When the ELCO football team reaches the inevitable end of the 2023 season at some point in the next several weeks, there will undoubtedly be a sense of sadness in the air.

But it will not be the kind that is rooted in a disappointing loss or a less-than-peak performance. Rather, it will be the type of sadness that comes with simply not spending  as much time together.

The Raiders, you see, very much enjoy all the intricacies of football, the strategy, the game planning, the reading and reacting, as well as the more primal aspects of blocking and tackling that define the game.

But they don’t enjoy it more than they enjoy each other.

That’s a good thing, because they’ll be spending at least the next week together.

Behind a 250-yard, three-touchdown performance from senior feature back Jake Williams ELCO assured itself of more time to solidify its bond and legacy Friday night by dismantling Big Spring 34-7 in a District 3 Class 4A first round matchup in chilly Myerstown.

Austin Yesko (8) defends on a deep pass intended for Grant Hall (8). LebTown reporter Pat Huggins looks on. (Travis Boyd)

Now 8-3 and bound for next Friday’s quarterfinal round at No. 2 seed Twin Valley, the seventh-seeded Raiders needed less than three minutes of the opening quarter to take the lead for good and give themselves another 48 minutes side-by-side underneath the Friday night lights.

“It’s really exciting to have 48 more minutes together with these guys,” said ELCO head coach Bob Miller. “We talked last night about how the best leaders are givers, so you give heart, you give energy, you give effort, you give everything you have. It was a great week to have everybody step up and have a solid team victory.”

“I think the biggest thing I’m excited about is we have another week,” said Williams. “It’s a pretty close bond. It makes practice fun, it makes the games fun.”

As usual Wlliams stepped up in the most visible way, accumulating 60 of his 251 yards on the ground on the opening march, and covering the final 8 yards on a blast up the middle that put ELCO on top 7-0 with 9:14 still to play in the first quarter.

Jake Williams (22) scores a touchdown on the first drive for the Raiders. (Travis Boyd)

Despite missing ELCO’s week 9 win vs. Donegal because of injury, Williams entered Friday’s contest less than 20 yards shy of 2,000 for the season. Appropriately, he surpassed 2,000 on his first carry of the night, a 27- yard jaunt off the right side while racking up 201 yards in the first half alone. He finished with the 251 yards on 29 carries.

“That was nice to set the tone,” Williams said of the first scoring drive. “It gave us a confidence to know what we can do.”

“I just felt like everything was clicking,” Miller said of that opening march.”Our guys put on what I thought was a pretty dominant performance up front, and almost made things easy for Jake . If he has holes (to run through) it’s great.”

ELCO would up its lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter in more unconventional fashion, when quarterback Steven Rosado picked up a fumble and squirted 22 yards into the end zone with 10:34 still to play in the first half.

Steven Rosado (3) is Johnny on the Spot as his pitch is fumbled and he picks it up and scores a touchdown. (Travis Boyd)

Williams would then cross the goal line for the second time on another 8-yard jaunt with 2:56 to go in the half to push the lead to 21-0

Then, after Big Spring (6-5) finally got on the board with 40 seconds to go before intermission, Williams gave the visitors precious little time to enjoy it, dashing 65 yards on the ensuing ELCO drive for his third and final TD of the night.

“We gave up a score, there’s 40 seconds left,” said Miller. “And Coach Wetzel (assistant coach John) said why don’t we run the jet sweep one more time. It wasn’t there, until Jake cuts back two or three times and goes all the way. That’s what he brings every single play. He’s a kid who can break one at any time.”

ELCO head coach Robert Miller gets his point across as quarterback Steven Rosado awaits the play call. (Travis Boyd)

Elliot Kreider added a two-run TD run for ELCO in the third quarter of what was largely an uneventful second half due in large part to ELCO’s first half dominance.

Elliott Kreider (10) scores a touchdown as he crosses the goal line. (Travis Boyd)

That allowed for a little peak ahead to next week’s opponent and the opportunity that presents itself.

“We’ll enjoy tonight and celebrate and then get back at it tomorrow,” Miller said. “Twin Valley has some tough, physical kids but we have the tools to match them.”

Find more photos of last night’s game below.

Mitchell Frederick (24) tackles Grant Hall (26). (Travis Boyd)
Griffin Kreider (30) returns a punt for a nice gain. (Travis Boyd)
Austin Yesko (8) strips the ball from Bulldog receiver Ben Fickel (1). (Travis Boyd)
Jake Williams (22) waits for his blocks to develop before hitting the hole. (Travis Boyd)
Mitchell Frederick (24) looks for running room. (Travis Boyd)
Jake Williams (22) had big holes all night thanks to blocks from Phillip Horst (7) and Paul Williams (51). (Travis Boyd)
Mitchell Frederick (24) attempts to gather in a high pitch from quarterback Steven Rosado. (Travis Boyd)
Steven Rosado (3) scores a touchdown as he avoids a tackle from Chase Hope (13). (Travis Boyd)
Ira Gensamer (9) strides to kick an extra point as Sara Miller (16) holds. (Travis Boyd)
Griffin Kreider (30) speeds down the sideline as he returns a punt for a touchdown, but a penalty negates it. (Travis Boyd)
Sara Miller (16) catches a slant and tries to avoid Bulldog defenders. (Travis Boyd)
Jake Williams (22) breaks through the Bulldog defense and runs 65 yards for a touchdown. (Travis Boyd)
Jake Williams (22) avoids a late dive from Caden Clarke (22) and scores. (Travis Boyd)
Sara Miller (16) is able to handle a high snap as she holds for the extra point. (Travis Boyd)
Coach Robert Miller and the team physician check on Jake Williams as he is a little winded after a 65-yard touchdown run. (Travis Boyd)
Brady Stoops (33) and Jacob Stewart (59) crush Grant Hall (26). (Travis Boyd)
Brady Stoops (33) pressures Bulldog quarterback Chase Fry (14) into throwing a pass that was called Intentional Grounding. (Travis Boyd)
Brady Stoops (33) hits quarterback Chase Fry (14) hard. (Travis Boyd)
Steven Rosado (3) rolls out on a quarterback keeper. (Travis Boyd)
Jake Williams (22) stiff arms Spencer Cachara (9). (Travis Boyd)

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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Pat Huggins covered local sports for the Lebanon Daily News for almost 25 years, beginning in January of 1999. Pat was born and raised in Lebanon County and is a 1987 graduate of Lebanon High School and a 1991 alum of Elizabethtown College. A huge Phillies and 76ers fan, Pat spends his spare time on...


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