WINTERSVILLE - Resilience is defined as an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. It is the term that best described Indian Creek's 33-21 triumph over Buckeye 8 rival Harrison Central Friday at Kettlewell Stadium.
"Harrison Central is well coached, and they played tough," Indian Creek head coach Andrew Connor said. "We were just able to make a few more plays than Harrison central in the second half. It's a credit to our kids and their resiliency to understand that this wasn't going to stop them, and we have goals yet to achieve."
The goals at Indian Creek are simple. The Redskins are looking forward to another playoff run. And the win positioned the team nicely as it prepares for the final two weeks of the season.
But the final of this game was determined long before either of these teams set foot on the field. It takes a bonding experience past the sport itself for it to manifest fully on a football field.
"I think it's the camaraderie and the stuff we've gone through as a football team," Connor continued. "People throw around the term 'family' quite a bit in sports. But I really think these guys are family."
The fortitude of Indian Creek's young group of men began to show in the second half. The Redskins trailed 14-6 after 24 minutes of play.
"You could see at halftime that this group was determined," Connor stated. "They weren't going to let this game end what they've worked so hard for. They understood the significance of the game. They understood the significance of a loss. They took it upon themselves.
"They made a few plays. They did a few things they had to do to make stops. There are a lot of kids on this team that look back on tonight and say 'I gave everything I had.' A lot of kids can say that after tonight's performance."
Resiliency is a fine attribute to possess, but it is comprised of two key elements: mental toughness and preparation. When the two combine in an adverse situation, one came overcome any obstacle.
While Indian Creek proved to be mentally tough after being down twice to the Huskies - at halftime and again early in the fourth quarter - the Redskins were prepared to physically take over the football game.
Connor's squad did so by relying on its multi-faceted offense. The Redskins displayed the ability to score from any part of the field. The Redskins opened with a spread look and a deep passing attack. It also showed it could move the ball in a traditional three-back wishbone set. And its final drive utilized the zone read multiple times.
"We start working on those things in summer camp," Conner mentioned. "We do it with the thought that you never want a team to get a rhythm against you. Harrison Central is well coached. They committed to stopping our run game. They're physical. They played hard. I think all the moving around put us in a good position. We will go no-huddle and see what they give us. I though, particularly in the second half, we did a really good job of taking what they were willing to give us.
"It's a credit to our kids. We sub them a lot. So, they have to know when they're going in and coming out. I thought we did a really good job in the second half when we went from five-wide to the wishbone. I think it kept them off balance."
Harrison Central came prepared, but it's different when facing a team that is determined, practiced their offense day in and day out, and simply has the will to win.
"You have to be prepared for a lot of things," Harrison Central head coach Justin Krokpa said. "I thought our kids did a nice job of being prepared. They just made some plays. A good team will do that. I thought our kids were in the right spots. Sometimes we made play. Sometimes we didn't."
Indian Creek must take this attitude to the next level to reach its goals.
Warren G. Bennis, a preeminent scholar in the field studying and writing about leadership, once said, "The leaders I met, whatever walk of life they were from, whatever institutions they were presiding over, always referred back to the same failure something that happened to them that was personally difficult, even traumatic, something that made them feel that desperate sense of hitting bottom - as something they thought was almost a necessity. It's as if at that moment the iron entered their soul; that moment created the resilience that leaders need."