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Indian Creek controls playoff destiny after recent victory

WINTERSVILLE — Veteran Indian Creek coach Andrew Connor was spot on when he said Friday’s 37-7 senior night whipping of Beaver Local was a great team effort, especially in the second half.

With the victory inside Kettlewell Stadium, the Redskins improved to 7-1 and moved up to the second spot in the Division IV, Region 13 computer rankings, according to Joe Eitel. Creek, which Eitel says now controls its own playoff destiny, trails unbeaten Perry.

Creek is looking to earn its fourth playoff spot in the last five seasons and its seventh overall under Connor’s guidance.

“We didn’t come out as well as we should have early, and that falls on me,” Connor said. “I was a little disappointment with our consistency early. Once we made some adjustments at halftime, the kids really stepped things up.

“Everyone responded to the halftime challenge of getting the game back in our direction. It was a great team effort in the second half.”

Creek got on the board with 2:13 left in the opening quarter thanks to a nifty 27-yard run by senior quarterback Sam Mazar. The extra point attempt failed. Trevor Fante’s 6-yard run made it 12-0 Redskins with 10:05 to play before the half.

The Beavers (4-4) then moved 70 yards for their only touchdown of the night. It came on a 24-yard pass from Ethan Lewis to James Monte.

Connor’s crew started the third quarter with a bang, quickly marching 70 yards. Fante sprinted for 36, then plowed over from a yard out. Mazar’s conversion run made it 20-7. After the defense delivered a three-and-out, Creek struck again, Fante again going over from the 1.

Brandon Hiles’ 25-yard field goal pushed the score to 30-7 with 9:21 left to play. Junior Jonathan Giusto raced 23 yards to the house four snaps after Klay Cottis stopped a Beaver Local drive with an interception for Creek’s final points.

In the opening half, Beaver Local managed 97 yards of offense (50 on the ground and 47 through the air). After the intermission, Creek’s defense held the Beavers to just 25. Through eight games, the Redskin D has allowed just 60 points.

“We did give up the one score, but our defense played very physical,” Connor said. “The kids got after it. We played in front of the chains, and I’m proud of the effort the kids gave us on defense.”

The Redskins finished with 383 rushing yards, 220 coming after the intermission. Fante, the talented senior tailback, finished with 175 yards on 24 carries and the three touchdowns. He had 66 yards during the first two quarters. Fante now has more than 900 rushing yards and 15 scores for the season.

Mazar added 115 yards (he had a 60-yard sprint early in the fourth quarter) on the ground. He also completed seven passes for 64 additional yards. Fante caught three Mazar aerials for 41 yards.

“Our offensive line did a good job blocking and our backs ran hard,” Connor said.

Beaver Local’s Lewis threw for 62 yards and ran for a team-high 28 yards.

“Our kids battled, and I was proud of the way they fought in the first half,” Beaver Local coach Mike McKenzie said. “That’s the best team we are going to play all season — without a doubt — and we played with them for a half.

“They wore us down a little in the second half, and I didn’t do a good enough job of coaching in the second half.”

Prior to the opening kick, Indian Creek honored senior fall athletes, cheerleaders and band members. The 16 football seniors are Brock Lucas, Cottis, Mazar, Kaleb Fenske, Brandon Fleming, Fante, Sam Baksa, Hiles, Tyler Smarrella, Dylan McMillen, Logan Scheel, Garren Swickard, Gerald Walsh, Jacob Hejduk, Shawn McClurg and Devon Thatcher.

“This is a great senior class, and they deserve this win,” Connor said.

UP NEXT

Indian Creek: Closes with road games at Harrison Central and Edison.

Indian Creek 37, Beaver Local 7

Beaver 0-7-0-0 — 7

Creek 6-6-15-10 — 37

INDIAN CREEK: Mazar 27 run (kick failed)

INDIAN CREEK: Fante 6 run (pass failed)

BEAVER LOCAL: Monte 24 pass from Lewis (Flati kick)

INDIAN CREEK: Fante 1 run (Mazar run)

INDIAN CREEK: Fante 1 run (Hiles kick)

INDIAN CREEK: Hiles 25 field goal

INDIAN CREEK: Giusto 23 run (Herald kick)

RUSHING: Beaver Local 26-60 (Kane 9-13; Johnston 6-25; Lewis 5-28; Wirth 3-8; Salsberry 2-2; Team 1-(-16)); Indian Creek 44-383-5 (Fante 24-175-3; Mazar 9-115-1; Fleming 2-9; Schaefer 2-39; Giusto 3-31-1; Irizarry 2-8; Flaherty 1-3; Robinson 1-3).

PASSING: Beaver Local 7-17-62-Td-int (all by Lewis); Indian Creek 7-13-64 (all by Mazar).

RECEIVING: Beaver Local 7-62-1 (Monte 1-24-1; Krulik 2-10; Moore 2-4; Wirth 1-26; Kane 1-(-2)); Indian Creek 7-64 (Cottis 3-21; Fante 3-41; Fleming 1-2).

FIRST DOWNS: Beaver Local 8; Indian Creek 17.

PENALTIES-YARDS: Beaver Local 5-24; Indian Creek 4-28.

PUNTS: Beaver Local 6-32; Indian Creek 1-33.

FUMBLES-LOST: Beaver Local 0-0; Indian Creek 1-1.

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