Indian Creek - September 2, 2016
The game with Indian Creek has never been a patsy. Dating back to the days when the Jefferson County school was simply Wintersville High, the two Upper Ohio Valley teams have played 36 times with the down river rivals holding an 20-15 edge up to this meeting. Make that 21-15 after the current contest as the host team shut out the Potters 20-0. It was the fifth straight victory for the winners by a combined point total of 109-24.
Actually, in the words of The Review’s sports writer, Aaron Petchal, “The difference came in the red zone”. Truer words couldn’t have been spoken as the Redskins scored from the four-yard line on their initial series, from the seven in the second quarter and drove a nail in the Potters’ coffin late in the third.
As for the Blue and White, it would be as close as the eight-yard line as part of a 12-play drive in the first quarter, stymied by a holding call which set them back to the 17 from where they were intercepted on a third-and-goal.
Quarterback Austin Mayfield would then run and pass his team down to the 16 with 4:17 remaining before the half when the penalty bug bit again. This time it was a 15-yard holding infraction making it second-and-nine on the Creek’s 34 from where the Potters could get no closer than the 31.
As the clock wound down, Coach Josh Ludwig and his crew made their deepest penetration into Indian Creek territory with an eleven-play, 56-yard push that ended with an incompletion on the six.
For Indian Creek, it would be senior Robert Coppa, who led all rushers with 120 yards in 17 carries, scoring from the four on the fifth play of the game. The TD was set up when QB Greg Wade took the ball from his own 35 down to the Potter’s 12 on a slick draw play that bewildered the defense. Ensign Maiorano made the conversion kick and it was 7-0.
The teams battled back-and-forth until Coach Andrew Connor called Trey Harton’s number, who promptly took it to the house from the seven. A fake extra point kick failed and it was 13-0 with 8:20 remaining in the second quarter.
The final score for the Creek came with 5:51 left to play in the third quarter. It was at the conclusion of an eleven-play, 85-yard drive with Coppa carrying four times down to the seven from where Wade made the score 19-0, followed by Maiorano’s kick for a 20-0 Creek win.
“We have to do a better job,” Coach Josh Ludwig said following the game. “We are going to have to get the kids hyped in practice. We have practiced being in the red zone, but we are going to have to practice much more. We are going to try and continue to turn those drives into points when we get into the end zone. We moved the ball. We just didn’t score.”
The initial contest between the two schools was in 1971 when Coach Robert Kettlewell brought his team to town with an 8-1 record, and dropped the Blue and White under the tutelage of Norm Six 29-6.
In the years prior to the school merger with Mingo Junction, the Golden Warriors defeated ELHS 14 times with the Potters winning eight. Half of the local’s victories came under Coach Bob Morris, who defeated Wintersville four straight times before they became Indian Creek in 1993.
One of the most memorable games in the series came in 1986 when the two teams battled through five overtimes, finally won by the Potters 20-21.