MORAVIAN FALLS — Elkin quarterback Josh Strickland and Wilkes Central running back Victor Williams went blow for blow Friday night in a Mountain Valley Conference shootout.
But in the end, it was kicker Zane Millsaps who proved to be the difference.
Millsaps booted a 23-yard field goal with five seconds left to give Elkin a wild 45-42 victory on the road in Moravian Falls.
In the first half, it looked like Strickland and the Buckin’ Elks would run away with the win, dropping 35 points in the half to lead 35-14 at the break.
Strickland hit Daniel Brinegar on an 8-yard strike to put Elkin on the board first to jump-start an explosive half. After a Williams’ 51-yard touchdown run, Strickland called his own number on a 38-yards scoring scamper.
Less than two minutes later, Williams broke off another 56-yard touchdown to go over 100 yards in the first quarter on a career day and bring the Eagles even at 14-14.
But Elkin’s offense then exploded in the second quarter.
Strickland found Kody King on back-to-back touchdown passes before running in his fifth score of the half in the final seconds to give Elkin a seemingly-comfortable 35-14 cushion in the locker room.
After Cory Anderson plowed in from seven yards out to push the Elks’ advantage out to 42-14, Williams literally put the Eagles on his back and carried them back into the game.
The junior scored four straight touchdowns on a personal 28-0 run, including a 42-yarder that brought Central all the way back to tie the game at 42-all with 3:18 left in the game.
But Strickland landed the final blow, driving down the field to set up Millsaps’ 23-yard field goal in the final seconds to give Elkin the hard-fought 45-42 triumph.
Strickland finished with 231 yards of total offense (160 passing, 71 rushing) and five total touchdowns. Anderson added a team-high 132 yards on 25 carries, while Brinegar hauled in a team-high six catches for 60 yards.
King added five catches for 56 yards, while Jamiles Hayes caught one pass for 30 yards.
But the story of the game was Williams, who tallied an impressive statline of 341 rushing yards on just 21 carries (16.2 yards per rush) and six touchdowns.
With the win, Elkin stayed in the hunt in the conference race at 6-3 overall and 3-2 in league play.
The Elks return home on Friday on Senior Night to take on Alleghany.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.