MILLERS CREEK - The Buckin’ Elks scored two late touchdowns to knock off West Wilkes 35-21 Friday night to spoil Homecoming festivities.
Jamiles “Chunky” Hayes burst up the gut from 14 yards out to give Elkin a 28-21 lead with just over two minutes left in the game. Less than a minute later, Kody King broke free down the right sideline for the game-sealing 50-yard score to give the Elks a crucial Mountain Valley Conference 1A victory.
In front of a sold-out crowd in Millers Creek, the Blackhawks marched down the field in less than two minutes to strike first for an early 7-0 advantage.
But on the ensuing kickoff, Chris Hudspeth broke free for an electrifying 90-yard score down the right sideline to tie the game at 7-all.
On the next series, the Elkin defense recovered a fumble on a backwards pass at the West 17-yard line.
The Elks were unable to strike for the go-ahead score as a 37-yard field goal sailed wide left. The Blackhawks capitalized on the next play as quarterback Joshua Phipps darted 80 yards to take a 14-7 lead midway through the first quarter.
Early in the second, the Elkin defense once again came up with a stop, as a host of tacklers snuffed out a screen pass on fourth down to take over at their own 34.
On third-and-long, Josh Strickland found Ted Shore on a long conversion to keep the drive going. Strickland capped the drive with a one-yard plunge for the game-tying score.
After the Elks forced another West punt on their next possession, Hayes hauled in a Strickland pass one-handed over the middle and broke free for a 65-yard score to give Elkin the 21-14 lead in the final minutes of the half.
West found the game-knotting score early in the third, but neither team could break through until Elkin’s late surge in the final period.
Facing a third-and-12 in their own territory, Strickland found Sam Lane on a screen pass for a first down past midfield. Later in the drive, Strickland picked up a huge first down on a 4th-and-14 scramble, setting up Hayes’ go-ahead score with 2:17 left on the clock.
The Blackhawks got the ball back with just over two minutes left. But three plays later, Tyrek Hayes made the defensive play of the game when he picked off a pass to all but seal the game for Elkin.
On the next play, King burst down the right sideline to add the finishing touches for the Elks’ third win of the season.
With the win, Elkin improved to 3-3 on the year and 2-2 in conference play, with both victories being against 1A squads in the MVAC.
Strickland powered the Elks offensively, accounting for 265 yards of total offense (209 yards passing, 56 yards rushing) and two touchdowns. Hayes recorded 143 yards of total offense and two scores.
King rushed for 62 yards on the night, while Shore hauled in two catches for 63 yards. Hudspeth added a 36 yard reception to his return touchdown, while Lane snatch two passes for 29 yards.
The Elks return to action Friday when they host North Wilkes on Homecoming.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.