By RICK DeLUCA
Times Leader Sports Writer
That post-season playoff spot keeps getting closer and closer and so does a possible home field in the opening round, but first Indian Creek has one more week of football.
BUCKEYE LOCAL’S Devan Pyciak looks to make a move as the Indian?Creek defense closes in during Friday’s game in Yorkville. The Redskins rolled to a victory.
With its offense churning out 412 total yards with a pair of 100-yard rushers, and it's defense yielding just 149 yards, the Redskins moved a step closer to Week 11 with a key 49-7 Buckeye 8 win over Buckeye Local in Yorkville Friday night.
Coach Andrew Connor's Redskins, with only a loss to unbeaten St Clairsville as a blemish on their record, boosted their mark to 8-1 on the season. They close out the regular season with a key matchup with Edison at home on Friday and are hopeful that a win in the finale also gives them a home game in the playoff opener.
Buckeye Local, who closes out the 2012 campaign at Harrison Central on Friday in the battle for the V.A.L.E.S. Trophy, dipped below .500 for the first time this season. Coach Phil Pest's Panthers take a 4-5 mark into that last game.
"Every game in the Buckeye 8 is a big game, but just as I told the kids before the game, this is a big game without the Buckeye 8 and playoffs thrown in," Connor said after the win. "This is a big rivalry game for us, plus it was their last home game and senior night for them, so we couldn't take them lightly."
"Even with everything else that is going on around us, we couldn't have asked for more pressure than to play our two biggest rivals in the last two games of the season," Connor added while referring to next week's game with Edison.
"I told our kids that this was just a great team win," the Redskin coach said. "We worried about how they would handle the pressure of the playoffs and looking ahead, but we are proud of the way they handled themselves and how they are staying focused.
"This was just a normal big rivalry game that was magnified by the Buckeye 8. I'm extremely proud of these kids," Connor added.
"We just want getting to the playoffs to be a yearly thing so that is the mark they set for themselves from the start of the season."
Indian Creek opened the scoring in the first quarter despite some big defensive plays by the Panthers' Austin Marshall, Chase Hopkins and Andy Stock. The Redskins countered that with a diverse offense that started with four different backs combining for 30 yards to open the drive. Logan Woods carried for seven, Mandella Lawrence added four, Blake Roar had five and Alex Young broke loose for 14. The drive turned to the air late as Young connected with Tran Hyunh for 18 yards and then tossed to Frank Kamarec for 19 yards and a score with 8.7 on the clock. Young ran for the two-pointer.
With 0:30 remaining in the first, Young booted a 28-yard field goal for an 11-0 lead.
In the second quarter, the Redskins drove 81 yards on their next drive that featured a 17-yard run by Woods. Two plays later, Young swept the left side for six yards and a score with 6:40 on the board. Young booted the PAT.
Before the half ended, Creek added another score. Needing just four plays and runs of eight and six yards by Huynh and 34 yards by Woods, the winners crossed the goal line on a 19-yard run by Woods with 2:38 on the board. Woods also ran for the two-pointer and a 25-0 lead.
In the third quarter, Creek capitalized on a pass interception by Montel McClelland to set up another scoring drive, this one covering 31 yards. Young capped off the drive with a 26-yard pass to Roar with 6:27 on the clock for a 31-0 lead.
Taking advantage of another pass theft by Roar, the Redskins added another six-pointer in the frame on a 5-yard run by Hyunh with 2:16 showing.
Once more before the quarter ended, Indian Creek found the endzone. Hyunh found daylight running down the right sideline scampering 52 yards for the score with just 0:06 left in the third.
Buckeye finally got on the board in the fourth on a fine 56-yard run by sophomore Eric Banal. Brazilian Joao Bandeira booted the PAT with 9:20 remaining.
Creek countered with 4:10 left in the game on a 10-yard run by Isiah Pavlick.
"I thought that coming in here after the way things went in St. Clairsville last week, that we would be playing with a lot more intensity, but that didn't happen," Pest commented afterwards.
"They have a very good team," Pest added. "They had a lot of speed and they have a good and quick line. We had hoped to be able to stay with them, but they kept our defense on the field for a long time.
"We just have to get ready for Harrison Central now and try to finish at .500. (Maurtice) Hython will be very tough to stop and they have a quarterback that can run well too," Pest said.