JOPPA — The first play of the fourth quarter was unlike any other so far this season for the Elkton football team.
After seven quarters of shut-out football and with their starters mostly out of the game, the Golden Elks finally surrendered their first points of the year. It meant little to the outcome, as Elkton had built a six-touchdown lead by then.
Edgewood’s lone score proved to be the game’s final points, as the top-ranked Golden Elks cruised to a 42-8 Chesapeake Division win Friday night at Joppatowne High School. Elkton improved to 2-0 on the young season, having defeated rival Bohemia Manor, 42-0, the previous week.
“They’re just executing,” Elks coach Matt Feeney said. “They’re practicing hard and putting what we do in practice together. They’re doing it on the field and we’re getting good results.”
When the game was over, Michael Vass wore Elkton’s ‘turnover chain’ around his neck. His interception was the final of many takeaways the Elks’ defense recorded on the night.
Senior Tashawn Watters had the privilege of donning the chain late in the first half.
“We started it in the middle of last year,” Watters said of the chain, made prevalent by the University of Miami football program. “That’s something that we all like, so we’re going to keep doing it.”
Watters returned his interception in the closing minutes of the opening half 55 yards to the end zone. It was his third time in the end zone that half – rushing for two touchdowns in the first quarter – and put Elkton ahead 35-0 at halftime.
Watters said the pick-6 came on a play he remembered Edgewood beating the Elks’ defense on a year ago.
“I saw that they did it on film, so this whole game I’d been waiting for it,” he said. “The play it happened, I saw the quarterback eye [No.] 21 and I saw 21 looking for it. So, I baited it and took it to the house.”
Watters and Feeney had similar assessments of what has made Elkton’s defense so dominant through two games.
“They’re fast. They’re aggressive. They buy into the system,” the coach said. “When you get that, you get the result that you’re looking for.”
Watters plugged his teammates for postseason accolades.
“We all want it. We’re all hungry. We’ve got a lot of key players on our defense,” he said. “Honestly, if we were to make the All-County team right now, I’m pretty sure all of our defense would be on the team. Everybody wants it. Everybody’s been working and it’s all coming together now.”
Elkton led 28-0 after one quarter. Like Watters, Kahree Stephens rushed for a pair of touchdowns. The Elks ran an end-around to Trevin Ewing on their first offensive play of the second half, and he went untouched 44 yards to the end zone to grow the lead to 42-0.
“I was preaching to the guys on the bus – literally the whole way from school – that we gotta come out fast and come out hard, because I know once we got up, our mojo was going to be going and we weren’t going to let up,” Watters said.
Feeney noted the significance of obtaining a win over a 3A opponent. Elkton will have the chance to capture another one next week against Aberdeen.
Following next week’s road game, the Elks finally open their home slate against Havre de Grace. Then, it’s a Week 5 rematch with Oakdale – the team that knocked Elkton out of the 2A State semifinals a year ago.
For Watters, that 38-0 loss was what fueled himself and his teammates all offseason.
“Oakdale left a bad taste in our mouth all summer. Ever since Oakdale, probably like two weeks after, we were back in the weight room – back to square one. We were working hard. I think that’s something we’re not going to let go of for the rest of the season,” he said. “We talk about that every week. We’ve been talking about it since it happened, so we’re ready. Of course, we’ve got to stay focused on and prepare for the team in the week ahead.”
While Watters reflected on the loss that provided motivation for an entire offseason, Feeney could only look as far ahead as next Friday.
“I don’t even know who we play Week 4, and I’m not even lying,” he said. “I just know who we play next week.”
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