Elks Shut Out Panthers in Second Half
By Will Johnson
WESTWOOD – It was a battle for Anderson County bragging rights and the district opener for both teams as the Elkhart Elks traveled to Westwood for a District 11-3A DI matchup against the Panthers.
The Elks came into the game with a record of 3-1 while the Panthers had posted a mark of 1-3.
The game started off with a bang for the Panthers. After forcing an Elkhart punt, Westwood took over at their own 48-yard line.
On their first play from scrimmage, the Panthers moved into a wildcat formation. Running back Tremelle Rhodes took a direct snap from center and slipped through a crease in the Elkhart D line. That was all Rhodes needed as he hit the after burners for a 52-yard TD run with 10:02 left in the first quarter. The PAT was good and gave the Panthers an early 7-0 lead.
The two teams exchanged possessions and then it was the Elks’ turn to find the end zone. Elkhart took over at their own 44-yard line and marched down the field thanks to the efforts of running back RJ Moore.
Once the Elks reached the two, however, QB Cade Starr kept the ball himself as he plowed his way across the goal line to make the score 7-6, Westwood. The extra point attempt was no good.
The score remained 7-6 in favor of Westwood at the end of the first period of play but shortly after the second period got underway, the Elks took the lead for good.
Elkhart took possession at their own 25 and worked their way across the midfield stripe, down to the Westwood 40. With just over nine minutes left in the half, Starr dropped back to pass and saw his big tight end, Ky Thomas, had gotten a step on a Westwood defender.
Thomas hauled in the pass from Starr and rumbled his way across the goal line for a TD to give the Elks a 12-7 lead. On the try for two, Starr found Connor Walker in the end zone to push the Elkhart lead to 14-7.
On the ensuing possession, Westwood struck back. The Panthers quickly moved across midfield and on second down and eight, Rhodes took a pitch from QB Dalton Brooks, blasted through a hole and galloped 41 yards for his second rushing touchdown of the night.
The extra point was no good but at the eight minute mark of the second quarter, Westwood had cut the lead to 14-13.
The Elks had one last possession before the half and they made the most of it. Starr drove Elkhart down the field as he used the rushing of Moore and the receiving of Messiah Birdow to move inside the Westwood red zone.
Elkhart worked the ball down to the three and with less than a minute remaining in the half, Starr found Thomas for his second receiving TD of the game. Moore converted the two point attempt which brought the first half scoring to an end with the Elks leading 22-13.
After the half, the two teams battled to a stalemate until the two minute mark of the third quarter. Elkhart maneuvered the ball down inside the Westwood five. From there, Starr found Walker standing by himself in the end zone for a four-yard TD.
The try for two was unsuccessful but as the third quarter came to an end, the Elks had pushed their lead to 28-13.
Elkhart added another score midway through the fourth quarter as Starr bulled his way across the goal line from four yards out to make the final score Elkhart 34 Westwood 13.
The Elks are at home this week as they welcome the Franklin Lions to town for a matchup at Jerry Ives Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm. The Panthers have a bye this week.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.