ELKTON — Despite the final score, the Elks would like to have a few plays back.
Elkton overcame some early miscues and yet another exit by quarterback Nolan Null to down C. Milton Wright, 49-14, Thursday on Senior Night.
Null was his usual self, picking apart the Mustang secondary to the tune of 246 passing yards and two touchdowns. He threw just three incompletions on 14 attempts.
“When he’s healthy, which we’ve been dealing with the last couple of weeks, he’s a good as they come,” Elkton head coach Matt Feeney said. “He took a shot but the rest of the guys rallied.”
The shot came part way through the third quarter when Null attempted to recover his own fumble. He came up wobbly and his teammates helped him walk off the field. He did not return per concussion protocol, but Feeney expected him back next week. That was a sigh of relief for the team, as Null missed last week with an arm injury.
The Elks (7-0) turned the ball over twice and did not secure the victory until early in the fourth, though their playmakers proved too much for the Mustangs (4-3).
“That’s what our offense does, it bails us out sometimes,” Feeney said. “If we took care of the football, we might have had a better result early, but that’s the nature of the game sometimes.”
It was Elkton that forced the first turnover, as senior Elijah Perry picked off Hunter Wright. After Null found Trevin Ewing for a 41-yard pass to the C.M. Wright 3, running back Tashawn Watters took it in to get Elkton on the board.
The Elks got a short field on their next drive, and a pass interference call against the Mustangs gave Elkton first-and-goal. Watters scored again, this time from the 1 on fourth-and goal to put the hosts ahead 14-0.
The Mustangs then put together their most successful drive of the night, covering 79 yards on just five plays. Wright scored on a quarterback sneak at the 1 to make it a 14-7 game halfway through the second quarter.
Null then went back to work, as he completed a pair of touchdown passes to Watters around a C.M. Wright turnover. Watters made catches of 68 and 33 yards for the scores, evading several tackles along the way.
“We have a good connection with each other,” Null said. “He catches the ball and makes plays, and the wide receivers make catches to get him open as well. I’ve got to thank the line, too. They’re back there protecting me.”
Watters did a little bit of everything. He compiled 134 all-purpose yards, he came up with big tackles on defense and he also returned the opening kickoff of the third quarter 90 yards for a special teams touchdown. It was an important score, as neither team managed to put points on the board through the rest of the quarter.
After Null went down, Ewing manned the backfield in the wildcat and picked the defense apart. He ran the ball 12 times for a game-high 166 yards, and he scored the Elks’ final two touchdowns that put the game out of reach.
“That’s a weapon you get every generation,” Feeney said. “He’s just an incredible athlete and he put the team on his back there in the game and just willed us. It was fun to watch.”
Wright kept the ball 11 times for 68 yards and two touchdowns for C.M. Wright. His second score came with 11 seconds left in the first half that cut Elkton’s lead to 28-14.
Null was thrilled to see the fight in his offense after he went down, which gave the team some much-needed confidence as the regular season nears its conclusion.
“You can’t ask for much more from the team, and we’re moving in the right direction,” he said. “Hopefully, we can just keep things going.”