Ellington Football Cruises In Opener

By Nathan Zielinski

 

ELINGTON – The first touchdown for the Ellington Knights football team this season might end up being its best.

After a couple of empty drives for both teams, Izaiah Castro-Vega made an acrobatic one-handed catch and came down in the end zone for a 31-yard score to give Ellington an early lead it would never give back.

Ellington (1-0) would go on to control the game and cruise to a 40-0 win over the Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby Raiders (0-1) in the teams’ season openers.

Ellington’s stout run defense did not allow the Raiders to gain any momentum while Christian Rider, Tyreik Noel and Mark Hickman all had big days on the ground for the Knights behind an impressive offensive line.

Christian Rider, the Ellington quarterback, extended the lead right at the end of the first quarter leaving defenders in the dust with a 34 yard touchdown run of his own.

Ellington’s defense and special teams then got in on the action to start an avalanche that Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby could not contain. An interception for Ellington’s Colby Unterstein stopped a promising drive, and then Ellington was able to block a punt in the end zone that was eventually recovered by Ellington for their third score of the game.

“It gives our offense a break and it gives our special teams and defense some recognition because they’re working hard,” said Rider of the total team effort on Saturday.

Rider then wasted no time by scoring his second rushing touchdown of the game when Ellington got the ball back just before half time. He used a nifty play-action fake then won a race to the pylon with defenders chasing him the whole way

With the score 28-0, senior running back Mark Hickman had history on his mind. The Ellington back broke numerous tackles and would not be stopped on his way to another rushing touchdown for the team. With little significance to the game, the touchdown did put Hickman at the top of the list for all-time rushing TD’s in Ellington history.

The final score of the game came with Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby being pinned back again. Quarterback Trevor Sharp was pressured and hit while throwing a pass then fluttered in the air right into the waiting arms of Tyreik Noel who returned the ball for a pick six, and a 40-0 lead for the Knights.

Sharp had a few impressive runs but was shut down most of the day by Ellington’s defensive line.

With it seeming that pretty much everything went in Ellington’s way in a one-sided victory a mature Rider knew there were things to work on.

“Penalties and the interception I threw was a stupid mistake,” said Rider.

The Ellington Knights will look to clean up the mistakes and improve to 2-0 next Saturday when they travel to play Coginchaug.

The Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby Raiders will be trying to bounce back from a lackluster start to the season when they travel to Enfield on 9/27.

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