After a quick turnaround this week, the Elkin Buckin’ Elks put on their best performance of the season against West Wilkes on Friday night. Although the Elks lost, 38-35, they played like a renewed football team who wanted their first win of the season. Elkin put up four touchdowns in the first half, and only one in the second half.
The first quarter the Blackhawks got the start they wanted as they scored on their third play of the night. Alex Ortiz ran a quarterback sneak to put West Wilkes ahead 7-0 with 10:50 left in the first quarter. The Elkin offense knew it would have to come out strong to stick with the Blackhawks’ offensive plays. The Elks got off to a great start on their first drive, as Beau Burgess found the hands of Hayden Brooks for a gain of six yards, and Alex Duncan for a gain of seven yards. On the next play of the drive, Burgess found Tanner Sturdivant in the end zone for a touchdown. Unfortunately, the Elks were flagged for a pass interference which took away the touchdown pass and moved Elkin back to the 36-yard line. Elkin was unable to convert on its next play and was forced to punt.
With the Elks still reeling from their declined touchdown, the Elkin defense came out strong on its next play as it caught up with the West Wilkes defense to force a punt. With the Elkin offense back on the field, Burgess and the offense ran three plays before coming up with a touchdown pass. Burgess found Jaylen Mayes, who ran the ball into the end zone for a 42-yard touchdown. Mayes’ touchdown, and Corey Wiles’ extra point leveled the score, 7-7, with 6:26 left in the first quarter.
On West Wilkes’ next drive, the Elkin defense came up strong once again to force a three-and-out situation. Duncan made his mark on Ortiz as he beat the Blackhawks defense to earn a sack and hand Wilkes a loss of six yards. The next drive for Elkin was stalled on the 45, while the next drive for Wilkes was put out on the 54. With 3:53 left in the first quarter, Elkin was forced to punt once again. The snap for the Elks went into the end zone to force a safety and award West Wilkes a 9-7 lead. West Wilkes outsmarted Elkin on its next drive to come away with a touchdown to take the score to 16-7 with 9.8 seconds left in the first quarter.
The second quarter started with a 76-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown for Elkin. The drive lasted over four minutes, and Burgess came away with a six-yard touchdown run to cut West Wilkes’ lead, 16-14. With the West Wilkes offense back on the field, they came up with another touchdown to make the score 22-14 with 5:42 left in the half. The Elkin offense was not about to let the Blackhawks out of its sight, as it got the job done on its next drive. It took Elkin two plays on its next drive to score a touchdown. Burgess found Mayes for an 80-yard touchdown pass to keep the score within two points.
With time winding down in the half, Elkin’s defense and West Wilkes’ offense were battling at every turn. After not being able to stop the Blackhawks’ offense in the second quarter, the Elkin defense came up big on its next play. They forced a West Wilkes punt to give the Elks the ball back with less than four minutes on the clock. It took two plays once again for Elkin to score another touchdown and take its first lead of the game. Burgess found Mayes, who then beat two West Wilkes defenders and then ran for an 89-yard touchdown to give Elkin a 28-23 lead with 2:24 left in the half.
West Wilkes was able to get the ball back before the half, and it made the most of its plays as it scored a touchdown to take the lead back from the Elks. West Wilkes went for a two-point conversion, which was successful. At the half, the Blackhawks took back a 31-28 lead.
After an exciting first half, the third quarter was off to a slow start as it took seven minutes for West Wilkes to score a touchdown. With the Elks behind 38-28, Elkin tried to come up big in the second half but things didn’t go its way. Burgess threw an interception on the fourth play of Elkin’s opening drive. West Wilkes took the ball to the 20-yard line, but the Elkin defense came up big to force a punt. The third quarter ended with only one touchdown being scored.
The fourth quarter saw the Elks come up with a touchdown pass from Burgess. Burgess found the hands of Mayes, who made a great catch to run the ball for a 65-yard touchdown. With the Elks down, 38-35, they got the ball back with 3:51 left in the game. Things looked to be going Elkin’s way until Burgess was picked off by West Wilkes. West Wilkes had the ball on the 34-yard line and the Elkin defense came up with a huge stop to get its offense the ball back with less than two minutes left in the game. The drive started on the four-yard line for the Elks, and on the first play of the drive, Brooks fumbled the ball and West Wilkes recovered. The Blackhawks knelt the ball out, and took home a 38-35 win.
With the loss, the Elks fall to 0-8 overall, and 0-4 in the conference. Their next match-up is against Wilkes Central (6-2, 4-0) on Oct. 21.
Kristian Russell can be reached on Twitter @YadkinElkSports.