ELMIRA - Elmira used its rushing attack to pull away from Horseheads in the fourth quarter Saturday for a 40-27 win in a Southern Tier Athletic Conference  football matchup at Marty Harrigan Field.

Horseheads trailed 20-13 at the end of three quarters until Elmira’s Ethan Simpson broke off a 63-yard touchdown run, after converting a fourth down the previous play, down the right side early in the fourth that upped the Express lead.

“Ethan is one of those guys who does exactly what we want him to do,” Elmira head coach Jimmy McCauley said. “He’s a great player on defense and gives us a little spark on offense when we need it.”

The following possession, Gavin Elston took the kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to cut the Express lead to only 28-19, but a missed extra point that clanked off the goal post kept it a two-possession game.

Elmira then did what it does best in the final 10 minutes -- run the football.

Starting from their own 43 yard line, the Express put together a nine-play, 57-yard touchdown drive that bled four minutes off the clock ending with a Nate Latshaw score from one yard out.

The Express then scored three minutes later on a drive that was highlighted by a 30-yard run from Simpson and punched in by a 2-yard touchdown run from Zack Middaugh.

Horseheads was able to put together a final touchdown drive, scoring with under a minute left when Grayson Woodhouse connected with Matt Stasiw on an 18-yard touchdown in the back corner of the endzone.

Middaugh also tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass with one minute left in the first half to Garrett Johnson to increase Elmira’s lead to 13-6 after Horseheads had tied the game the previous drive.

“I thought it was a great play by the lineman, great block to help us get a little extra time and the quarterback put it in a spot where only our guy could catch it,” said McCauley.

Simpson led the Express with 121 yards on eight carries, Latshaw had 93 yards on 24 rushes, Jarrid Lewis added 84 yards on 13 carries and Max Temple posted 80 yards on 15 attempts.

Elmira registered six sacks and two forced fumbles in the game.

“I thought we did a good job of executing our game plan,” said McCauley about his defense. “That was a big thing this week, we put our gameplan in on Tuesday and a lot of guys bought into it. We’ll take a look at the film and see where we need to get better.”
For the Blue Raiders, Elston ran for 107 yards on 17 carries and Maurice Rankins Jr. posted 80 yards on the ground on 13 attempts, including a 6-yard touchdown.

Elmira improves to 2-0 and will travel to Christian Brothers Academy Friday at 7 p.m. while Horseheads falls to 1-1 and will have a matchup in Binghamton Friday at 7 p.m.