CHESAPEAKE CITY — The first two times senior Trevin Ewing fielded a punt Friday, his electric returns were negated by penalty flags.
The Elkton returner/receiver wouldn’t be denied the next two times he got his hands on the ball.
Ewing returned a pair of punts for long touchdowns in the first half to help power the top-ranked Golden Elks to a 43-0, season-opening victory over the Eagles in non-divisional football action.
“I’m just trying to make plays. My goal going into games is to score whenever the ball’s in my hands. My job’s to make plays and that’s what I did,” Ewing said. “It’s frustrating to a point [to have returns called back on flags], but I knew I’d have another chance to go back out and do it again and make up for it.
“Special teams scores... that’s just special.”
Ewing found the end zone on returns of 72 and 66 yards as part of an all-around big day for Elkton (1-0), which scored four offensive touchdowns, had a 25-yard field goal from Jake Bosler and added one interception and three sacks on defense — all prior to halftime.
“The penalties [upset] me, we stalled a couple times on offense, but that’s a couple things we can fix. Overall, we’re pleased,” Elkton head coach Matt Feeney said. “We wanted to come out strong and I feel like we did that.”
Elkton took the field for the first time since last year’s 38-0 loss to Oakdale in the 2A State semifinals.
Senior quarterback Nolan Null, the reigning All-County Offensive Player of the Year, connected with Michael Vass on Elkton’s first play from scrimmage, the senior receiver getting behind the defense for a 29-yard touchdown.
“Before the game started, [the coaches] said we were going to take a shot on the first play. We went over it in practice before the game, knew what we were doing and got it down. We executed it in the game,” said Null, who also added scoring strikes to John Rhodan and Tashawn Watters. “We obviously played well, we scored a lot of points and the offensive line played great. I felt like we could move faster, though, but that’s going to happen because it’s the first game and we’re getting used to things still.
“The run game worked, the pass game worked and we got out of here in two quarters, which was good. We’re healthy.”
Senior defensive lineman Ronan DePaul, who returned to the Elks after a one-year hiatus, started the game in the trenches, finishing with a pair of sacks for a unit that graduated only a handful of players from a year ago.
Kharee Stephens also had a sack while fellow junior linebacker Frank Turner had an interception to set up Bosler’s short field goal that made the score 28-0 in the second quarter.
“It feels great to be back out there,” said DePaul, who held a role as a practice squad player in 2017 but sat out last year. “It feels great to actually get a sack. It’s my first time ever starting on defense, so to be out there was something I’ve always dreamed of.
“As a whole team, it feels great to finally be able to come out and set the tone against a county team.”
Watters, a senior running back, found paydirt on an 8-yard run up the middle, but also turned a short pass from Null into a 53-yard touchdown.
With the victory, the Elks maintain possession of the painted sledgehammer, a trophy gifted to the winner of the annual contest between the two Cecil County rivals.
It marked the first game for new Bo Manor head coach VInce Ricci, who took over the program in the offseason after serving the previous four years as defensive coordinator.
“I was definitely a little nervous at the start of the game, but once the ball was kicked, it was business as usual,” Ricci said. “I attribute that to if you’re not nervous, you don’t care.
“Once the ball was kicked, no nerves. We were just trying to put the defense together to stop that high-powered offense. Whoever they play, their defensive coordinator has a hell of a job.”
Perryville 7, Havre de Grace 6
Tyler Nasuta connected with Emarion Hampton for a 16-yard touchdown that capped a 70-yard opening drive for the Panthers (1-0), who topped the rival Warriors for the first time since 2014.
Brandon Rabbit took a short pass 83 yards, but the ensuing PAT was no good for Havre de Grace (0-1).
Rising Sun 42, Cambridge-SD 28
Ben Ehrhart set a new school rushing record, exploding for 320 yards and four touchdowns on 13 carries and adding two catches for 45 yards and one score to finish with five total touchdowns for the Tigers (1-0), who received 87 rushing yards and one score on 14 carries from Justin Brooks (two 2-point conversions) and 25 yards rushing on five carries by Cade Eyman.
Quarterback Aydon Brown finished 2-for-4 passing for 51 yards and a touchdown as Rising Sun secured a Week 1 victory for the first time since 2010.
Kenwood 28, North East 6
The Indians open the season 0-1.