On a stormy Friday night at ELCO Stadium, the hometown Raiders trounced visiting Columbia 49-6 in a non-league contest sped up by the mercy rule and shortened by lightning.

Once again spearheaded by senior burner Jake Williams and an emerging offensive line, ELCO was never seriously heeded after opening a 21-0 lead early in the second period.

With flashes of lightning filling the southern sky, the contest was called and ELCO declared the winner with one second remaining in the third quarter. Many of the scholastic football contests in the central Pennsylvania area, including those involving three other Lebanon County teams, were either delayed or postponed last night.

For an ELCO program that preaches culture over results, the victory was its third to start the season. And for a Raider program that emphasizes “we over me,” it was the third straight time this year that Williams ran wild.

ELCO started the season with record turnout – 67 players, the most in Bob Miller’s decade-plus as head coach. (Jeff Falk)

With the triumph, ELCO matched its 3-0 start in 2022.

The outcome left Columbia 1-2 on the season.

The Raider kickoff team prepares for action. (Jeff Falk)

“When you have a large number of kids, it makes it a little worrisome,” said ELCO head coach Bob Miller of his oversized roster. “I’m really impressed with how competitive the kids are and how much they want to get on the field. For the most part, they’ve taken to their roles. I like the culture developing. We’re starting to see a bond and a pride for playing together.

“We’re pleased with the potential and the way the kids are buying in,” he continued. “We’ve got to improve our communication and technique to be prepared for section (Lancaster-Lebanon Four) play. We want to go 1-0 every play.”

“At ELCO, we don’t really care who gets the credit,” said ELCO junior lineman Tupac Vasquez-Disla. “We get to represent ELCO, that’s the best part. When we win, it’s not a Jake (Williams) win, it’s not a linemen win, it’s not a receiver win. It’s a team win.”

With his 15 carries and 369 rushing yards, Williams broke the ELCO record for yards in a single game that he had established last week in a similar win over Annville-Cleona. He also tallied five touchdowns for the third straight outing, giving him 15 on the year.

To this point of the year, Williams has amassed 923 rushing yards – a number that feels historic and a little Tommy Long-like.

“Every run he makes, it’s their (the offensive line’s) yards,” said Miller. “It’s really a testament to their hard work. Jake’s a talented guy, but the line is really coming into its own.”

“He (Williams) is running hard, and I’m impressed with his vision,” added Miller. “I think he’s got a better burst than he had last year.”

“We are very young,” said Vasquez-Disla of his fellow linemen. “We’ve still got a lot of things to learn. We just want to raise our standard by 1 percent every play.

“Jake’s a very humble guy,” Vasquez-Disla added. “Everyone really likes him. He’s got a great personality. We’re all close. It’s like a brotherhood.”

ELCO executed every phase of the game on Friday night, including special teams. The Raiders are now 3-0 for the second straight year. (Jeff Falk)

On ELCO’s fifth offensive snap, 5:36 into the game, Williams patiently weaved his way through traffic, broke it off the right sideline and then raced 52 yards to put the Raiders ahead 7-0. Four minutes later, he took a hand-off from junior quarterback Steven Rosado 66 yards to “The House” to give the home side a 14-point advantage.

But his most impressive scoring run of the night came 9:45 before halftime, when he broke a couple of tackles, made a pair of other Columbia defenders miss before zooming 80 yards into the end zone.

“The start didn’t feel as fast to me as it did to you,” said Miller. “It felt like we were a little undisciplined and maybe lacked communication up front early in the game. Defensively, I thought we did a phenomenal job. We gave up one big play, but for the most part we made them earn it.”

ELCO head coach Bob Miller has a word with senior Elliott Kreider. (Jeff Falk)

“I feel like we could’ve played better,” said Vasquez-Disla. “We could’ve had more communication. But we had each other’s backs and that’s why we won the game.

“I like to communicate,” he added. “We all like to talk to each other and make sure we’re doing the right things. We trust our backs to make plays off of us.”

Before the lightning halted the festivities, the Raiders scored four touchdowns in the third quarter – two more by Williams – on bursts of 58 and 51 yards – and one each from senior Elliott Kreider and junior Austin Yesko.

