2A Football State Quarterfinals: Elkton vs. Liberty

Senior quarterback Nolan Null and the Elkton football team host Middletown tonight to play for a berth in the state championship.

ELKTON — Golden Elks head coach Matt Feeney traveled to Annapolis Tuesday to attend a luncheon hosted for each of the high school football state semifinalists.

He’s become a regular at the annual event.

“It’s the third time we’re going in four years, so it’s kind of nice,” he said. “You see some of the same coaches for the third time, and they’re considered some of the best programs in the state. So in that regard, it’s gratifying, but we haven’t walked out of that building yet with a trophy. We’re hungry. The guys are not satisfied yet.”

Senior running back Tashawn Watters was a member of each of those teams.

“It’s my third time in four years practicing on Thanksgiving. I love it,” he said. “I’m making sure not to take it for granted because not every team gets to do this. I’m really thankful for the guys that I’m around, for the coaches I’m around and for being able to have the opportunity to play one more Friday.”

No Elkton players would be heard groaning over practicing on the holiday. It’s a reward reserved only for the four state semifinalists.

“It feels great to get to work and get out here,” senior quarterback Nolan Null said. “We’re looking forward to Friday a lot. We went over film, we know what we need to do, we just need to execute.”

Null noted the size of Middletown’s defensive front and they play-making ability of its cornerbacks. He still plans to take his chances with his guys when they take the field at 7 tonight.

“I’m gonna take my wide receivers over any corner in the state,” he said. “We have the best wide receiving corps in the state.”’

Elkton (12-0) will host the semifinal game for the first time under Feeney. The Elks will be the home team if they reach the state final at Navy, but no one is looking past the Knights (10-2).

“They’re a typical Western Maryland football team – big, strong, weight-room guys, very disciplined. They’ve got a quarterback who is one of the bigger, faster kids we will have seen this year. He’s about the same size as the Oakdale and Liberty quarterback, but a little thicker. He’s a downhill runner,” Feeney said. “They have a 6-5 tight end, 6-5 wide receiver – they play D-end as well. No. 21 (Jalen Huskey) is a great athlete, gets open in space, and the quarterback can also throw the ball real well. They’ve got a lot of dynamic pieces that make it difficult from a defensive standpoint. Defensively, they’re very sound. They don’t give up many points. They fly to the ball. Just a solid football team.”

Feeney said Elkton will do what is has been on the defensive side. Offensively, the Elks have practiced some new schemes to add a few wrinkles based on what the coaching staff has seen work against Middletown on tape.

“We’re in the Final 4 now. Everybody is good all the way around. Once again, I’m confident in my team, confident in my guys, so hopefully we can go ahead and get it done,” Watters said. “We’re working harder and focusing even more to hopefully move past another obstacle on the way to our goal.”

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