Miscues Doom Elks in Loss
By Will Johnson
ELKHART – The Elkhart Elks welcomed the Franklin Lions to town last Friday for a District 11-3A DI contest.
Elkhart came into the game with a record of 4-1, which was already better than last year’s mark. The Elks were also coming off a district-opening 34-13 victory over their rival, the Westwood Panthers.
Meanwhile, the perennial powerhouse Franklin Lions swaggered into town with a 3-1 record and were ranked just outside of the top-10 in Class 3A.
Elkhart played tough throughout the game and with the exception of several costly turnovers, the outcome might have been completely different. As it was, the Lions made fewer mistakes and left town with the 48-22 win.
The first quarter saw the Lions jump out to an early 7-0 lead and then the two teams settled into a game of field positioning as they exchanged punts throughout the remaining minutes of the first quarter.
As the second quarter got underway, Franklin QB Marcus Wade connected on a 39-yard pass to Charlie Scarpinato, which moved the ball down to the Elkhart 17. Two plays later, Malcolm Murphy burst up the middle for a 10-yard TD, with just over nine minutes remaining in the first half. The PAT made the score 14-0, in favor of Franklin.
On Elkhart’s ensuing possession, the Elks launched a long, sustained drive which culminated with a one-yard QB sneak from Cade Starr to cut into the Franklin lead. The PAT was good and the Elks had sliced the lead in half, 14-7.
Disaster struck on the following kickoff, however, as Murphy fielded the ball for the Lions and scampered 50 yards for six on a botched onside kick attempt. Asher Ward knocked the ball through the uprights and with under three minutes left in the half, Franklin now led 21-7.
Elkhart’s next possession seemed promising as the Elks took over at their own 32. John Ashford picked up 13 yards to start the drive. Starr went for 10 and then Starr connected with Ky Thomas for 14 more. RJ Moore helped the Elks move the ball inside the Franklin red zone with less than a minute left in the half.
Unfortunately, on a fourth-and-goal, Starr was picked off by Franklin’s Datron Dixon at the goal line. Dixon returned the ball 75 yards down to the Elkhart 25 and on the next play from scrimmage, Wade connected with TE Haze Tomascik for six points to bring the first half scoring to a close with Franklin ahead by a score of 27-7.
The Elks opened the second half with possession of the ball and got right back into the game. Starting at their own 34-yard line, Elkhart moved across the midfield stripe. After Moore brought the ball inside the Lions’ 40, Starr broke free on a 34-yard TD romp to cut into the Franklin lead. The PAT was good which made the score 27-14, Franklin.
A pooch kick on the kickoff gave the ball right back to the Elks. Elkhart moved into the Franklin red zone once again, and just when it looked like the Elks might cut into the Lions’ lead even more, Dixon came up with his second interception of the game.
The turnover allowed the Lions to go down and score to make it 34-14. The Lions added another TD as the fourth quarter got underway when Ward hit James Little on a 34-yard TD. The extra point was good and pushed the lead out to 41-14.
Elkhart wasn’t through, however. On their next possession, Moore ripped off a 53-yard gallop that ended with six points. The two-point conversion made the score 41-22 with nine minutes left to play in the game.
It was too little, too late as the Lions scored one more time on a 51-yard TD run from Dixon to make the final 48-22, after the PAT.
The Elks look to get back to their winning ways as they travel to Trinity on Friday, Oct. 11 to take on the 0-6 Tigers. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.