KINZERS - It must have been rather frightening for the Pequea Valley football team to watch the film of Elco's potent ground game running all over Lebanon last week.

But probably not even half as scary as seeing it in person.

Pretty much picking up where it left off in burying the Cedars, Elco was at it again on Friday night, piling up 318 rushing yards and scoring all five of its touchdowns by land en route to a 34-7 smackdown of the Braves in a non-competitive Lancaster-Lebanon Section Three opener.

Now 3-1 on the young season, Elco experienced deja vu all over again thanks to command performances by junior tailback/quarterback Cameron Strause, senior fullback/receiver Adam Shoemaker and a physical offensive line that opened up gaping holes all night long.

Strause himself piled up 164 of his 232 yards and three TDs in the first half alone as Elco raced to a 27-0 halftime lead and never looked back despite an erratic performance in what was a chippy second half.

"Coming into the season, we knew we had the big line," said Strause, who scored on runs of 6, 38 and 20 yards in the first half. "And they were all returning (from last season), so I think that was kinda the theme behind (this season), just kinda run the ball. And that's what we did.

"Tonight the holes opened up the majority of the time wide-open. And once you get to the second level, that's where you can make your cuts. And that's where we had a lot of success."

Like any head coach would, first-year Raider boss Robert Miller is trying to keep the impressive start in perspective.


He's also preaching focus and discipline, and was disappointed to see his squad lose a little of that at times in the aforementioned chippy second half.

But he can't help but smile quite a bit at what he's seeing, too.

"I think as a team they're all coming along," Miller said. "I like the spirit that they have and they're developing. They gotta now overcome some of the stuff that happened in the second half. We can't have that. Teams that are gonna be good, don't give up and they don't give in. I'm proud of where they're at, they just gotta be a little smarter and carry it consistently."

But in the first half, there was plenty for Miller and his squad to like. The Raiders took the opening kickoff and marched 66 yards in 10 methodical plays, culminating the drive with a one-yard TD plunge by Shoemaker. The game's first score came one play after maturing freshman quarterback Jeff Martin hit Shoemaker with a 27-yard completion on a fourth-and-7 play from the Braves 28.

Kicker Clayton Bauder's extra-point try was no good, but he would get plenty of practice the rest of the half, converting three straight PATs after Strause busted loose for his three first-half TD romps.

"We get momentum on our side, and once we have momentum we're all fired up," Strause said. "And then we just keep pounding and pounding the ball and get in (opponent's) heads a little bit. That's just the way we do it."

"Everybody's taking pride in it," Miller said of Elco's growing ground game juggernaut. "The receivers were blocking tonight, Jake Stager had a great block on one of Cameron's touchdowns. And to the guys up front, it's neat to see how much pride they're starting to take in this. They're dropping this individual thing. They're dropping this, 'How many carries do I have?' and 'Who's starting at quarterback?' stuff. Who gives a crap? You're coming out to play the game. And that's what I like to see."

The Raiders prevented themselves from a completely feel-good night by allowing the Braves (2-2) to score on the opening drive of the second half via a 19-yard TD pass from Hunter Smith to Steve VanLeer. That score was followed by some erratic play, but Elco did get a second TD run from Shoemaker midway through the third - from six yards out - to make it a 34-7 game, then played some more solid ball in the fourth to set up an early showdown with Section Three newcomer Garden Spot next week.

It's a game that Miller is loathe to make too much of, but for a team that was 3-7 a year ago, next week's game and all its implications will be a pretty big deal in Myerstown.

"3-7 last year, we were hungry this year," said Strause. "Now we're starting to actually see some of these wins coming, and it feels good. The whole team, we're psyched. We only have 28 kids or so, but those 28, we're busting our butts to get those wins."


Elco 20-7-7-0 - 34
Pequea Valley 0-0-7-0 - 7

First Quarter

Elco - Adam Shoemaker 1 run (kick failed)

Elco - Cameron Strause 6 run (Bauder kick)

Elco - Strause 38 run (Bauder kick)

Second Quarter

Elco - Strause 20 run (Bauder kick)

Third Quarter

PV - VanLeer 19 pass from Smith (Wanner kick)

Elco - Shoemaker 6 run (Bauder kick)

Elco - PV
First downs 17 - 9
Rushes-yards 47-318 - 24-85
Passing 8-13-0 - 6-18-2
Passing yards 125 - 96
Total yards 443 - 181
Punts 1-25 - 6-34.9
Fumbles-lost 4-0 - 1-0
Penalties-yards 9-75 - 5-45


Rushing: Elco - Strause 26-232, Shoemaker 17-106, Hostetter 3-7, Team 1-(minus-27)

Passing: Elco - Martin 7-12-0, 115 yards; Strause 1-1-0, 10 yards

Receiving: Elco - Shoemaker 3-73, Miler 2-19, Stager 2-6, Strause 1-27