Elks down Cleburne, clinch playoff berth
CLEBURNE — There was plenty at stake Friday night when Burleson traveled to Cleburne for the Elks vs. Yellow Jackets rivalry game.
Playing on the road didn’t seem to bother the Elks as they defeated the Jackets, 35-7, in District 9-5A play to regain the Silver Spike Trophy and, more importantly, clinch a playoff berth with two games to play.
Burleson coach Gary McElroy talked to his players following their win over Centennial about what lay ahead of them - a trap game. Facing a winless team worried McElroy. He feared they might look past Cleburne.
“I addressed that this was a trap game,” McElroy said. “I told them that Cleburne has been eliminated from any playoff hopes and we are well in the playoff hunt. I made it clear we couldn’t take anyone lightly. I referenced the Joshua game and how we thought we were going to go in there and dominate, and we didn’t. We talked about Cleburne and the whole War on 174 and Silver Spike, and how, if we won, that should clinch a playoff spot. We talked about all those things and the goals we could accomplish with a win.”
McElroy said his players hit the field fired up and “played like they were supposed to.”
The Elks’ defense drew praise from McElroy. The Jackets (0-8, 0-5) finished the game with 29 yards rushing on 22 carries and 198 yards passing.
“The defense played like it has all season,” McElroy said. “They played fast and furious and were violent when they got there. Other than one drive in the third quarter, they didn’t do anything against our defense.”
Elks’ quarterback Jacob Amador had a big night completing nine of 14 passed for 124 yards and three scores. Running back Devin Stevenson ran for 82 yards and a touchdown.
“Our offense scored on its first possession and didn’t really miss a beat all night,” McElroy said. “Our offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage. We were pretty balanced.
Just another all-around team effort.”
The Elks host Arlington Seguin Friday night, then finish the regular season at Crowley.
Burleson (7-1, 4-1) started out fast, putting together a 14-play scoring drive that Stevenson capped with an eight-yard run.
The Elks’ defense was tough on the run all night. In the first quarter, Cleburne ran seven plays for 16 yards.
Burleson’s second drive ate up the remainder of the first quarter clock with nine runs. In the second quarter, Amador hit Brock Williams for a four-yard touchdown and 14-0 lead. The Elks next drive ended with an 18-yard scoring toss from Amador to Williams.
On the defensive side of the ball, Calvin Williams was able to make an aggressive play by snatching the ball from a Yellow Jacket wide receiver, giving him his second pick of the season in the second quarter.
The Elks defense only allowed 25 yards in the first half on a total of 17 plays.
Cleburne opened the second half with a scoring drive that sliced the Elks lead to 21-7, when Carson Gann hit Fred Eichholtz with an eight-yard scoring strike.
Burleson was able to answer quickly as Amador found Aden Anderson on a 20-yard touchdown pass for a 28-7 lead.
The Elks next possession started at the Cleburne 18 following a bad snap on a punt. Burleson needed just two plays to score. Jonathan Banks carried the ball both plays, including a 13-yard touchdown run for the final score of the game.