There were plenty of things that went against for the Elizabethtown Area High School football team in its first away game of the season at Conrad Weiser on Friday, Sept. 7. The Bears had a short week of preparation due to their previous outing against Dover being moved from Friday, Aug. 31, to Monday, Sept. 3. The field conditions weren’t ideal, mainly due to the rainy weather, which lasted on-andoff throughout the evening.
Elizabethtown’s play on the field didn’t help matters either. The team got called for a high number of penalties, including a handful of personal fouls. The defense struggled with stopping the Scouts on third downs. A few special teams miscues only added to the adversity. In the end, however, the Bears simply couldn’t overcome a stellar gameplan from Conrad Weiser, losing by a final score of 29-6.
“Today, I think they were a better football team,” head coach Andy Breault said. “They came out, executed their game plan and took it to us, offensively and defensively. They beat us on both sides of the ball, and I got to give them credit.”
Conrad Weiser took over half the time in the first quarter up with a long drive that ultimately resulted in a short field goal from junior Matt Noll to open the scoring at 3-0. Although junior Cole Rice had a nice kick return to set Elizabethtown up in good field position, a botched snap set the offense back on the first play of the series, leading to a three-and-out that wasn’t; senior punter Collin Hudak has his kick blocked by senior Giovanni Pachecho, putting the Scouts just outside the Bears red zone. They finished that drive with a 4-yard touchdown run from senior Aiden Kreitz for a 10-0 lead.
Another productive kick return, this time from senior Amos Kollie, saw the Bears start their next drive in Conrad Weiser territory. However, penalties set them back, and they ultimately punted away to end the first quarter. The Scouts drove into the Bears red zone once again, but senior Cole Livingston prevented another TD with a nice interception, though the two teams would then trade punts on the following drives.
A 25-yard pass to Livingston from senior quarterback Cole Patrick and a 25-yard run from Rice had Elizabethtown in scoring position midway through the second period. Unfortunately, pressure from Conrad Weiser’s pass rushers forced Patrick to throw early, resulting in an INT from senior Alex MacKenzie, who later capped off a long drive for the Scouts with a one-yard QB sneak with just 13 seconds left in the half, sending Conrad Weiser to the locker rooms up 17-0.
Patrick found Livingston on another pass to get the opening drive of the third started for Elizabethtown but was picked off for the second time of the night, this time by junior Jordan Dawkins, though the Bears defense forced a three-and-out. The Scouts responded with the same, and with Elizabethtown backed up deep in its own territory, a high snap sailed over Hudak’s head out of the end zone on an attempted punt for a safety, putting the score at 19-0.
The Scouts got the ball back on offense, converting 3 separate third-down conversions, which eventually led to another Noll field goal and a 22-0 advantage. On the ensuing kick return, the Bears misplayed a squib kick, which was recovered by Conrad Weiser. MacKenzie proceeded to rush to the Elizabethtown 1-yard line off a read option, scoring on the next play via a second QB sneak, giving the Scouts a large lead at 29-0 late in the third.
The Bears offense finally came to life near the start of the fourth. Patrick found sophomore Luke Pierson on a 35-yard pass, scrambled for another 24 yards, then finished off the series with an 8-yard TD throw to Pierson. The 2-point conversion attempt failed, keeping the score at 29-6.Conrad Weiser drained over nine minutes off the clock on its following possession, ultimately failing a fourth-down try. Elizabethtown didn’t mount a serious drive, instead letting time expire to conclude the game.
While MacKenzie’s passing numbers (5 for 11, 82 yards and an INT) weren’t eye-popping for the Scouts, he made an impact with his legs, rushing for 75 yards and 2 TDs on 14 carries. Junior Dalton Moyer led all players with 85 yards on 22 carries, while Kreitz chipped in with 8 rushes for 27 yards and a score.
In a stark difference from the first two games of the season, Patrick was off with his passing for the majority of the night. He had just 110 yards on 7-for-20 passing, throwing a TD and 2 INTs. There were multiple occasions where Patrick had to scramble in response to Conrad Weiser’s pass rushers beating offensive linemen; while Breault downplayed the overall effect the pressure caused, he did acknowledge that his team’s passing game wasn’t up to its usual standards.
“They got in there a couple of times,” he said. “Cole’s pretty good at getting outside the pocket. But it just kind of felt odd from the start time, like things weren’t gonna go our way. Sometimes, you can’t do anything about it, and things just start steamrolling.”
Pierson led the team in receiving with 4 catches for 61 yards and a score. Livingston added 2 receptions for 46 yards. If there was a bright spot for the Bears, it was Tyler Lanza on defense. The senior linebacker finished with a whopping total of 32 tackles (22 solo, 10 assists).
“He’s really coming downhill and reading his keys where he’s supposed to be going now,” Breault said. “It’s pretty much a brand new linebacker core this year. It takes a little time, and I think he’s gotten it down.
With its first loss of 2018, Elizabethtown will return home to Thompson Field on Friday, Sept. 14, to take on Section Two rival Cocalico, who has opened this season with three straight victories. The Eagles topped the Bears 14-0 in their 2017 meeting and have won nine of their last 10 games. Battered and bruised, the Bears will have a tough task ahead of them, especially in a crowded Section Two field.
“Hopefully, we’ll get some guys healthy,” Breault said. “We got a couple banged up, so hopefully we can get them back on the field. We’ll come out, watch some more film on Cocalico and see what we need to do.”