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Elco ends with stirring 28-27 win over Pequea Valley

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KINZERS - The myriad ups and downs of a football season become most evident in minute form, in the final moments of the final game. There, the heart and desire relevant to victory burst forth from the players and coaching staff whose effort and work ethic throughout a season can be, at times, overlooked.

For all this, one need look no further then Kinzers on Friday night.

In a see-saw game packed with scoring punches and defensive stands alike, the Elco Raiders prevailed over the Pequea Valley Braves, 28-27, in the final game of the season for both teams.

On the surface, quarterback Kyle Knight’s 227 yards rushing — including a 61-yard burst coming just four seconds before the half and a tie-breaking 31-yard scamper with 3:57 to play — was the difference for the Raiders (5-5, 3-3 Section 3).

But the nitty-gritty of what high school football is about suggests otherwise, especially considering that a pair of senior leaders, Tyler Horst and Dylan Hill, were forced to watch from the sideline.

Horst, the Raiders' leading rusher and a key defensive cog, was relegated to the sideline in the first quarter on Pequea Valley’s second drive in which the Braves took a 6-0 lead on a 40-yard pass from Jordan Lapp to Anthony Davido.

“The team’s resiliency has been shown all year long,” said Raiders’ coach Bob Miller. “Not everybody will see that. But in those games we fought, that we won, even the ones we lost, we gave a consistent 100 percent every play.

“And the other thing you’re not going to see — it won’t show up tonight with Tyler and Dylan Hill being on the sideline, being hurt — you won’t see their contribution that they gave all year long and for three years for Dylan and four years for Tyler. (But) that’s what gave us our resiliency, senior class leadership.”

The leadership showed up most in the fourth quarter, with Pequea Valley (1-5, 4-6) holding a 21-13 lead.

Elco drove 71 yards in 10 plays, beginning with a 26-yard completion to Dane Miller before Knight (30 rushes, 227 yards; 10-for-21 passing, 98 yards) took over on the ground. Facing third-and-goal from the 3, however, Knight was hurried from his left and threw a wobbly pass into the end zone.

Nate Beamer, who earlier dropped a sure touchdown, closed in and dove for the game-altering catch with 9:16 to play. Elco went for two, and in similar fashion — a defender draped on his shoulder — Knight found Brandon Rinehimer for the conversion.

Following a three-and-out by the Braves, Knight completed a pair of passes to Beamer (4-27) to set up his game-winning run.

“The last couple games he’s been unbelievable,” Miller said of his quarterback. “Part of that is he just makes things happen. And we have a great set of skill kids and a heck of a line that can open holes for him with everybody in the stands knowing he’s going to be carrying the ball. So it’s a credit to all of them and then his sort of play-making ability.”

Credit the Braves, as well, who answered with a flea-flicker pass from Albert Hanna to Lapp for 40 yards, Lapp then connecting with Davido for his third touchdown catch of the game. But the extra point sailed wide left, leaving Elco one more defensive stand away from finishing the season on a dandy of a high.

“We don’t care about .500,” Miller said. “I care about these guys are going to remember this experience for the rest of their lives and they will. They just said it themselves, it would have been nice to win by 40, but you wouldn’t have remembered that game. And they’ll remember. That’s what matters most — the games that they play along the way.”

Elco 28, Pequea Valley 27

Elco _ 0 _ 13 _ 0 _ 15 _ — _ 28

Pequea Valley _ 6 _ 8 _ 7 _ 6 _ — _ 27

First Quarter

PV — A.Davido 40 pass from J.Lapp (kick failed), 1:51

Second Quarter

E — K.Knight 2 run (D.Miller kick), 6:34

PV — Davido 12 pass from Lapp (C.Horst rush), 0:26

E — Knight 61 run (kick failed), 0:04

Third Quarter

PV — Lapp 5 run (G.Elmer kick), 2:16

Fourth Quarter

E — N.Beamer 3 pass from Knight (B.Rinehimer pass from Knight), 9:16

E — Knight 31 run (Miller kick), 3:57

PV — Davido 20 pass from Lapp (kick failed), 3:17

Team Statistics

_ Elco _ PV

First downs _ 18 _ 13

Rushes-yards _ 37-269 _ 27-90

Passing _ 11-22-1 _ 12-24-1

Passing yards _ 100 _ 203

Total yards _ 369 _ 311

Punts _ 5-38.8 _ 4-35.5

Fumbles-lost _ 1-0 _ 0-0

Penalties-yards _ 5-25 _ 2-10

Individual Statistics

Rushing — Elco, Knight 31-227, T.Horst 3-19, Beamer 3-23. PV, Lapp 4-37, C.Horst 16-42, A.Hanna 5-7, J.Gray 1-2, R.Smith 1-2.

Passing — Elco, Knight 11-22-1-100. PV, Lapp 10-22-1-156, G.Gaynor 1-1-0-3, Hanna 1-1-0-44.

Receiving — Elco, R.Eshleman 1-19, J.Rittle 2-18, Beamer 4-27, T.Horst 1--3, C.Kline 1-11, Miller 1-26, Rinehimer 1-2. PV, Davido 6-121, Hanna 4-24, Lapp 1-44, Gaynor 1-14.