Creek looks for more success following a loss

MAKING THE CALL — Indian Creek head coach Andrew Connor reacts against East Liverpool on Sept. 1 (Photo by Joe Catullo).

WINTERSVILLE – The Indian Creek Redskins will be looking for another big bounce back performance on Friday night at Kettlewell Memorial Stadium to send the seniors out with a win in front of the home fans when Beaver Local comes to town.

“It’s going to be a special night for us,” Indian Creek coach Andrew Connor said. “I look at my senior class, and it’s going to be the last time they will play in Kettlewell Stadium. It will be a very emotional night for all of us.”

The Redskins (4-3) have come back from the first two losses with shutout victories the following week. They bounced back from a 35-21 defeat at home to Alliance with a 36-0 win over Buckeye Local, who Beaver Local defeated last Friday. They also overcame a tough road loss to St. Clairsville in Week 5 by shutting out rival Brooke 31-0 at Kettlewell in Week 6.

“We’re hoping we can do it again,” Connor said. “I think our kids realize what’s at stake playing for first place in the Buckeye 8 North. Our kids are resilient and have had good bounce back. We’re ready to go play some football.”

Indian Creek will need another big bounce back performance if it is going to beat the 6-1 Beavers, in a series that has traditionally produced exciting games. The Redskins have won the matchup each of the last three years, winning 16-15 at Beaver Local last season, 28-21 at home in a double-overtime thriller in 2015 and 14-7 at Beaver Local in 2014.

“All three games have come down to the final possession,” Connor said. “Me and coach (Mike) McKenzie are good friends. We’ve known each other for a long time from his Edison days to Weir High to now. I think he does a great job. I have a lot of respect for him, the Beaver Local coaches and kids.

“They’ve been able to run the ball very well. They throw the ball out of their run sets very well. If you commit guys to stop their run they will throw it. He does a really, really good job of mixing formations up and mixing plays up. They do a lot of different things, and they do them well. Sometimes that’s hard for high school teams but they do it all well.”

Sending off the senior class the right way is something that Connor takes to heart.

“I’m very fortunate, as I have been for the past 14 seasons, to have a great senior class,” he said. “We are working very hard as a staff this week to make sure we do everything in our power to make sure we send them out with a win in their last game inside this stadium. It is difficult. Everybody talks about wins and losses and how important it is, but if you’ve been in the coaching business for a long time you develop very close relationships and bonds with these seniors.”

The Redskins are averaging 304.7 yards on offense, 115.7 on the ground and 189 through the air, while scoring 25.9 points. The offensive attack is led by junior quarterback Brennon Norris who has thrown for 1,314 yards and eight touchdowns, while completing 96-of-166 passes for a completion percentage of 57.8. He is the leading passer in the Herald-Star/Daily Times area this season.

Catching his passes is the top receiver in the are in senior Devin Eakle, who has hauled in 31 passes for 463 yards and three scores, averaging just under 15 yards per catch. Senior Devon Eakle has racked up 19 catches for 272 and a touchdown while averaging 14.3 per. Junior Matt Mamula has 10 receptions, two of which have been for scores, for 244 yards and an average of 24.4 per reception. Fellow junior Richie Gualtiere has hauled in seven passes for 58 yards, 8.3 per catch.

The ground game is led by sophomore Trevor Fante’s 549 yards and 11 touchdowns on 138 carries. Fellow sophomore Johnell Blair has 97 yards on 17 carries for an average of 5.7 per carry, while junior Jakih Scales has added another 67 yards on 30 carries.

On defense, the Redskins are giving up 197.1 yards a game with the strength of that side of the ball being the pass defense that has yielded just over 80 yards per game. The run defense gives up 117 per, while Indian Creek as a whole has given up 12.9 points per game.

The Beavers are averaging more 40 points per game and giving up just less than 20.

Beaver Local got a big performance against the Panthers in Week 7 from quarterback Luke Call. He threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for another 67 yards and a score.