ELKTON — Elkton’s football team made big plays against Yoncalla to get a 42-16 1A Special District 1 South victory on Friday afternoon at Saladen Field.
“The scoreboard I don’t think was indicative of how this game felt. It felt close to me the whole game,” Elkton coach Bill Shaw said. “When we got into the fourth quarter with the lead (34-16) we started to get comfortable.”
Yoncalla (2-4, 1-3 SD2) made a big stop in the first quarter when it stopped Elkton (6-1, 3-1) at the 1-yard line to force a turnover on downs.
“That was really my mistake,” Shaw said. “I thought we could still get a first down, I didn’t realize we were at first and goal, so we ran a pass play and if I had been smart we should’ve run it four times. But we left it on the one and they did a good job getting the stop.”
But the Eagles’ celebration didn’t last long, because Yoncalla’s Dominic Aguilar ran the ball on the following play until he was taken down by Elkton’s Trentyn Halstead and the ball was knocked out of Aguilar’s hands by Spencer Moore. Elkton senior Mark Russell picked up the loose ball and ran it in for a touchdown.
“We gave up the big play,” Yoncalla coach Matt Bragg said. “We had a good play ourselves and then fumbled. We dug ourselves a hole, but I thought we were step for step with them in the first half, just the scoreboard didn’t show it.”
Shaw said, “That may have been the biggest play of the whole game, because momentum early is such a big deal. And we had the momentum with the driver and they really turned it around with that stop and then we got it back with the fumble recovery for a touchdown.”
After the first quarter Elkton had a 14-8 lead, which it extended to 28-8 by halftime.
In the second quarter, with the score 20-8, Yoncalla’s Dominic Aguilar threw a 35-yard pass to Jeff Tibbatts. Tibbatts was tackled by Elkton’s Austin Luzier around 25 yards from the end zone and the ball was fumbled. Elkton senior Jase Billman picked up the ball and ran it back to the 33 yard line.
“They made the big plays when they had to and that’s what good teams do,” Bragg said. “They’re a good team, they’re talented. It’s just frustrating, we couldn’t catch any breaks.”
Dominic Aguilar scored both touchdowns for Yoncalla; a one-yard run in the first quarter and an eight-yard run in the third quarter. The senior quarterback, who is listed at 5-6 and 135 pounds, finished with 15 carries for 49 yards.
“It’s amazing to see the little guy get all the yardage in the middle of the field. You see where he’s going and you know he’s going to have it and he still gets six yards, it’s just .... wow,” Shaw said. “That’s good blocking by them. Their linemen did a good job creating enough space for him to go through. His stature makes it hard to see him. I think he disappears from people sometimes. But man he’s quick, and smart.”
Jordan Aguilar, a sophomore, ran the ball 30 times for 188 yards. Other than the Aguilar brothers, no other Yoncalla players touched the ball more than twice.
Dominic Aguilar was also the starting quarterback and completed two of four passes for 27 yards. Bryan Allen also stepped up as quarterback for the Eagles, completing two of seven passes for 44 yards.
“They posed a threat on everything they did,” Shaw said. “They managed to get yards in the middle of the field and they did a good job.”
Elkton’s leading rusher was Spencer Moore, who rushed the ball 14 times for 178 yards. Trentyn Halstead had 12 carries for 106 yards.
“(Moore) had some big run plays for us and we were able to get them to really focus on Trentyn,” Shaw said.”We seem to have a little better time with misdirection when we give it to Spencer to get the first down for us. He’s kind of that little bowling ball fellow for us, he kinda rolls through folks.”
Moore, who was crowned homecoming king at halftime, said, “I couldn’t have gotten that fumble if people hadn’t wrapped him up so I could get my hand in there, and I couldn’t have any running without my blockers.”
Elkton quarterback Austin Luzier completed 4 of 11 passes for 105 yards and three TDs, including two passes to Mason Cox for 63 yards and a score.
“That was a good win for us, this is a tough league,” Shaw said.
Yoncalla will host Oakridge in its final league game next Friday.
“We’ve got to come back and regroup on Monday and start believing in ourselves, and believing in each other,” Bragg said. “Football is a team game and it’s not just one guy, it’s a team. You see that with Elkton’s eight seniors, they played as a unit. You can tell they’ve been together for a long time and they played for each other and that’s where we need to get to.
“We’ve got senior night next week and we’re hoping for maybe one of those at large spots and maybe we’ll get in the playoffs and be a spoiler.”
Elkton will also have senior night where it will honor Luzier, Halstead, Cox, Billman, Jaydn Woody, Gunnar Lynn, Moore and Russell.
“That’s emotionally a big night for the parents and the kids,” Shaw said. “We will really come out knowing that it’s possibly our last home game. That’s something to really play for.”
Elkton will host Mapleton (3-3, 1-2) at 3 p.m. Friday.
Elkton 14 14 6 8 — 42
Yoncalla 8 0 8 0 — 16
E — Russell 2 fumble recovery (Halstead run), 6:24.
Y — D. Aguilar 1 run (Clemons run), 1:56.
E — Moore 65 run (run failed), 1:29.
E — Halstead 24 run (run failed), 8:39.
E — Cox 45 pass from Luzier (Moore run), 2:15.
E — Halstead 36 pass from Luzier (run failed), 10:59.
Y — D. Aguilar 8 run (Clemons run), 7:13.
E — J. Woody 5 pass from Luzier (Moore run), 7:40.