By BRYAN URBACH
FRANKSTON – Tears of joy and heartbreak filled Frankston as the Elkhart Elks came back from three points down in the final minute of the fourth quarter to beat the Indians, 35-30.
The game started out in what seemed like it would be a blow out. Frankston’s Ozzie Buckner came out throwing the ball all over the field, and Elkhart’s Jeffery Wilson had about 20 yards rushing by the end of the first quarter. Buckner threw two touchdowns in the first quarter, one to Cory Winks, who had 147 yards receiving in the loss, and one to Kendrick Rogers to bring the score to 14-0 after one quarter.
Frankston coach Matt Nally said even with the heartbreaking loss, Buckner’s performance was something to look forward to for the future.
“The great thing about Ozzie is that he gets better every day,” Nally said. “Ozzie is only a junior, and every receiver out there did a great job for him. Cory Winks stepped up big. We knew that they’re such an attacking defense that we would have to throw the ball, and we did. We had to attack sideline to sideline. Ozzie is a fantastic kid and a great quarterback. We’re glad he’s an Indian.”
In the second quarter, Wilson stepped up his game and scored the first touchdown for the Elks. A 24-yard touchdown run put the Elks only down one touchdown. About four minutes later, Elkhart scored again to bring the score to 14-13, but only for a brief second.
On the point after attempt, the Indians blocked the kick, and Kendrick Rogers scooped up the loose ball and ran it back all the way down the field for two points to give Frankston a 16-13 lead. With 3:33 left before halftime, though, Wilson’s number would be called again as he took the ball down the short field six yards for the touchdown. Elkhart would miss the two-point conversion, and it led for the first time in the ball game at 19-16.
Elkhart coach Sam Wells said of Wilson’s performance that it was one of a kind.
“Jeffery is just a special, special player,” Wells said. “There’s a reason he’s a D-1 kid.”
The second half was a toss-up. Back-and-forth scoring from both teams allowed for an entertaining finish. Frankston scored first off a wild play. Buckner was rushing into the end zone on a third down attempt and fumbled the ball just short of the goal line. The ball then shot out of Buckner’s hands and landed right in front of Justice Bean for the Frankston touchdown.
After more scoring, Elkhart’s Wilson scored with just 57 second remaining in the game to put the game away for the Elks with a final score of 35-30. Wells said his team performed well tonight, and a 2-0 start like this is something that the Elks aren’t necessarily accustomed to.
“We’re 2-0 for the first time since 2004,” Wells said. “Two weeks in a row, our backs have been against the wall. We just kept battling back, and we found a way to get it done, and that’s the makings of a good team. Hopefully we can continue getting better, and I’m just super proud of our kids.”
Both teams fought to the end of the game, and Wells said he couldn’t be happier winning a game like this in front of so many friends and family in the stands.
“I have a lot of family here,” Wells said. “It’s nice to come back here and get a win. It doesn’t really matter though, who we’re playing because we all just want to get a win. Frankston put up a great fight tonight and really tested us.”