After an impromptu two weeks away from the field due to COVID-19, the Elma Eagles were finally back to playing in front of a crowd on Friday night. And did they ever please the home crowd.
Elma racked up over 450 yards of offense and scored 45 points in the second quarter alone in a 66-25 shellacking over King’s Way Christian at Davis Field.
Playing for the first time since a season-opening win over Hudson’s Bay on Sept. 3, the Eagles (2-0 overall) flew out of the gate and had the game well in hand early in the second quarter.
Big plays were the name of the game for Elma in the first quarter, as the Eagles scored 21 points on three plays of 40 yards or more.
The Eagles opened the scoring on a 51-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Carter Studer to senior receiver René Duran, who was playing his in his first game of the season. Duran’s score gave Elma a 7-0 lead just a 1:30 into the game.
With 4:21 left in the first quarter, Elma running back Jarred Bailey broke loose for a 52-yard touchdown followed later by another long Studer-to-Duran connection, this time for 40 yards and a 21-0 lead.
Elma then took control with one of the highest-scoring quarters in program history. The Eagles scored 45 points in the second quarter alone.
Kicker Canon Seaberg got things started with a 39-yard field goal followed by touchdown runs from Conan Baxter (9 yards) and Kyren Hackney (33 yards) to give Elma a 38-0 lead with just over eight minutes left in the second quarter.
After an 80-yard touchdown pass by Knights backup quarterback Chase Wollam to receiver Aidan Sweeney cut Elma’s lead to 38-6, the Eagles scored four more touchdowns over the final six minutes of the first half.
Baxter, who was also seeing his first game action of the season, scored his second touchdown of the evening on a 10-yard run followed a few minutes later by a three-yard Bailey score, his second of the game.
Elma defensive back Isaac Phillips intercepted Wollam deep in Knights territory and returned it for a pick-six touchdown to put Elma up 59-6 with 3:00 left in the first half.
Running back Manny Hernandez put the final nail in the Knights’ coffin, bursting through the KWC defense for a 45-yard TD run and a 66-6 lead with 1:40 remaining in the second quarter.
“They were ready to go,” Elma head coach Ron Clark said of his team. “But not playing for two weeks you are rusty in some areas too, so there was some good and bad.”
The only blemishes on Elma’s report card were three fumbles — two of them resulting in turnovers — and five penalties for 40 yards.
But the good far outweighed the bad for Elma on Friday as the Eagles totalled 460 yards of total offense, averaging 10.5 yards per play.
Studer was 4-for-5 passing for 104 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Duran was the only receiver to catch a pass for the Eagles with four receptions for 104 yards and two scores.
Elma’s ground game shined in the victory. Eagles running back rushed for a total of 356 yards and averaged 9.1 yards per carry.
Two Eagles running backs broke the century mark on Friday. Bailey (6-123) averaged 20.5 yards per rush while Baxter (11-100) averaged 9.1 yards per carry.
Hernandez (3-57) and Bodem Muller (7-52) also gained considerable yardage on the ground.
“Those guys run the ball hard,” Clark said of his team’s punishing rushing attack, one he almost exclusively switched to once the game was in hand. “We were able to add in some big plays as well.”
Colton Dupré and Phillips led the Eagles defense with four tackles apiece, with Phillips picking off KWC quarterbacks twice in the contest.
Elma’s TJ Dunlap had an interception for the Eagles as Elma capitalized on five KWC turnovers in the game.
The Knights scored 19 points in the second half with a running clock against Elma’s reserves.