The last time Elkton faced North Caroline in football, it was at their place last year for the very same regional football title. The Bulldogs ripped apart the Golden Elks in that meeting and Elkton was intent on avenging that defeat Friday night in Elkton. Junior tailback Raiquon Estep carried the Golden Elks on his back, and with his legs, to a four touchdown performance and a 33-20 win.
Every chance Estep has been given throughout the year to tout his own accomplishments, he has deferred and talked about the opportunities his teammates have created for him. On the heels of a 295-yard performance, Estep did more of the same.
“Shout out to the O-line for helping me get the record.They got me off to a good start,” said Estep after a performance that also featured a blocked punt and a broken up potential touchdown pass defensively. “I found the holes and hit them. I wanted to help this team as much as I could and get redemption. We’ve been working since January to get here and we’re finally here.”
With touchdown runs of 11, 73, 13 and 48 yards, Estep ran right past Elkton alumnus John Triplett’s single season rushing mark to establish a record of his own at 2280 yards for the year. “He is a special football player. I am enjoying my time coaching and being with him and enjoying the moment,” said Elkton Head Coach Matt Feeney. “It is fun, it is poetry watching him run. You can’t describe some of the things he did tonight, but he knows, he gives shout outs to his O-line. He defines football player.”
Those touchdowns helped Elkton to a 33-0 halftime lead, but North Caroline wasn’t going home without a fight. “It didn’t seem real and I have never been in that position.All we preach is that we are a second half team and we were in the driver’s seat,” said Feeney reflecting on the momentum the Bulldogs picked up in the second half after some questionable officiating. “I wasn’t worried. I felt like we were going to rise up when we needed to. No matter what happens we were going to overcome that, the lead was big enough and we were going to hold on when we needed to. I trusted our defense.”
In spite of the North Caroline comeback, Elkton buckled down inside their own 20-yard line to stop multiple throws to the endzone by the Bulldogs to move within one score of a tie or win. With the final fourth down stop, all that was left for the Golden Elks was the victory formation to run down the clock and the ensuing celebration of their 2A East Region Title – and the one bonus for football lovers that comes with playing this late in the year.
“We as a coaching staff have talked about it since the last time we did it in 2012 and all we have wanted to do is get back to a Thanksgiving practice. Football on Thanksgiving, doesn’t get any better,” said Feeney, while deciding to revel in this week before looking forward to next week’s semifinal matchup. “This bunch, you can’t pinpoint what they are, they are an enigma, you never know. I know they are going to fight. I am just trying to enjoy the moment and celebrate with my boys.”
Elkton is the only Cecil County team still playing Fall Sports. They face Calvert at Calvert High School in Prince Frederick on Friday night at 7pm. That 2A semifinal matchup will give the winner a chance at the 2A title on December 3rd.