This guy is deflecting praise, that guy’s deflecting praise. The offense is complimenting the defense, and the defense is complimenting the offense.
Heck, when you’re 4-0 there’s enough credit to go around.
On a pleasant Friday night at ELCO Stadium on Sept. 15, the Raider football team passed its most difficult test to date, with a spirited 28-21 triumph over visiting Conrad Weiser. ELCO emerged victorious from the see-saw affair when junior quarterback Steven Rosado scored on a one-yard sneak with 1:00 left to play.
With the contest knotted at 21 in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Raiders pieced together a nine-run, 59-yard possession predicated on motivated execution.
The contest served as ELCO’s Lancaster-Lebanon Section Four opener and the result pushed it to 4-0 on the season, following three relatively lop-sided non-league victories. While the Raiders’ start to the season should set them up for even more meaningful games down the road, things figure to get increasingly more difficult in the coming weeks.
“They’ve shown a lot of improvement,” said ELCO head coach Bob Miller of his troops. “We’ve had a lot of guys step up and fill holes. When you have this many players you’ve got to find a way to get them on the field because they’ve worked so hard.”
“Now you’re starting to see guys like (Mitchell) Fredrick and (Austin) Yesko making bigger contributions, and Elliott Kreider had harder runs,” continued Miller. “Again, it all starts up front. Those guys are making the system work.”
“They’re (the offensive linemen) basically new,” said senior tailback Jake Williams, who paced the ELCO offense with 23 rushes for 238 yards. “But they lifted and worked out during the offseason. They’re very underrated. I see my role as just kind of a support guy for the younger guys to talk to. On the field, it’s just running and blocking.
“I’d say Jesus gets the most credit,” Williams added. “By leaning on my faith, it gives me peace at the games. Knowing it’s about Him and not me.”
ELCO had taken a 21-14 advantage 1:26 into the final quarter on a 47-yard Williams spring to paydirt. But Conrad Weiser responded four minutes later with a 25-yard touchdown collaboration between quarterback Donovan Gingrich and receiver Josh Miller, on a fourth-down-and-nine snap.
“What I remember about the fourth quarter was the physicality of the line play and the hard running of Jake Williams,” said Miller. “I thought Steven (Rosado) ran the offense beautifully and Elliott Kreider’s versatility was off the charts.”
“It was an important win because it was Friday night and it’s high school football,” added Miller. “We have a lot to clean up, we really do. But the kids played hard, and they kept their heads up. They responded to adversity and challenges. Finishing that last drive showed their heart.”
“What stood out to me was the whole team’s energy and grit and heart,” said Williams of the decisive fourth period. “That was great. Every (Friday) night is important. It’s always 1-0. It’s a nice rivalry with Conrad Weiser.”
“We don’t look back,” Williams continued. “But we’ve lost to Weiser in the past. Not that we have anything to prove. It was like the next step for us. There’s a big difference between a 3-0 team and a championship team.”
The Raiders enjoyed a 14-7 lead at halftime, courtesy of Williams’ 58-yard scoring jaunt in the middle of the second stanza and Rosado’s initial one-yard sneak. Rosado’s touchdown capped a 13-play, 89-yard march that chewed up most of the first-quarter clock.
“This was closer,” said Miller of his team’s previous three victories. “We got stopped on drives tonight. We gave ourselves some really tough situations with a lack of discipline. They (the Scouts) did a great job. They matched us score for score until the end.”
“I honestly feel like we could’ve played a lot better,” said Williams. “But it was awesome how we came together at the end. We were a little frustrated throughout the game. But we kind of put it behind us.”
Some 333 of the Raiders’ 353 total yards came on the ground. Conversely, 189 of Conrad Weiser’s 281 total yards came through the air.
With his 238-yard-two-touchdown performance, Williams now has 1161 rushing yards this season and 17 scores.
“The defense did well,” said Miller. “We got ourselves in some bad positions. But to step up and make that stop at the end, this is not last year’s team.”
Head Coach: Robert Miller
Assistant Coaches: John Carley, Robert Williams, Wyatt Hall, Earl Thomas, John Wetzel
|53||Alex Muniz Cruz||Sr.||OL/DL|
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