Owls stun No. 2 ranked Blanchard
ELGIN — The Elgin Owls ran up a 29-7 lead in the first half of their season opener with the No. 2-ranked Blanchard Lions at Owl Stadium Friday night before having to withstand a Lion rally in the third quarter. The Owls eventually secured a 35-20 victory behind an opportunistic defense and the all-around play of Seneca Coleman on both sides of the ball.
Coleman scored three touchdowns, recovered two Blanchard fumbles and intercepted a pass.
Coleman’s heroics started early. On the Lions’ opening possession, Bryce Madron picked up 29 yards on a third-and-22 play to put Blanchard at midfield.
On the next play, Madron tried the right side and was met by a wall of Elgin defenders. The ball was knocked loose, and Coleman scooped it up on the Lion 42 and raced into the end zone. Jayden Martinez kicked the extra point to give the Owls a 7-0 lead with 10:47 left in the opening period.
Elgin’s Austyn Madison recovered another Blanchard fumble at the Lion 49 with three minutes left in the first quarter. Owl quarterback Dalton Landers hit Coleman for 35 yards to the Blanchard 14. Landers then connected with Ricardo Smith for 13 yards to the one. It took two tries by Coleman to bull his way over from there. Another Martinez kick upped the lead to 14-0 with 2:06 left in the first.
Then things got a little crazy. Whit Carpenter took Martinez’s ensuing kickoff at the 12 yard-line, returning it 88 yards for Blanchard’s first touchdown. Madron kicked the conversion to cut the lead to seven at the 1:51 mark of the first period.
Jeremy Stone fielded the Blanchard kickoff at his own 18 and he returned that kickoff 82 yards for another touchdown. Martinez’s kick made it 21-7, Elgin at the 1:39 mark. Three TD’s in 27 seconds.