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Playoff-bound Creek looks to keep Edison winless

RICHMOND — For the first time in Indian Creek program history, the Redskins enter their annual Week 10 meeting with Edison in the Route 43 Bowl knowing not only that they will be playing in Week 11, but that Week 11 will be a home game.

“It’s special,” Indian Creek head coach Andrew Connor said. “For the community, the kids, our history of our school district, it just makes it special.”

Don’t expect that to change anything for Connor and company, though, as it has been business as usual for his team in preparation to face the rival Wildcats.

“Our kids have been focused this week,” Connor said. “They know we need to get better for down the road. Our kids are in the right frame of mind.

“It doesn’t change anything this week. We are practicing just as if nothing. It’s important to keep everything as consistent as possible.”

Indian Creek defeated Harrison Central on the road in Cadiz in Week 9, 35-7, which locked up the home game in opening round of the Ohio Division IV, Region 13 playoffs.

He expects it to be an exciting game despite the difference in records.

“When we moved this game to Week 10 and made it the Route 43 game, it added to it,” Connor said. “With the proximity of the schools, the kids know each other.

“Last season, Edison took us right to the end. It obviously proves that in a rivalry game the records don’t matter. We anticipate having to play four quarters of football against Edison to get a win.”

The Wildcats enter the Route 43 Bowl coming off a 54-35 loss at home to another rival in Buckeye Local. Despite the loss, the 35 points were a season high for head coach Shane O’Brien and company, which Connor sees as similar to how the Wildcats entered last year’s meeting.

“They have figured some things out,” he said. “They have some skilled guys and they are big up front. It’s the same as it was a year ago, they were putting things together and able to move the ball on us. They were winning the football game at halftime. They have gotten better in terms of offensive output and we have to be ready to play.”

Those athletes the Redskins defense will have to contend with are led by senior Noah Woods, who had a big night at quarterback and receiver in the loss to the Panthers. Woods, who missed a lot of the season with an injury, had a combined four touchdowns against Buckeye Local.

Another aspect of the meeting is Edison looking to send its nine seniors off with a win, which would be the Wildcats only one this season.

Connor expects the Redskins to get everything the Wildcats have.

“I’m sure their kids this would be a great way to end the season,” he said. “Coach O’Brien does a great job, he had his kids ready for us last year and I expect the same thing this year. We have a playoff game next week, for them, this is their playoff game. This is their moment to go out and beat their arch-rival and end on a good note.

“We have to be able to match that effort and intensity.”

“We have one more opportunity against another rival,” Edison head coach Shane O’Brien said following the loss to Buckeye Local. “It’s the last game of the season, so it’s our last opportunity to go out and make the most of it. We especially want to play hard for the seniors and have those guys go out with a win in their last game.

“I’m really proud of our group of seniors. Those guys have been through a lot and done a good job for us. It will be nice to see them get to go out and play one more time together.”

On offense, Indian Creek is led by tailback Trevor Fante. The senior already has gone well over the 1,000-yard mark, ranking second in the Herald-Star/Daily Times coverage area with 1,149 yards and 17 touchdowns.

At quarterback, Sam Mazar has completed 56.44 percent of his passes for 585 yards and a score, while rushing for 426 yards and eight more touchdowns.

Some 22 of his completions — including the lone score — have gone to Brandon Fleming, who has 197 receiving yards on the season.

The Redskins as a whole average 312.67 yards and 29.33 points to rank fourth in the area in overall offense.

The Edison defense will be tested, as it enters the rivalry allowing an average of 368.67 yards and 47.33 points per game.

On offense for Edison, freshman quarterback Gage Cline has developed as the season has progressed. He has 571 yards and five scores. He split time with Woods in Week 9.

Senior Logan Hanchin has hauled in 20 balls for 227 yards and two scores.

Running the ball, Tyler Griffith leads the way with 481 yards and three touchdowns.

Edison averages 196.11 yards and 12.22 points per game.

Indian Creek’s defense ranks second in the area, allowing an average of just 194 yards and 7.44 points.

(Grimm can be reached at agrimm@heraldstaronline.com)

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