The ELCO defense held Columbia to a negative 37 yards rushing. The Raiders outgained the Crimson Tide 475 total yards to 60.

ELCO defenders Brady Stoops (33) and Paul Williams (51) apply pressure on Columbia quarterback Cameron McClair. The Raiders limited the Crimson Tide to 60 total yards. (Jeff Falk)

Next Friday night, ELCO will open play in rugged L-L Section Four when it hosts Conrad Weiser.

“We’ve got to get better on Monday,” said Miller. “The section’s as good as it was last year. It’s outstanding. I think it’s the best section in the state.”

ELCO Raiders

Read all our coverage of the Raiders here.


Head Coach: Robert Miller

Assistant Coaches: John Carley, Robert Williams, Wyatt Hall, Earl Thomas, John Wetzel

Jersey NumberNameGradePosition
1Jordan HartzJr.WR/DB
2Justin SmuckerJr.WR/DB
3Steven RosadoJr.QB/DB
4Shane BoyerJr.WR/LB
5Jackson ConnersSr.WR/DB
6Gavin BicherJr.QB/LB
7Phillip HorstJr.TE/DE
8Austin YeskoJr.RB/DB
9Ira GensamerSr.RB/DB
10Elliott KreiderSr.RB/LB
11Dom HerzogSr.WR/DB
14Ethan BusserJr.WR/LB
15Dante JamesSr.WR/DB
16Sara MillerSr.WR/DB
17Josh BlairJr.QB/LB
19James ProsserSr.WR/DB
20Jude WeaverSr.WR/DB
21Jonathan FisherJr.WR/DB
22Jake WilliamsSr.RB/LB
23Zane TrostleJr.RB/DB
24Mitchell FrederickJr.RB/LB
25Lee TobiasSr.RB/DB
26Landon GoodisonJr.K/P
28Butch SavichSo.WR/DB
29Issac HarmsSr.WR/DB
30Griffin KreiderFr.QB/DB
32Ellis GensamerSo.RB/LB
33Brady StoopsJr.RB/DL
34Victor FelicianoSr.WR/DB
35Dom ShaakJr.RB/DB
38Isaiah AngleySr.RB/DL
40Rhyce FaustJr.WR/DB
41Hunter MehaffeySo.WR/DB
42Elejandro WeisterSo.WR/DB
44Connor ShowalterSo.WR/DB
45J.C. DejesusJr.RB/DL
50Luke BaileySo.OL/DL
51Paul WilliamsSo.OL/DL
52Avery KurtzJr.OL/DL
53Alex Muniz CruzSr.OL/DL
54Robert LubinJr.OL/DL
55Brayden MalloyJr.OL/DL
57Mason SipeSo.OL/DL
58Carter KemperSr.OL/LB
59Tupac Vasquez-DislaJr.OL/DL
60Lukas MorascoJr.OL/DL
62Griffin FisherSr.OL/DL
63Asher GrierSo.OL/DL
64Dominick LattaruloJr.OL/DL
65Riley McDonaldSo.RB/LB
66Chris BatemanJr.OL/DL
67Ty LandisSo.RB/LB
68Jason ArnoldSr.WR/DB
71James KuhneSo.WR/DB
72Dawson OckerSr.OL/DL
74Cole HaagSo.OL/DL
75Bryce MaizeJr.OL/DL
76Josie Lebron-MatosSo.WR/DB
77Tyler ShaakSo.OL/DL
78Dylan ReddingerSr.WR/DB
79Ethan BretziusSo.OL/DL
80Tyce FiddnerJr.TE/DE
81Michael BooksJr.WR/DB
82Bryant AukerSr.WR/DB
84Noah BurgessJr.WR/DB
85Landon LeonardJr.TE/DE
87Chase HessJr.TE/DE
88Bryce HaislipSr.WR/DB
89Dalton PyzkaSo.TE/DE
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Editor’s note: This article was updated after publication to correct Jake Williams’ rushing statistics.

Jeff Falk is a seasoned journalist based in Lebanon, PA. He's a graduate of Cedar Crest High School, Penn State University, and a lifelong resident of Lebanon, born and raised. Currently, he is a feature writer for Engle Publishing in Lancaster, the editor of LebCoSports.com, sports director at WLBR...


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