, but just could not stop them. Unofficially, Williams finished the game with 254 yards. He also surpassed the 2,000 yard milestone for the season and added to his single season rushing record.
Rushing: Jake Williams – 26 carries, 250 yards, 3 TDs; Steven Rosado – 14 carries, 108 yards, TD; Elliott Kreider – 5 carries, 19 yards, TD; Mitchell Frederick – 5 carries, 23 yards; Ellis Gensamer – 2 carries, 3 yards
Passing: Steven Rosado – 1/4, 6 yards
Receiving: Sara Miller – 1 reception, 6 yards
Camp Hill 35, Annville-Cleona 14
Annville-Cleona entered the 2023 season, hoping to come close to repeating what they accomplished a season ago when they made it into the District Championship game against Trinity. While the season started out in difficult fashion, going 1-2 in non-league games, the Dutchmen rebounded to go 6-1 in Section 5, claiming a share of the Section Championship. In doing this, they wrapped up the #1 seed in the 2A District 3 Playoffs.
On Friday night, Annville hosted Camp Hill, the #4 seed, at Lebanon’s Alumni Stadium, changing the venue due to construction at their home field. The Lions entered the game with a 5-5 record, fueled by the play of junior quarterback Drew Branstetterr, a 2,000+ yard passer.
Camp Hill showed off their offensive abilities early on in this one, catching Annville off-guard with a four-play drive that ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes into the game. After the Dutchmen were stopped, the Lions again worked their way down the field for a 5-yard touchdown strike that game them a 14-0 lead with 5:30 left in the 1st quarter. While Annville responded with a defensive stop of their own, Camp Hill would have their third touchdown pass of the day with just over seven minutes remaining in the 1st half.
Annville-Cleona needed to begin chipping away sooner rather than later. Getting the ball back around the four-minute mark, quarterback Cameron Connelly found Jonathon Shay for a 68-yard pass play to make the game 21-7. Cael Harter then forced a fumble and Dominic Casciotti had an interception to stop Camp Hill on back-to-back drives heading into halftime.
Coming out of the break, Annville was hoping to continue mounting a comeback. Unfortunately, Camp Hill forced a turnover via a fumble and promptly aired it out for another passing touchdown. With the score 28-7, Annville showed that they weren’t done yet when running back Bryce Keller scored on a 5-yard run with just under two minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.
Heading into the 4th, Camp Hill worked quickly to stop the momentum, as Branstetter escaped the Dutchmen defense and ran for a 31-yard touchdown on the first play of the final frame. The Camp Hill defense held Annville in place the rest of the game, with the final score reading 35-14.
This ends the season for Annville-Cleona, as they overcame those early season struggles to finish 7-4 overall.
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