ELWOOD – The 2019 Elwood Pirates drop anchor on their final season before consolidating into the Hi-Line Bulls with a 24-50 loss to the Central Valley Cougars on Wednesday, Nov. 6. The Cougars appeared to have dominant control of the field from the start of the game, but the Pirates fought to the end and close their season, 8-2.
Central Valley drew first blood in Elwood on Wednesday. A two-point conversion game them an 0-8 lead after just three minutes of play. They followed it with another touchdown with six minutes left in the first quarter but the Pirates were able to stop the conversion attempt. The Cougars extended their lead, 0-14.
The Pirates responded to the two Central Valley touchdowns with one of their own, scored on a run by senior Zacob Evans with three and a half minutes left in the quarter. Elwood junior Conner Schutz ran the conversion for an additional two points, bringing the score to 8-14, Cougars leading.
Central Valley wasn’t finished in the first quarter, with just under a minute and a half left of play in the opening 12 minutes, the Cougars’ quarterback connected with a receiver in the end zone for one more touchdown. The conversion run was successful and the Cougars drove the score, 8-22.
On the return, Schutz made a long run down field to bring the ball inside of the Central Valley 20 yard line before the teams traded sides at the buzzer.
The beginning of the second quarter was a possession trading game as Elwood game the Cougars controlled on downs in their first drive of the quarter and Elwood recovered a Central Valley fumble on their own 15 yard line. The Central Valley defense forced a fourth down and the Pirates turned the ball over, punting the Cougars back to their own 25 yard line.
Central Valley took the opportunity to score their fourth touchdown of the game. A successful two-point conversion put the Cougars 22 points over the Pirates, 8-30. On the return drive, the Central Valley defense forced another fourth down on the Pirates. Elwood punted the ball and the Cougars had another drive starting at their own 15 yard line.
The Pirates’ luck appeared to change, slightly, when they recovered a fumble on Central Valley’s 11 yard line. With under a minute left in the half, Schutz scored a rushing touchdown and handed the ball to Hank Green for a good conversion run. The Pirates narrowed the gap by a nudge, bringing the score to 16-30, Cougars leading.
The Cougars weren’t comfortable with Elwood gaining any momentum and, in the return drive from Elwood’s touchdown, scored yet another touchdown with seconds on the clock. The Pirates thwarted the two-point conversion attempt and were looking at a 20 point game as the game went into half-time, 16-36.
The second half of the game went in favor to the Central Valley Cougars as they scored one unanswered touchdown in the third quarter. Central Valley followed it with the first touchdown in the fourth quarter, to take a big lead on the Pirates, 16-50.
Elwood scored the last touchdown of the game with a pass to Green. Evans took the hot-seat in the conversion, passing to Timmy Smith for an additional two points to bring the score to 24-50 with about half the quarter left ahead of them.
The remainder of the game was a defensive jam, where neither Central Valley nor Elwood’s lines would let another get by them. The game concluded with Central Valley in Possession of the ball to drain the clock and the Cougars claimed a win over the Pirates, 24-50.
The fourth seeded Elwood Pirates ended their season in the second round of playoffs with an 8-2 record after the loss to the fifth seed Central Valley Cougars. The Pirates program produced a huge turnaround for their farewell season after a 1-7 record in 2018. Elwood and the Eustis-Farnam Knights will consolidate for the 2020 season, competing as the Hi-Line Bulls.
The Clipper-Herald Staff would like to congratulate the Elwood Pirates on a successful season and anticipate covering the Hi-Line Bulls in 2020.