Redskins hang on to defeat East Liverpool
WINTERSVILLE — Every snap mattered under the bright lights of Kettlewell Memorial Stadium on Friday night.
Indian Creek made just enough big plays to stave off a fierce East Liverpool rally in pocketing a 26-20 victory.
The Potters reeled off 20 unanswered points in the second half but could not execute the final onside kick with a little more than a minute to play.
“A win is a win,” Creek coach Andrew Connor said. “I think our kids stepped up. We’ve had a tough week this week and a lot of injuries, but I think our kids just rallied around and played football. I’m proud of our kids. They were resilient and they played to the end.
“I give East Liverpool credit. They played to the end, but when our kids needed to make a play, we made that play to finish the game off.”
After falling behind 26-0 in the first half, East Liverpool chalked up nearly 200 yards of total offense in the final 24 minutes of action.
“The main thing was just heart,” East Liverpool coach Josh Ludwig said. “We still played base defense, but we fought super hard, and I’m very proud of our guys for that. I just wish we had a couple more minutes to play.”
The Creek rushing attack ran wild, eating up 280 yards, including 163 from tailback Trevor Fante. The junior speedster also raced in for the first three scores of the game from 5, 1 and 57 yards out to give his teammates a comfortable 20-0 advantage. He also contributed a crucial first-down run out of the wildcat on a fourth-and-3, which led to the game’s first score.
“Creek ran well on us,” Ludwig said. “They were able to control the line, and I didn’t think that was going to happen. We just have to keep fighting and keep playing football.”
In his first start under center after a season-ending injury to quarterback Brennon Norris a week ago, Sam Mazar held nothing back as he fired for 142 yards on 11 of 18 passing. He also scrambled for 64 yards and a score.
“He was in a tough spot,” Connor said. “He had to come out and play for an injured Norris, who is one of our leaders, and he did an admiral job. He played hard and got us in the right formations.”
The Potters were outgained 213-68 during the first half and were held to two first downs by a stingy Redskins defensive unit.
“I thought we played well, and our defense got to the ball,” Connor said.
The Redskins controlled the line of scrimmage early as they strung together scoring drives of 62 and 56 yards that resulted in short touchdown bursts from Fante for a 13-0 halftime edge.
Connor fed the hot hand to start the second half, as Fante dashed 57 yards to paydirt to extend the lead to 20-0 at the 8:40 mark of the third.
The defense stayed hungry on the ensuing possession, as Tyler Smarrelli gathered a loose ball to give it back to the Creek offense.
Mazar made the Potters pay as he dialed up a perfectly thrown ball to Matt Mamula, who made a spectacular catch at the 1-yard line with a defender in his face.
One play later, Mazar cashed in on a 1-yard scamper to add to the cushion at 26-0 with 8:01 left in the third.
From that point, the Potters slowly but surely began their comeback, as quarterback Peyton Reed led an 80-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 2-yard scramble to the end zone by the signal caller to get his team on the board at the 2:01 mark of the third.
Both defenses held the opposition scorless in the fourth until the final five minutes.
Once again, Reed led a 71-yard charge down the field and found wide receiver Nick Woodyard for a 1-yard touchdown with 4:50 on the clock, as the Potters inched closer at 26-13.
East Liverpool made it really interesting with a quick 1:50 drive that began in Creek territory and ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Reed to Logan Bennett.
The score made it a one-possession game at 26-20 before the onside kick failed to travel 10 yards, and Indian Creek collected its second win of the campaign. East Liverpool fell to 1-1.
Indian Creek hits the road next week, traveling to Alliance.
Indian Creek 26, East Liverpool 20
East Liverpool 0 0 7 13 — 20
Indian Creek 13 0 13 0 — 26
I: Fante 5 run (fun failed), 6:48
I: Fante 1 run (Hiles kick), 4:21
I: Fante 57 run (Hiles kick), 8:40
I: Mazar 1 run (kick failed), 8:01
E: Reed 2 run (Vallera kick), 2:01
E: Woodyard 1 pass from Reed (pass failed), 4:50
E: Bennett 1 pass from Reed (Vallera kick), 1:11
RUSHING: East Liverpool 29-67-1 (Kopras 5-1, Reed 16-45-1, Carter 7-12, Croskey 1-9); Indian Creek 44-280-4 (Mazar 12-64-1, Fante 17-163-3, Fleming 2-16, Schaefer 13-37).
PASSING: East Liverpool 25-34-206-2-0 (all by Reed); Indian Creek 11-18-142-0-0 (all by Mazar).
RECEIVING: East Liverpool 25-206-2 (Woodyard 9-98-1, Wheaton 8-61, Watkins 1-8, Kopras 1-(-1), Neal 1-8, Bennett 1-23-1, Carter 2-9); Indian Creek 9-134 (Fante 1-10, Mamula 4-86, Cottis 1-18, Walker 1-10, Fleming 3-17, Zrinya 1-8).
FIRST DOWNS: East Liverpool 16, Indian Creek 21.
PENALTIES: East Liverpool 3-25, Indian Creek 13-80.
FUMBLES-LOST: East Liverpool 2-1, Indian Creek 0-0.