On Elizabethtown’s second offensive play of the first half, a 60-yard touchdown was scored. On Elizabethtown’s second offensive play of the second half, a 42-yard touchdown was scored. The Bears scored the first, but Manheim Central scored the second.
Manheim Central’s Jake Novak intercepted Bears’ quarterback Cole Patrick and returned it for a touchdown in a disastrous third quarter for Elizabethtown.
Patrick’s interception was the first of three turnovers that the Bears would commit in the third quarter en route to a 35-12 loss on Friday, Oct. 6.
Elizabethtown’s defense forced a 3-and-out to start the game before Patrick looked to Anthony Funk on a curl route. It was Novak in coverage that tried to undercut the route, but Funk snatched the ball and dashed up Elizabethtown’s sideline for the game’s opening score. David Shank’s point after touchdown was blocked, but the Bears had an early 6-0 lead.
After the defense forced a second consecutive 3-and-out, the Bears’ offense took over, but they commit three penalties (only two were accepted because two occurred on the same play) and were forced to punt from their own end zone.
The Barons started their drive on Elizabethtown’s 33-yard line and took advantage of the field position. After converting on 4th and 3, Manheim Central scored from 1-yard out on a toss sweep to the right to take a 7-6 lead in the first quarter.
On Elizabethtown’s next drive, Patrick had long completions to Alex Diahn and Grant Gaumer to move the Bears into the red zone for the first time. He was sacked on 3rd and 2, however, and Elizabethtown settled for a 27-yard field goal from Shank to re-take the lead, 9-6.
Manheim Central scored a 4-yard touchdown with 3:23 left in the first half to take the lead back themselves.
After the touchdown, Elizabethtown was forced to punt and was given a prime opportunity when the Barons’ returner fumbled the punt, which was recovered by Funk at the 6-yard line.
Elizabethtown moved the ball inside the 1-yard line on 4th down and lined up to go for it rather than send Shank out for another field goal. The Bears were called for illegal procedure, however, and sent Shank out for a 23-yard field goal that he made to bring the game to 14-12 at the half.
Statistically, the two teams played a similar half except in the red zone. Manheim Central scored two touchdowns while Elizabethtown had two field goals.
“We knew they were going to be aggressive on defense so we had a couple things working, but we didn’t quite get the run game going that we wanted to because they were leaving eight in the box,” coach Bill McDonald said.
The second half was when Novak intercepted Patrick to turn a 2-point deficit into a 9-point deficit less than a minute into the quarter.
“Cole threw that first pick, but he had a guy in his face and we did have the guy deep of them so I think he would’ve got it there if he didn’t have somebody in his face,” McDonald said.
On their next drive, the Bears turned to Devyn Clair who ripped off two long runs to get into Barons’ territory before Patrick fumbled a snap that was recovered by Manheim Central.
The Barons eventually reciprocated as they fumbled on 4th and 3, which was recovered by safety Dane Hilsher.
After the Bears once again got the ball into Manheim Central territory, Patrick was intercepted as his pass intended for Anthony Funk got batted into the air.
That Barons drive progressed inside Elizabethtown’s 10-yard line before the defense forced and recovered another fumble. There were five total turnovers in the quarter, four of which were fumbles.
The fourth quarter began with Elizabethtown trailing 21-12, but Manheim Central had a possession start at the Bears’ 27-yard line after Shank punted from the end zone. The defense once again came up with a stop that forced Manheim Central to try a 34-yard field goal.
The kick missed wide left, but Elizabethtown was penalized for roughing the kicker, which gave the ball back to Manheim Central. They took advantage of the extra opportunity given to them and scored to make it 28-12 with 9:37 in the fourth quarter.
Manheim Central would go on to score another rushing touchdown before running the clock out to hand the Bears their third consecutive loss.
This was the third consecutive week that Elizabethtown turned the ball over twice or more. They also commit 10 penalties and went 1-9 on 3rd down. Over the past three weeks, Elizabethtown is 10-33 (30.3 percent) on 3rd down conversions.
“It’s just a matter of discipline. Unfortunately, the last couple weeks it has cost us. We weren’t making those same mistakes earlier in the season and it’s cost us. We had some opportunities that we could’ve taken advantage of in the first half and we weren’t able to do that because of those penalties,” McDonald said.
Safety/wide receiver Cade Robinson and middle linebacker/tight end Paul Beiler each missed their second consecutive game with injury. In the game against Manheim Central, offensive lineman Zachary Kreider went down with a left leg injury before he was helped off the field by him teammates. Grant Gaumer also left the game with injury, which forced the secondary to juggle even more pieces.
Cayden Livingston was playing safety for Robinson, but he moved to corner opposite Cole Livingston after Gaumer’s injury. That thurst Cole Rice into the safety spot alongside Hilsher.
Elizabethtown’s (3-3, 0-3) next test will come on the road against Lampeter-Strasburg (5-1, 2-1) on Friday, Oct. 13. The Bears are 3-0 outside of Section Two play and are 0-3 when facing a Section Two opponent.
McDonald said that while the team’s level of execution and familiarity with their Section Two opponents plays a part in their Section Two record, the level of competition is also a factor.
“Better football here in Section Two. Period. I don’t care what anybody says,” McDonald said.
The Pioneers are coming off a resounding 46-0 victory on the road against Solanco. Lampeter-Strasburg is a departure from what Elizabethtown has seen in previous weeks. Cocalico, Solanco and Manheim Central each relied on the running game to generate most of their offense, but Lampeter-Strasburg relies on quarterback Todd Shelley. He is completing 60 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
The Pioneers score 41 points per game on average while conceeding 21.5 points per game. Over their last two games, they have outscored their opponents 107-6.
Following the loss to Manheim Central, McDonald said that discipline would be one key area of focus heading into their week of preparation for Lampeter-Strasburg.
“You play how you practice. I thought the kids made some adjustments. They improved this week. I guess we’re just going to have to go back, look at the film and reemphasize some of those ideas,” McDonald said.