With Hurricane Florence making its way towards North Carolina, the Elkin Buckin’ Elks moved their Friday night football game to Wednesday night to avoid the impending rain. It was the last non-conference game for Elkin, as they hosted the South Stokes Sauras at Grissom Stadium. The 48-hour move up didn’t hinder the Buckin’ Elks, as they came out strong on both sides of the ball to take a 35-7 win over the Sauras.
“Defense is pretty good, but we have to clean some stuff up,” said Elkin head coach Scott Wood. “We’ve got to clean some stuff up. Offensively there are some improvements that need to be made, but defensively we didn’t play bad.”
From the opening kick-off, things seemed to go Elkin’s way. The Sauras received the kick-off to start the game, and on their second play, they fumbled the ball. The fumble was recovered by Graylon Hughes, which gave Elkin a first down on its own 22-yard line.
Elkin ran four plays before it made it into the end zone. The first play of the drive was a hand off to Cortland Sturdivant for a 5-yard gain. On second-and-5, Tyjae Townsend put the ball into Sturdivant’s hands again for a 6-yard run which resulted in a first down at the 9-yard line. Elkin kept advancing on its next play as Boone Beaver added two yards to the play.
On second-and-7, from the 7-yard line, Townsend ran the quarterback keeper and found a hole in the Sauras’ defense to put six points on the board. The point after was no good, but Elkin had a 6-0 lead with 9:43 left in the first quarter.
It took two drives before Elkin was able to add additional points to the board. The Buckin’ Elks made their way down the field, but they stalled out on the 11-yard line. Elkin sent in their field goal unit and the kick was good. The home team put down three points for a 9-0 lead with 10:53 left in the first half.
Before the first half was completed, Elkin was able to tack on another touchdown. The play started on the 20-yard line for the blue and gold. Tyler Mayes made a four-yard carry to bring up second-and-6 from the 24. With time winding down, Townsend sent the ball down the field to Brody Wabel. Wabel caught the pass and put a stiff arm on a South Stokes defender to gain 21 yards on the play.
Elkin kept adding positive yards on the drive, with Townsend gaining five yards on the first down play. With third-and-5 looming, Beaver carried the ball across the 50-yard line and kept going until he was brought down around the 36. With a 14-yard gain, Elkin had another first-down.
The next play was one for the highlight reel. Townsend’s pocket was collapsing, which made him have to run to his right and look for a pass down-field. Austin Longworth was covered by one Saura defender, so Townsend chanced the throw and put it in the area for Longworth. The pass was thrown and as it was sailing threw the air, Longworth’s size played to his advantage, as he jumped up in the air to make the catch. The play gave Elkin a first down at the 19-yard line.
From there, Elkin was able to gain yards until second-and-goal from the 6. Townsend handed the ball to Brett Beaver, who launched himself into the end zone for six points. The extra point was good, and Elkin took a 16-0 lead heading into the halftime break.
The first two quarters saw Elkin gain 161 yards and hold South Stokes to just 37 yards.
“You know one would think with two days’ practice our offense would be ahead of our defense,” said Wood. “They had more time to prepare for us. On defense we stayed pretty basic tonight.”
In the second half, things kept going Elkin’s way. The Buckin’ Elks opened up the third quarter with a touchdown drive that lasted eight plays and just over four minutes. On third-and-2 from the 25-yard line, Beaver found a hole in the Sauras’ defense and ran the ball 25 yards for an Elkin touchdown. The extra point was good by Brady Shugart and Elkin had a 23-0 lead.
The final quarter saw South Stokes score its first, and only, touchdown of the night. From the 22-yard line on third-and-5, the Sauras put the ball into the end zone and the extra point through the uprights to cut Elkin’s lead by seven points.
It didn’t take long for Elkin to answer back to South Stokes’ touchdown with a touchdown of its own. Elkin made its way down the field with the help of Townsend, Mayes and Sturdivant. On third-and-9, Townsend handed the ball off to Beaver, who broke three tackles and put himself into the end zone. The extra point by Shugart was once again ruled good, and Elkin had a 30-7 lead with less than six minutes remaining in the game.
Up until the last minute of the fourth quarter, Elkin kept up its momentum. On the final drive of the night, it seemed as though Elkin would put another touchdown on the board. Unfortunately for the home team, a flag was thrown and the points were taken off the board.
Defensively, Elkin was able to make a stand in the final quarter to keep South Stokes from scoring its second touchdown of the night. Elkin’s defense came out tough as Hughes, Wabel, Longworth, Silas Cooley and Chris Propst all had sacks on South Stokes during the game.
When all was said and done, Elkin had taken a 30-7 non-conference win during Wednesday night football.
Elkin moves to 3-1 overall and will host Starmount on Friday night for the Battle of the Bridge. It will be the opening conference game for both teams.