WELLSBURG - Indian Creek spoiled Mac McLean's coaching debut by doing things the "old-fashion" way Friday at Memorial Stadium.
Sophomore quarterback Greg Wade slipped into the end zone from six yards away early in the fourth quarter to tie the score and senior kicker Jordan Herald added what proved to be the game-winner as the Redskins nipped Brooke 9-8.
"We're an old-fashion team," said Creek veteran coach Andrew Connor. "We won the old-fashion way by playing good defense and being able to run the ball. We got into the wishbone at the end and it worked. There is no glamour at Indian Creek."
STARTING THE SEASON — Indian Creek’s Robert Coppa prepares to tackle Brooke’s Justin Loughrie during the second quarter of Friday’s season opener in Wellsburg. The Redskins scored late in the fourth quarter to leave with a 9-8 victory.
Creek's 65-yard scoring march came immediately after the Bruins grabbed an 8-2 advantage thanks to a 32-yard Aaron Walker to Justin Loughrie touchdown pass and Walker's two-point conversion toss to Joseph Bowman.
Wade ran for 10 and workhorse senior Michael Puorro added four. A personal foul against Brooke (McLean's club drew 14 flags in the season opener) moved the pigskin to the Bruin 36. Three snaps later, Wade hit Anthony Krager for a first down at the 23. Cody Sinsel went up the gut for 15 and Creek was in business at the six.
After having a hard time handling the snap, Wade recovered and scooted up the middle for six points. Herald then split the uprights with his conversion kick.
Indian Creek 9, Brooke 8
Indian Creek 2 0 0 7 - 9
Brooke 0 0 0 8 - 8
IC: safety, ball snapped over Brooke punter's head
B: Loughrie 32 pass from Walker (Bowman pass from Walker)
IC: Wade 6 run (Herald kick)
RUSHING: INDIAN CREEK 46-199-1 (Connor 6-13; Puorro 22-136; Pavlic 2-4;Wade 15-31-1; Sinsel 1-15); BROOKE 26-57 (Walker 10-(-1); Loughrie 12-80; Kurcina 2-0; Cole 1-2; Team 1-(-24)).
PASSING: INDIAN CREEK 2-5-21-0-1 (all by Wade); BROOKE 7-16-58-1 (all by Walker).
RECEIVING: INDIAN CREEK (Krager 2-21); BROOKE (Cole 3-(-2); Green 2-17; Loughrie 2-43-1).
FIRST DOWNS: Indian Creek 11; Brooke 10.
PENALTIES-YARDS: Indian Creek 7-40; Brooke 14-114.
PUNTS: Indian Creek 6-28; Brooke 6-34.
FUMBLES-LOST: Indian Creek 2-2; Brooke 3-2.
When asked about his kicker's performance, Connor smiled and simply stated "I love him, love him, love him."
Brooke had one last chance. Walker, the Bruins senior quarterback, had two carries for 24 yards and hit junior tight end Nathan Green for six, setting up a first down at the Creek 30. An incompletion was followed by a bad snap plus a penalty and Brooke suddenly was facing third and 25. Creek sophomore Jabari Taylor came through with a huge sack and the drive stalled.
"I drew it up that we were going to get a team win and we got a team win," Connor stated. "It wasn't the 9-8 thing but our kids played together as a team. They grew up tonight. We don't have much experience. They gained a lot in this game."
Walker's touchdown toss to Loughrie capped a 45-yard scoring drive for the Bruins. The six-pointer came one play after Walker scrambled for a first down and third and four. The veteran signal-caller completed both of his passing attempts on the march. The go-ahead score came on the second play of the fourth quarter.
The only score of the mistake-prone first half came when the ball was snapped over the head of Brooke punter Thomas Cole.
During that first half, Brooke ran 19 plays for 61 yards, had four first downs, 11 penalties, and fumbled three times, losing two.
Creek managed 56 first half yards, drew five flags and had just two first downs.
The Redskins did threaten early in the opening period but Brooke's Jake Ohler broke up a potential TD pass in the end zone before the drive stalled.
Brooke missed a scoring opportunity in second quarter following an interception by Cole. Loughrie broke loose for 51 yards, giving the Bruins a first down at the Creek 22. A holding call and two incompletions, however, stalled the drive.
Early in the third, Puorro broke loose for an apparent touchdown but Loughrie's hard tackle caused a fumble in the end zone, Ohler recovering.
"That's just horseshoes and hand grenades," McLean said of the missed opportunities his squad had during the night. "I can't fault my kids for their effort. They gave me everything they had. We shot ourselves in the foot.
"We looked like a young team with a young coaching staff. The good thing is nothing all the problems we had are fixable. We have to be better at protecting the ball and limiting our mistakes. Had we done that, things could have been different tonight."
As McLean noted, Brooke "had some chances."
"Every time we got something rolling, we managed to shoot ourselves in the foot," he continued. "We were hurt by mostly mental mistakes. It's frustrating because I see the potential to have a very good football team. We just have to get back to work in the morning.
"I told our kids when stuff goes back you have to pull each other in tighter and work harder. That's what we are going to do."
Creek finished with 220 yards of offense. Puorro toted the pigskin 22 times for 136 yards. Brooke had 115 yards with Loughrie getting 80 on the ground.
Both teams return to action on Sept.5. Creek will welcome East Liverpool to Kettlewell Stadium while Brooke entertains Morgantown.