Last year the Elkin Buckin’ Elks football team had one of its best seasons in over six years. Elkin came away with an overall record of 6-7, and a Mountain Valley Athletic Conference record of 3-4. This season, Elkin will be looking to capitalize on the success it felt last year.
“Many of the kids that traveled with last year’s team will now be relied on with bigger roles and expected to contribute,” said Elkin head coach Scott Wood on how he will roll over the success from last year’s team.
This year Elkin has 26 players on its varsity roster, many of whom are juniors and sophomores. With a young team holding the keys, there can be several hiccups along the way. That is why the Buckin’ Elks will be relying on its seniors to show the younger player the ropes.
Ty Townsend, Brandon Loredo, Riley Lyles, Matthew Altemueller, Silas Cooley, Tanner Upchurch, Luke Bellia and Graylon Hughes will all be returning for the Buckin’ Elks.
“We have a bunch of tough skill kids that will have some big athletic linemen infront of them,” said Wood.
Townsend comes in a 5’10 and 135 pounds, he can play the quarterback position while also giving the Elks an option on defense. Loredo measures 6’2 and 146 pounds, he is multi-talented on the field and can cover several positions on defense and offense. Lyles is 5’8, 160 pounds and gives Elkin an option on offense. Altemueller is 6’2 and 300 pounds, which gives Elkin size on the offensive and defensive lines. Hughes (6’2, 215 pounds), Cooley (5’11, 178 pounds), Upchurch (5’10, 145 pounds) and Bellia (5’10, 165 pounds) all bring experience and strength to the table.
While the coaches at Elkin feel good about the season, there are still several question marks that are popping up. The quarterback position is one of those question marks, as Beau Burgess graduated last year.
“We are working a few kids at the position and they are all progressing every day,” said Wood on who the quarterback will be. “Each one of them bring something different to the table.”
Townsend seems to be the top recruit for the quarterback spot this season. Last year Townsend was the back-up to Burgess and had nine passing attempts, eight of which he completed. Townsend also had two touchdowns, zero interceptions and one fumble for a completing percentage of 89 percent.
Offensively, the Buckin’ Elks are returning a few players who made an impact last season. Tyler Mayes is a Junior this season and he comes into the year already having experienced what its like to play on the varsity team. Last season, Mayes had eight carries for 31-yards and helped the Buckin’ Elks out by being a versatile player.
Boone Beaver is also back this season and ready to make a new for himself on the field. The 5’11 175-pound Sophomore had 11 carries for 97 yards in 2017. He also had one touchdown and a 21-yard reception.
Elkin has a clear goal in mind this season, and it’s one that many people can get behind.
“We want to get better every day and make a deep run in the playoffs,” said Wood.
Elkin checks off many of the marks that are needed for a strong team. 2018 could be the year the Buckin’ Elks make it past the second round of the NCHSAA playoffs. With players continuing to grow as the season progresses, things could get interesting by the sixth week.