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Daily Herald's 2014 Season Coverage
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Article updated: 10/5/2013 12:30 AM
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East Aurora beats Elgin to end losing streak
 

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East Aurora beats Elgin to end losing streak
Jonathan Jones

As the clock stopped at 58.7 seconds with the score tied at 22 for an Elgin timeout in the fourth quarter, commotion on the East Aurora sideline began to occur. Practice snaps from the center and the holder as well as in the distance, East Aurora's Richard Barajas began to take practice kicks into the net.

At this point, spectators hadn't seen one field goal attempt in the game as Elgin and East Aurora continued to send out their offenses to convert on 2-point conversions. Barajas, who hasn't kicked a field goal in a regular season game, would connect on a 19-yard field goal for the Upstate Eight crossover win at 25-22 Friday night at Memorial Field, ending the Tomcats' losing streak at 44.

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"I'm the backup kicker," Barajas said. "I've been practicing all year. I was pretty nervous going out there."

East Aurora (1-5) owes much of their success to senior running back Jamaria Littleton for spoiling the Maroons' homecoming celebration. Littleton was the prime offensive weapon, recording 199 yards on the ground with 2 touchdowns (36 rushes). Elgin's defense saw Littleton break through many arm tackles as he scampered through trenches.

Of the 140 total yards on the offensive side of the ball, Littleton was responsible for 134 of the yardage accumulated in the second half. East Aurora rushed for a total 277 yards as a unit.

"This was my first game back in two weeks," Littleton said. "I busted my butt today. I wasn't even the starting running back today, because I lost my job. It just took it and it feels so good. This is motivation hopefully that we could start a winning streak."

"Everyone expected us to be winless again. Coach (Kurt Becker) always tells me a hit is not a tackle."

The Maroons were led by senior quarterback Ryan Sitter, who completed 11-of-18 passes for 201 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. Sitter added 33 rushing yards and was able to spread the ball around to six different targets.

The Maroons left the game with 17 unanswered points in the second half. Sitter would connect with junior running back Dontrell Gaddy (3 catches, 64 yards, TD), junior running back Jordan Smith and junior running back Trae Sallis for passing touchdowns.

However, the defense could not stop Littleton. There was one occasion where the Elgin defense held Littleton at third and short late in the fourth quarter. East Aurora went to the line and caught two Maroons jumping offside with a hard count to keep the drive going. This late fourth quarter penalty, initially led up to Barajas' heroic boot.

Although the penalties hurt, the Maroons coughed up two late fumbles in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter which led to East Aurora's victorious drive.

A strong momentum shift in third quarter was from an East Aurora kick return literally seconds after Elgin had scored. East Aurora senior return man Desmond Gant took back a 98-yard kick return after initially fumbling.

"This is a major win for us," Becker said. "We don't usually come back from these. My DNA is simple; I'm going to run the ball. We're finally getting (offensive) lineman going. These kids battled and they came back. Nothing breaks the will of this team."

"The lack of tackling and tons of mistakes were made," said Elgin coach Kyle Rohde. "You can't give up seven yards per carry. We have three games left to come back and get to work. It's an unfortunate loss, but you've got to give credit to them credit, they outworked us."

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