ELKHART – As ugly as Friday night turned out for the Elkhart Elks (5-3, 2-2), they still control their destiny and how they will, ultimately, remember this season.
Those were the sentiments head coach Jason Fiacco shared with his team following its 48-0 loss against the Diboll Lumberjacks.
From the rip, not much went right for the Elks against Dave Campbell's sixth-ranked 3A-I team. The Elks opened the district showdown with a fumble on their first play from scrimmage.
“We came out and made some mistakes early, Fiacco said. “They're a team that has multiple running backs that can hurt you. Factor that in with a big offensive line and it's tough. It's a grind playing against a team like that.”
The early turnover set Diboll up on the Elkhart 32-yard line, with momentum already on their side. Diboll began their drive with a false start, but quickly shook it off. Four plays later, sophomore Jeremiah Gums bulldozed his way to a six-yard touchdown.
The Elks were forced into a three-and-out on their ensuing drive. Not long after, Gums reached pay dirt again in the first quarter from 24 yards out.
A two-possession lead meant the Elks already were getting desperate after the first six minutes of action. Their third possession began with three straight Cade Starr runs, putting them near midfield. That glimmer of light quickly faded, as they lost six yards in the next three plays.
Elkhart was forced to punt. The Lumberjacks started on their 23-yard line with two minutes left in the opening quarter. Three straight runs, totaling 21 yards, set up a 10-yard play-action into Elkhart territory.
The Elks appeared to be in a position to make a stop after a botched snap backed Diboll up 13 yards. Then came a 31-yard run from Daris McMillan that set up a short touchdown pass to extend their lead to 21-0.
The Elks offense continued to struggle, and Diboll carried a 35-0 lead into halftime.
“We talked about digging out of this,” Fiacco said, as he challenged his team during halftime. “Are you going to be the type of kid that quits? If so, that's what you're going to do as a man.
“I'm proud of how they continued to fight. I want to be with guys who fight.”
Even so, the second-half offered little relief for the Elkhart offense, which was shut down the final two quarters. Diboll put two additional scoring drives together to cap Friday's district matchup.
Now Elkhart heads back to the film room to prepare for a road district matchup against the Crockett.