WINTERSVILLE - The Indian Creek Redskins knew going into Saturday's match up with the Edison Wildcats in the 20th edition of the Route 43 Bowl that they'd already locked up the seventh spot in Ohio Division III Region 11.
There was no worry of looking ahead to their Week 11 meeting at West Holmes as the Redskins scored 34 second-quarter points to break open a 7-0 game, and then cruised to a 53-18 win over the Wildcats at Kettlewell Memorial Stadium.
"I think it's very important when you become a family that the last time you play in what became their second home inside that stadium they want to end on a positive note," said Indian Creek head coach Andrew Connor. "I think they were focused all week. I don't think anything changed because they found out they had probably clinched the playoffs.
READY FOR PLAYOFFS — Indian?Creek quarterback Alex Young delivers a pass against Edison’s Trevor Murray during Saturday’s 53-18 win by the Redskins at Kettlewell Stadium. The Redskins finished 9-1 and will visit West Holmes next week in the Ohio Division III, Region 11 playoffs.
"They had a lot of other goals. They wanted to win nine games, they wanted to win the OVAC championship, and our rivalry with Edison means the world to us.
"There were a lot of motivating factors and we stayed motivated, which is an important part of being a good football team."
Holding the 7-0 lead thanks to a seven-yard scoring pass from Alex Young to Alex LaRue, the Redskins put the game to rest in the game's second stanza.
Indian Creek 53, Edison 18
Edison 0 6 12 0 - 18
Indian Creek 7 34 6 6 - 53
IC: LaRue 7 pass from Young (Young kick)
IC: Kamarec 19 pass from Young (Young kick)
IC: Woods 7 run (Young kick)
E: Murray 2 pass from Marcus (Pass intercepted)
IC: Roar 64 run (Young kick)
IC: Kamarec 20 pass from Young (Run failed)
IC: Sullivan 12 pass from Young (Prestes kick)
E: Tennant 15 pass from Marcus (Pass failed)
E: Marcus 11 run (Pass failed)
IC: Huynh 58 run (Kick missed)
IC: Dailey 21 run (Conversion Kneeled)
RUSHING: Edison 32-115-1 (Marcus 14-73-1, Graziani 6-15, Shannon 4-25, Skeeles 3-(-2), No. 20 2-10, No. 29 2-(-3), No. 52 1-(-3)); Indian Creek 43-284-2 (Woods 9-28-1, Roar 8-84-1, Huynh 5-64-1, Young 5-26, Puerro 4-10, Hinerman 4-9, Gribble 3-29, Sinsel 3-1, Pavlik 1-12, Dailey 1-21-1).
PASSING: Edison 7-21-100-2TD-2INT (Marcus 5-17-90-2-1, Skeeles 2-4-10-0-1); Indian Creek 8-13-116-4TD-0INT (Young 8-12-116-4-0, Lawrence 0-1-0-0-0).
RECEIVING: Edison (Tennant 3-66-1, Springer 1-22, Schmitt 1-8, Murray 1-2-1, Dayton 1-2).
FIRST DOWNS: Edison 10; Indian Creek 16.
PENALTIES-YARDS: Edison 6-32; Indian Creek 5-32.
FUMBLES-LOST: Edison 2-2; Indian Creek 2-0.
After Monty Young hit Chris Graziani for a loss of seven on an Edison fake punt attempt, Indian Creek found itself set up at the Wildcats' 35-yard line. Seven plays later, on second-and-18, Young hit Frankie Kamarec for a 19-yard touchdown strike. Young, who wore No. 12 in honor of teammate Justin Cummings, put home the extra point for the 14-0 lead.
"It was 7-0 at the end of the first quarter, but then the second quarter really got snowballed on us," said Edison head coach Mike McKenzie. "We had a few turnovers.
"They were making the plays, and we were just missing plays. Their speed got to us a little bit there. They're a good team. There's a reason they're 9-1."
After an Edison three-and-out, the Redskins pushed the lead to 21-0 on the strength of a Logan Woods seven-yard run and Young kick.
On the drive Young broke free for 22 yards and hit Woods for a 16-yard completion.
Edison made it 21-6 with a Trevor Murray two-yard scoring grab from Nolan Marcus, but the Wildcats cheers were short-lived.
On the first play of the ensuing drive Blake Roar went up the middle for a 64-yard touchdown and Young's fourth PAT made the score 28-6 Redskins.
With 1:38 left in the first half Kamarec and Young connected for a second score, this one from 20 yards out to make the score 34-6.
McClelland stripped an Edison receiver on the first play of the ensuing possession to set up a Young to Drew Sullivan 12-yard scoring toss. Fernando Prestes' point after closed the half's scoring at 41-6 in favor of the Redskins.
McClelland picked off a screen pass earlier in the half adding to his outstanding performance, and the Redskins defense held Edison to just 78 yards offense in the first half.
"It's the way it's been defensively for us all year," said Connor. "The one thing we do is get to the ball and make sure we have two, three, four helmets there. I think that's what happened tonight. Lots of kids to the ball, and we played very well when it came to assignment football.
"It's important because if you're going to be a good defense everyone has to do job, and it just comes naturally. You can't try to make a big play, big plays come to you. I think they've gotten better at that."
Indian Creek sat their starters to begin the third quarter, and both teams put up 12 points in the second half.
The Wildcats points came on a 15-yard pass from Marcus to Devan Tennant and on a Marcus 11-yard run.
The Redskins received scoring runs of 58 and 21 yards from Tran Huynh and Jonathan Dailey respectively.
"I'm so proud of these guys," said McKenzie of his team. "With the adversity we faced throughout the year it would have been real easy to not have done what they did. They fought, and came to practice everyday. They made it enjoyable coming to practice. Sometimes when those things happen kids don't some to practice, they don't work hard, there's a negative attitude, and it wasn't like that at all.
"I love them to death."
Offensively Indian Creek accumulated 400 total yards. The Redskins ran the ball 43 times for 284 yards. Roar led the way with 84 and a touchdown on eight carries and Huynh had 64 and a score on five touches.
Young completed eight of 12 attempts for 116 yards. He had four touchdowns and no interceptions. Kamarec's five grabs for 81 yards and two scores led the Redskins.
"I think the most important thing is Alex has a tremendous field vision right now," said Connor. "He's throwing the ball to a lot of different kids so they know if they get open he'll throw it to them. That's important to the wide outs because they know as long as they're running the pattern the quarterback will get them the ball."
Nolan Marcus led the Wildcats with 90 passing yards with two scores and one pick on five of 17 attempts. He also led the team with 73 yards and a score on 14 rushes.
Edison's season ends at 2-8 and McKenzie says farewell to a senior class that showed a lot of heart throughout the season.
"We're going to miss them," he said. "It's always hard with your seniors because you've been with them that long. It's a bittersweet thing to see them move on, but those guys showed tremendous leadership.
"I think they showed their character by the way they fought these last four weeks. They kept fighting and kept working. Obviously the Martins Ferry win is one they'll remember forever. I'm just going to miss them tremendously."
Indian Creek (9-1) begins preparation for its first round playoff game Saturday at West Holmes.
"We sent guys to scout there yesterday," said Connor. "They're a good coached football team. They did very well in their conference this year. One big thing is they like to run the football. They like to run the Wing-T. They have some big kids.
"They have a really big linebacker that sits in the middle of their defense for them. We have our work cut out for us, but we think the Buckeye 8 has prepared us.
"We've gone against some really good football programs in the Buckeye 8, and we think that's going to help prepare us for Saturday's game."