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Explosive Offense Fuels Elmira's Impressive Start

Posted Thursday, September 19, 2013 by Mike Johnston
http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20130919/SPORTS0501/309190073/

An Elmira team hasn’t competed in the state football playoffs for the past 11 years.

Elmira Free Academy won the Section 4 Class A championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

The 2013 season has just gotten under way, but the Elmira Express has the look of a dangerous postseason candidate. Elmira has sprinted out to a 2-0 start, drubbing Oneonta 58-7 in the opener and holding off Union-Endicott 38-33 last weekend.

The Express will try to improve to 3-0 starting at 7 p.m. Saturday when they play Johnson City at Binghamton Alumni Stadium.

The double-pronged running threat of Jerry McPeak and Eli Thomas has helped the Express ring up the points. Elmira has rushed for 740 yards in its two victories.

McPeak, an Ernie Davis Award winner, has 328 yards and five touchdowns on 31 carries; Thomas 257 yards and four TDs on 19 attempts. Thomas has also returned a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns.

“If you’re looking to contend, you have to be able to run the ball and stop the run,” Express coach Jim McCauley said.

Elmira’s offensive line consists of Tony Penn, Levi Stevenson, James Mechalke, CJ Nichols and Franke Piper. All are seniors except for Piper, who’s a junior.

McCauley also mentioned senior tight ends Darius Ham and Kyrel Gunita for getting movement in run blocking.

On defense, McCauley said his three-man front of Randy Banks, Anton Brown and Luke Proudfoot has done its job of tying up opposing blockers.

And linebackers Josh Townsend, Allaah Sessions and Dom Clark “have been outstanding,” McCauley added.

Johnson City (1-1) rebounded from a 34-7 season-opening loss to Binghamton to defeat Susquehanna Valley 21-13.

Quarterback Rick Balles has been the Wildcats’ top rusher with 196 yards on 36 attempts for two touchdowns. He’s also 10-for-24 passing for 154 yards.

“Johnson City has a great team. They have a quarterback who can do it all, a good receiver in No. 81 (Quinton Johnson), a good fullback and a good tailback,” McCauley said. “This will be a tough game.”

Elmira is in Class AA, Division I; Johnson City in Class B, Division II.
 

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