By Ian West
BIC Sports Contributor
The 2013 football season got off to a bang on Friday night in Hamburg when the Hawks (1-0) defeated the ELCO Raiders (0-1) by a score of 55-54.
This game was obviously not a game for those who love defense, as this was the highest scoring game in Berks County football history. The scoring got off to a quick start when ELCO capitalized early on a fumble by Hamburg on their first offensive snap to make it a 7-0 game.
The Hawks quickly responded on their next drive with a rushing touchdown by junior Ian Hamilton, which was setup by a 33-yard pass from senior quarterback Joseph Cominsky to fellow senior Austin Bashore to make it 7-7.
On ELCO’s next drive, they scored again on a 1-yard rush but missed the PAT to make it 13-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw a flurry of scoring, mostly led by ELCO. The Raiders scored on a 52-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Jeff Martin to junior wide receiver Dustin Miller, and on a 70 yard touchdown to senior Cameron Strause, who scored a receiving and a rushing touchdown in the first half and tallied over 100 yards rushing and receiving.
ELCO also tallied two interception returns for touchdowns on back-to-back Hamburg possessions in the second quarter, both intercepted by senior defensive back Derek Miller.
When the scoring was all said and done, the halftime score was 41-19 in favor of ELCO and most thought the game was more than likely out of reach for the hometown Hawks. Hamburg did not get that message.
When the teams came out in the second half, it was a total role reversal. It was really a tale of two halves.
The third quarter was dominated by the hosting Hawks as they totaled 20 points on two rushing touchdowns by Hamilton and Cominsky, and a 55-yard receiving touchdown by Cody Miller which followed a huge fourth down stop for the Hawks.
As well as Hamburg played in that quarter is as poorly as the Raiders played. ELCO racked up 90 second half penalty yards, most in the third quarter and were blanked in the third quarter as Strause, the offensive star of the first half, was out due to cramps.
To make matters worse for the Raiders, QB Jeff Martin threw his only interception of the game to fellow QB Joe Cominsky, which he capped off for a touchdown with a one yard run. When the dust settled after the third quarter the score was 41-39, setting up the frantic finish which would be the fourth quarter.
Hamburg started the fourth by taking their first lead of the night on a Miller 43-yard touchdown run. They followed that up with a 13 yard rushing touchdown by Junior running back Robert Henne to take a commanding 55-41 lead, which capped off a 36-0 scoring run.
The Raiders would not give up and the return of Strause reignited the ELCO offense. On their first drive following Hamburg’s final touchdown, Strause ripped off two big runs of 15 and 16 yards to set up a 5-yard rushing touchdown by Martin.
ELCO then recovered the onside kick with five minutes left in the game and scored on another run by Martin, this one 17 yards, which was also setup by runs from Strause.
With the score at 55-54 with a little over 2 minutes to play, ELCO coach Robert Miller rolled the dice and went for the two point conversion, clearly playing for the win and not the tie.
This strategy would backfire, however, when the run by freshman Tyler Horst was denied by the Hawks, who would go on to run out the clock for the one point victory.
The Hamburg Hawks and visiting ELCO Raiders put on a show for the fans in attendance and reminded everyone there how much they missed having high school football to watch on a Friday night. This back and forth instant classic may not have been without error, but it was sure jam packed with offense and exciting to watch.