By WILL WATSON
ELKHART — ELKHART – The battle for the third and fourth playoff spot from District 11-2A Division I has finally been settled. With the Elks’ home win over the Trinity Tigers on Friday night, they were able to clinch the district’s third seed while Trinity enters in fourth.
Of course, the game was a showcase of the talent that Elkhart is able to utilize in running back Jeffery Wilson, who, on 35 carries, managed 374 yards on the ground. Wilson led the Elks in scoring as well with six of the team’s seven touchdowns.
Scoring began on a Wilson run of 25 yards. Trinity was able to answer less than a minute later by way of a 10-yard run from quarterback Michael Lewis to take the lead at 7-6. Wilson was quick to respond with another score—this time from 10 yards out—and the two-point conversion to take a 14-7 lead.
Lewis would again notch the score up with a four-yard run to knot things at 14. A defensive stop of Elkhart’s lethal spread allowed the Tigers to march in range of a Jose Hernandez kick, which he pushed through the uprights to give Trinity the upper hand at 17-14. Wilson would score on a 26-yard response and conversion to re-secure an Elk lead at 22-17.
But just underneath the Jeffery Wilson storyline was the subplot of the connection between Elk quarterback Jordan Ives and receiver Cullen Adams. Following the Wilson touchdown and a stop of Trinity’s offense, Ives found Adams for a 29-yard touchdown pass on a deep play-action slant across the left hash. Adams would split the Tiger secondary and scamper into the lower corner of the end zone to end the half.
“Anytime we play-action off Jeffery, people get open,” said Elkhart Head Football Coach Sam Wells about the importance of the Elks’ second weapon pass game. “Cullen had a big night tonight receiving for us, and that was good.
“It’s nice to have some other things besides Jeffery,” continued Wells with a grin.
Wilson would continue to carry the offensive load, though, scoring again in the third from one yard out and then breaking out for a 75-yard sprint up the right, home sideline for another big touchdown to put the score at 41-17 in the Elks’ favor.
Trinity would score twice more: once by way of a three-yard Karsten Mack trot, and then through the air on a Lewis to John Bledsoe 27-yarder.
“We’re just going to try to keep on getting better at what we’re doing,” said Wells of the Elks’ plans for the week before bidistrict. “Keep on hammering away, you know? We’ve played a lot of big games this year, we’ve been able to play well in a lot of big games. The playoff experience is something new for all of these kids, so we’ve kind of got to get over that and just come out and play football.”
Trinity head coach Jarrod Smith said that their week of preparation would depend on who they end up facing.
“As far as preparation, the team preparation, if we play Thursday it’ll have to be expedited quite a bit because we’ll only have two days of practice,” he said.
In the bidistrict round next weekend, Elkhart will face District 12-2A’s Godley, and Trinity will face Grandview in Corsicana.