EAHS Football team Leads School to Playoff for the First Time Since 2007

By Meadow Winters

A new era for the Elizabethtown football team has arrived. The team built on the learning experiences of last year, earning a spot in the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. Under the guidance of new head coach Keith Stokes, Elizabethtown revamped their offense and built around veterans. Returning starters like seniors Josh Rudy, Braden Cummings, and Logan Lentz put up record-breaking numbers and led one of the most explosive offenses that E-town has ever seen. The Bears earned their first win against long-time rivals, the Donegal Indians. The first game of the season presented unique challenges. An early start time in late August, meant not just needing to get motivated right after breakfast, but battling the summer heat. The game started competitive with the teams trading scores throughout the first quarter. The Bears defense made necessary adjustments and the offense continued to score, resulting in a 43-21 victory. The new Air Raid offense proved successful, reaching the end zone at least once in each quarter. The Bears rode the momentum coming out of that win to a six-game win streak to start the season. Wins came over foes. both old and new and Fleetwood, while averaging well over 40 points per game. Rudy put up Madden-like numbers while spreading the ball to seniors Brady Breault, Owen Dommel, Cummings and others. The ground game was physical and successful. Lentz and senior Cade Capello were a thunder and lightning backfield that was able to keep opposing teams guessing. Meanwhile, the defense sealed games with late-game heroics from seniors Elijah McFarlane and Bradley Candy, among others. In a season highlight, the Bears traveled to Hersheypark Stadium for a matchup against Lower Dauphin. Televised and well-attended, this game was one of importance. The Falcons managed big plays, particularly on special teams, but each time, the Bears answered. Like so many games this season, the Bears fought hard for four quarters, before finding a way to pull away from their opposition late. Homecoming week —the last week of E-town’s winning streak— came, and the Bears earned a sixth win against Daniel Boone, holding onto their undefeated record. The student body was ecstatic to finish the week off with a 26-13 victory, beginning their homecoming weekend. Senior football players Josh Rudy, Braden Cummings, Brady Breault, and Cade Capello made up half of the Homecoming King nominees this year. The following week, E-town saw their first loss in a tight match against Solanco. The game was close all four quarters, ending in a 35-32 score, but the Bears weren’t able to catch up before the game came to an end. The Bears didn’t let their matchup against Solanco get in their heads as they made the journey to Fleetwood. They maintained their focus and strove for improvement, and the game was nothing short of a blowout, resulting in a 42-18 win. E-town was coming off a big win with high spirits prior to their second to last game against Garden Spot. The Bears suffered a tough defeat. It wasn’t from a lack of effort, but rather the team’s inability to come back after they found themselves down by four touchdowns early in the game. While some teams might have just called it quits, the Bears continued to fight as hard as they could. The players put on great performances, including Lentz, who accomplished a 1000-yard rushing season. In a close final regular season game, the Bears took home a (senior night) 35-30 win to clinch, not just the postseason, but the first home playoff game in the history of the White Family Dental Stadium. With 457 total offensive yards, E-town headed off into the playoffs with high morale and the firepower needed to make an impact in the ‘tournament’ for the league championship. Josh Rudy, who had an especially impressive game, broke the record for the all-time leading passer in Elizabethtown history with 5,306 yards. Despite a tough 42-2 loss to Cocalico in the first round of playoffs, it was truly a record-setting season for the Elizabethtown Bears football team; one that was filled with excitement, intensity, and big plays. Perhaps, for this year and this team, it is all summed up best with two simple words: Go Bears!

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