Ironman remain undefeated with win over Elks

Tim Peterson

ELK RAPIDS — The Elks and Ironmen have a long football history dating back to September 17, 1965, the date of the first gridiron meeting between the Antrim County rivals, won by the Elks 33-6. Since that game these two teams have battled each other 42 times, often as conference rivals. On Friday in Elk Rapids, the two squads met for the 43rd game, with Mancelona overcoming a strong start by the Elks to earn a dominating 44-15 win and remain undefeated at 3-0 for the first time since 2012.

The Elks opened the game on offense at their own 34, then proceeded to march down the field in a 14-play scoring drive, capped off by a 7-yard pass from Elk Rapids quarterback Max Irelan to Chase DeArment. The extra point kick by Mark Meade was good, the Elks led 7-0 with three minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Ironmen fumbled on their first offensive play, and Caleb Melton recovered for the Elks. Brimming with adrenaline, the Elks were back on offense, prepared to make another long scoring drive. The Ironmen defense had different ideas and went to work forcing the Elks to punt after three downs. Oumar Sy returned the ball to the Elks’ 18. Justin Ackler scored two plays later on an 18-yard sweep. The two-point try was good, giving the Ironmen an 8-6 lead and they would not trail again. The Elks went back on offense, running fullback Declan Shockley into the line. Jason Naumcheff stripped the ball from Shockley’s grasp and scampered 12 yards for the touchdown. A successful two-point attempt gave Mancelona a 16-7 lead after one. The Elks struggled with tackling and penalties in the second as the Ironmen scored three times, a 20-yard scamper by Mason Crandall, followed by touchdown passes from Naumcheff of 23 yards to Justin Ackler and 86 yards to Sy. The teams headed into halftime with Mancelona leading 38-7. The Elks tried an onside kick to start the third, but Mancelona recovered on its own 43-yard line. On the first play, Crandall found a hole, running 57 yards for a touchdown and a 44-7 Ironmen lead, along with a running clock. The Elks tacked on a final score late in the fourth on a seven-play drive, with DeArment in at quarterback running in from 7 yards out. The two-point try was good, ending the game with a 44-15 win.

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