After last year’s road battle in Rising Sun, Elkton wasn’t taking anything for granted against a 1-3 Tigers squad on a rainy night at home. In the end, the pivotal play came down a little bit intuition on the part of a senior linebacker to stop a potentially game-tying drive on a dwindling fourth quarter clock to give the Golden Elks a 27-20 win.
“They were throwing slants all game and actually I told the other linebacker, switch sides with me, because I felt it, I felt something. I just turned my hip, dropped back and it came to me,” said Joe Scudari about the interception that sealed the win for the Golden Elks with less than a minute on the clock. “All I had in my head is that I was doing this for all my brothers. I couldn’t let them down. I had to get that stop.”
It was a night where Elkton Head Coach Matt Feeney relied on senior leadership to get past a feisty and opportunistic Tigers squad. “He is a senior leader on this team for a reason. He is the kind of guy you want out there because he is going to make something happen and he never ceases to amaze me. They put 13 points on the board, not on our defense. So they only put 7 on our defense. We’ll take our chances with that,” said Feeney about Sucderi, before switching to senior running back Raiquon Estep. “Ray carried this team on his back tonight. We are a run first team. If we can run, we are.”
In spite of Estep’s 233 yards rushing and three touchdowns, the Golden Elks still found themselves in a battle with the Tigers, thanks to turnovers, penalties and poor special teams play. Rising Sun scored touchdowns on a 37-yard fumble recovery return and took a botched puntthe Tigers took 60 yards for a score on fourth and long.
“Themselves, they are getting in their own way. Waiting for somebody else to do it for you, instead of taking the initiative. We closed out in the end and our guys decided to get it done,” said Feeney in response to what keeps slowing his squad down. “When it is time to close it out early we are just not getting it done. At the end, we rose up, so I am happy with that. Our penalties are dramatically down, but that’s on us. We gotta get that first down. We have to clean it up.”
The win moved Elkton to 4-1 and dropped Rising Sun Head Coach’s Rich Opp’s squad to 1-4. “Momentum, grit, move the ball on offense and we are good.I told them I am going down to Elkton to win, not just to survive,” said Opp of taking Elkton to the brink in back-to-back years, but falling short. “I told them I was proud of them. I would say it is the mark of a solid team to take advantage of opportunities. We have North East at our place next week and we will come out smoking.”