Bears Shut Out Donegal

By Daryl Simione


Devyn Clair rumbles down the field for a big gain in the second quarter. Clair and Cayden Livingston (below) combined for 224 yards of offense. Photos: Nathan Merkel. Devyn Clair rumbles down the field for a big gain in the second quarter. Clair and Cayden Livingston (below) combined for 224 yards of offense. Photos: Nathan Merkel. E-town Football

Their season-opening win didn’t come as a surprise. But they won’t take winning for granted, either.

For the second time in as many years, the Elizabethtown Bears football team opened up its non-league slate with a shutout over backyard nemesis Donegal.

But in the eyes of Elizabethtown’s third-year coach Bill McDonald, there’s still plenty to improve upon heading into Week Two of the 2017 season.

Although Donegal’s cadre of running backs racked up its fair share of yards, the Bears defense refused to yield on Friday, Sep. 1, stopping the Indians on downs twice in the second half to seal a 28-0 victory.

Elizabethtown (1-0) also forced three turnovers, including the play of the game from nose tackle Zach McNitt.

The senior captain pounced on a loose football midway through the first quarter, rumbling 75 yards to pay-dirt for a 14-0 lead.

“As he was halfway into his jaunt to the end zone, there were probably nine guys trotting down the field with him,” recalled McDonald during a telephone interview. “To make that the first touchdown of his career, it was a big lift for the squad and the kids were pretty fired up about it.”

Cole Livingston pocketed an interception on Donegal’s subsequent drive as the teams battled through a scoreless second quarter.

The third quarter also went without a point for either side — compliments of the Bears’ defense.

On the Indians’ initial drive of the half, sophomore Devyn Clair busted up a fourth-down play inside the red zone.

Later, seniors Gregory Good and Dane Hilsher combined on another fumble recovery, providing the Bears’ offense with a chance to put the contest away in the fourth quarter.


Elizabethtown’s Anthony Funk drags Donegal’s Tyler Rupp along after making a reception in the Bears’ win over the Indians. Photo: Nathan Merkel. Elizabethtown’s Anthony Funk drags Donegal’s Tyler Rupp along after making a reception in the Bears’ win over the Indians. Photo: Nathan Merkel. Junior quarterback Cole Patrick (6-for-11, 82 yards) did just that, capping a six-play, 37-yard drive with a short touchdown pass to senior Cade Robinson (3-33) for a 21-0 advantage.

Then, after another fourth-down stop by the defense, Cayden Livingston’s 40-yard scamper set the final margin.

The touchdown by Livingston, a senior, was just one of several big offensive plays for Elizabethtown on the night. His 51-yard run right out of the gates preceded a 21-yard touchdown burst by Clair that initially put the Bears up by seven.

Clair and Livingston combined for 224 yards on just 22 totes, with five of those runs going for 20 yards or more. Alex Diahn added a 36-yard reception.

“I thought there was a good possibility we could pop a few,” McDonald said of the episodically explosive offense. “I’d like to see big plays out of this group. Obviously, those steady drives, they work also. That’s something we have to work on.”

The downside to the quick strike is the propensity for tiring out the Bears’ defense. Elizabethtown ran just 14 offensive plays in the opening half, after all.

“They were bending but they didn’t break,” said McDonald about the defense, crediting defensive coordinator TJ Rudy as well. “Donegal did a nice job of running counter and trying to get us out of position. I think they threw a couple extra wrinkles at us.”

Elizabethtown’s veteran defenders were nonetheless up to the challenge. Robinson, Clair and Hilsher all finished with double digit tackles, while Clair and Paul Beiler each registered a sack of the Indians’ quarterback.

Kicker David Shank drilled all four of his extra points on the night and breached the goal line on all five of his kickoffs, to boot.

Which may leave some wondering, perhaps, what the Bears will need to work on heading into Friday night’s matchup vs. Route 743 rival Hershey.

McDonald mentioned the adjustments his team had to make against Donegal in Week One, and indicated there’s room for improvement for an offense still learning how to adjust on the fly.

Hershey, likewise, boasts a strong defense, not to mention a 1-0 record, meaning the impending matchup between the Trojans and Bears on Friday, Sep. 8, will be another challenge for Elizabethtown, albeit at home.

“We know they (the Trojans) usually are pretty stout up front,” McDonald said. “We’re definitely going to have to get better as a whole football team on both offense and defense.”

It certainly won’t be a surprise, however, when they do.

Matthew Ober, an assistant to the correspondent, contributed to this story.


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