Redskins buckling down for Potters rush attack

EAST LIVERPOOL — The Indian Creek Redskins opened their season with an impressive victory on the road, 28-7 over Cambridge, avenging a Week 1 loss to the Bobcats a year ago.

This week, they’ll head out on the road again for a matchup with the East Liverpool Potters at Patterson Field.

“Any time you win your opener, it’s an important moment for your football team,” Indian Creek coach Andrew Connor said. “You want to get out to a good start and reward your kids for all the work they’ve put in over the summer. To go out there and play so well in all three facets of the game, it says a lot about the kids.

“(The loss last year) was a motivating factor. We talked a lot about it all summer. We also talked a lot about how hard it is if you lose your opener, you don’t have any leeway and it mounts a lot of pressure on you. Our kids handled it well and were really focused on getting the win.”

Both teams head into the matchup with a 1-0 record, as East Liverpool ran right through the Edison Wildcats in their opener last Friday, compiling 247 rushing yards on the way to a 21-0 victory.

“I think coach (Josh) Ludwig does a great job at East Liverpool,” Connor said. “He’s got their program going in the right direction. One thing about East Liverpool and Indian Creek is it’s always been a great football rivalry, and Liverpool kids always play hard. They got off to a good start, they were breaking in some new kids as well, and I thought they did well, so I expect it to be a really good game.”

Leading the charge for the Potters was sophomore running back Derek Carter. He compiled 120 yards and a touchdown. Creek will have to contain him, and East Liverpool’s other primary back, junior fullback Jalen Momen, put up 28 yards on six carries and scored a touchdown of his own.

“They’re going through some of the same things we are,” Connor said. “They’re trying to grow up some of their skilled guys, too, and they did a great job between the kids they alternated running the ball and their line did well for them. There were some big holes created by them. We watched the film, and as the game went on they kind of willed their way and established themselves more. That’s obviously something we’ve practiced for all week.”

Another thing the Potters did well against Edison was create turnovers as they won that battle 4-1 and forced a total of five fumbles, recovering three of them.

“If you look at it and the way they gang tackled, when you gang tackle as well as they did you create opportunities for yourself,” he said. “You can see they had a lot of people on the football, and when you get a lot of people on the football, the second or third guy can take a crack at pulling that ball loose. It goes back to what we’ve been stressing to our kids all week, which is East Liverpool kids play hard.”

For Conner, his Redskins entered the first week with a lot of fresh faces at the skill positions, and they stepped up in a big way for the 15th-year coach.

Junior quarterback Brennon Norris completed 10-of-14 passes for 103 yards, sophomore running back Trevor Fante carried the ball 33 times and racked up 161 yards for an average of 4.88 yards per carry and three touchdowns, and Aaron Robinson and Devin Eakle each caught four passes.

“I was very impressed,” Connor said. “Whether it was our wideouts who caught the ball or Brennon and the way he threw the ball. Obviously Trevor Fante had big night running the football for us at tailback.

“All of those things are things we thought might start a little slow or behind the curve as they kind of grow up on the job, but I thought they got off to a really good start for us.”

Connor expects a fired up and confident East Liverpool team coming off a win. Indian Creek defeated the Potters 20-0 in Week 2 a season ago.

“I think any time you win, you’ve proven something,” Connor said. “East Liverpool proved they are a good football team. You don’t win by accident. By going out and playing as well as they did, I would expect that they are going to be excited. They’ve played us very tough over the last five years since we renewed the rivalry, and I expect nothing less from them this time.

“I’m sure we’ll have a big crowd. We traveled very well out to Cambridge, and I’m sure East Liverpool will have a big crowd, so it should be an exciting high school football game for our kids to play in, and that’s what you want on Friday nights.”