Grief-stricken Elkton rolls over Oakdale, 31-14, in Ravens RISE High School Football Showdown
By John Evans
Oct 04, 2019 at 11:08 PM
ELKTON — Inspired by the death of an assistant coach and the desire to make a name for itself against a team which embarrassed it last season, Elkton used stellar efforts by both its defense and offense to rout defending Class 2A state champion Oakdale, 31-14, on Friday.
The game was this week’s Ravens RISE High School Showdown and matched playoff teams from last season, when Oakdale routed the Golden Elks, 38-0, in the 2A semifinals on their way to the state title.
The game was also played less than a week after the unexpected death of assistant coach Ed Brown, who was also the father of the Elks’ Ian Brown. The team attended his funeral earlier in the day.
“I would say (the death) absolutely played a role,” Elkton head coach Matt Feeney said. “They loved the man. We loved the man. He was such a fabric of the program. Not many teams experience losing a coach in mid-season and having to attend his funeral, then play as game. But we rallied around each other And around his son.”
Elkton (5-0) controlled Oakdale (3-2) on both sides of the ball. They had eight sacks (three each by Ronan DePaul and Tashawn Watters Jr.) and four interceptions, the last one ending in a 70-yard TD return by Jakeem Jackson.
Two of Watters’ sacks came on fourth down and stalled Oakdale scoring chances. He also had a 55-yard run that set up a field goal to close the first half and give the Golden Bulls a 17-7 lead.
“This was an opportunity for them to stamp themselves as a legitimate player in the 2A level again,” Feeney said of his Elks. “We knew they were a physical football team and to win we had to play four great quarters and match them. We did that, and more.”
Feeney noted that the same players that stood out on offense were stars on defense as well.
“A lot of these guys play two ways. I don’t think we have given up too many points this season. They have been awesome on both sides of the ball,” Feeney said. “They are excited, they want recognition. They are hungry. They are excited to be what they are.”
Elkton scored on a 90-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead on 7-yard run by Gregg Triplett, then Oakdale tied it when Cameron Dorner caught a tipped pass from Ethan Reifer for a 52-yard score.
Oakdale didn’t score again until the closing moments of the game, Elkton holding them scoreless for almost 35 minutes as they jumped to a 31-7 lead.
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The Golden Elks’ special teams and defense also got into the act. Trevin Ewing returned a punt 95 yards for a score and Jackson intercepted a pass and returned it 70 yards for a score. Jacob Bosler added four extra points and a field goal.
Nolan Null’s 14-yard pass to Michael Vaas accounted for Elkton’s other score.
Oakdale has lost two games in a row after winning 17 straight.
”We have to decide if we are going to rebound from this and build our program back up or are we going to let it get worse,” Elkton coach Kurt Stein said.