ELKTON — The Golden Elks are making this look easy.
It’s not every team that can start resting its players in the second quarter of a playoff game, but Elkton jumped out early against a depleted North East squad en route to a 35-6 victory in Friday’s 2A East region first-round game.
“There’s no hangover right now,” Elkton head coach Matt Feeney said. “The kids are just enjoying the week-to-week process.”
The Indians already faced a tall task against an undefeated opponent on the road, but they were forced to play without their starting quarterback and head coach Chris Schleich, who were serving one-game suspensions. The Elks (10-0) took full advantage, snuffing out North East’s rushing attack while running up the scoreboard on the other end.
“Guys were reading keys and fillings holes and playing their (butts) off,” Feeney said. “That’s what we worked on all week, just defending their run game. We felt confident about our guys in the back end.”
Trevin Ewing provided the early fireworks for Elkton, returning a punt 60 yards for the hosts’ first touchdown. The Elks then took advantage of an extremely short field on their next two drives. Tashawn Watters scored from four and two yards out, as Elkton surged ahead 21-0 with 2:03 left in the first quarter.
Watters busted loose for a 51-yard run early in the second quarter, which set up his 2-yard touchdown catch from Nolan Null. Watters finished with 74 rushing yards on six carries.
North East (5-5) finally put a solid drive together in the middle of the second quarter, but Brandon Tolbert’s 32-yard field-goal attempt was blocked.
Null threw his second touchdown pass, a 30-yarder to Ewing to start the running clock in the third quarter. Null completed 4-of-8 passes for 92 yards.
Senior Kris Kozminkski put North East on the board late in the fourth with a 43-yard touchdown run.
Elkton will attempt to stay perfect next week against Parkside, which defeated Rising Sun Friday. Feeney liked his team’s chances given the resolve he’s seen in his players all season.
“There’s been seasons that I’ve coached where you start to feel a little bit of burnout, even when we’re winning, but we’re not getting that sense (now),” he said. “These guys are just enjoying themselves. It’s a great group and they love playing together and for each other.”