TRAFALGAR — Back-to-back fourth-quarter touchdowns, aided by a key turnover, broke open a close contest and lifted Indian Creek’s football team to a 26-13 victory over Brownstown Central on Friday night.
The game’s first half offered a fascinating contrast in styles, as Indian Creek, led by strong-armed quarterback Arj Lothe, flung the ball all over the field, while Brownstown countered with a relentless, clock-eating run game.
Indian Creek’s aerial attack bested Brownstown’s ground war during that first half, but not by much, as IC carried a 13-7 lead into the half.
The two teams then engaged in trench warfare in the third quarter, all of it on Indian Creek’s side of the field. Seven consecutive drives ended with punts, until Indian Creek took over at its own 15 yard line with 1:37 left in the third.
Lothe completed three passes to work the ball to midfield and then found Gerson Coroa on a short pass that Coroa converted into a 42-yard touchdown play to push IC ahead, 19-7.
A Brownstown fumble on the ensuing kickoff, recovered by Indian Creek, gave Lothe all he needed to secure the game. The senior took advantage of the mistake by connecting with Lance Butler for a 22-yard TD pass.
Suddenly, Indian Creek transformed the night’s tight, back-and-forth struggle into a comfortable 26-7 lead with 8:37 left on the clock.
Brownstown added a late touchdown, a 14-yard pass from quarterback Carson Darlage to Gregory Hutcheson, to narrow the score, but BC couldn’t get any closer.
Lothe ended Friday’s game with 273 yards and four touchdowns on 24-for-40 passing.
For perspective, run-heavy Brownstown attempted just 48 passes in its first six games this season. On Friday, with his team frantically trying to comeback, Darlage threw a season-high 18 passes and completed eight of them for 81 yards.
Though he enjoyed success throughout the night, Brownstown didn’t make it easy for Lothe. BC intercepted three of his passes, one by Ethan Fultz late in the first half and two by Adam Wayt in the second half.
Keetan Burcham-Jones also recovered a fumble, giving the Braves four chances to turn the game.
Indian Creek’s defense, however, never allow Brownstown to build momentum from those turnovers. IC held Brownstown to a season-low 131 rush yards on 40 attempts (3.3 yard average). Brownstown entered the game averaging 336 rush yards per game and 7.1 yards per carry.
After three incomplete passes and a punt on its first drive, Indian Creek’s offense started clicking midway through the first quarter. Lothe connected on four consecutive passes and led the Braves on a six-play, 67-yard march that ended in a 16-yard Gerson Coroa touchdown reception.
Brownstown’s first two possessions ended without points, but the second drive took 6:30 off the clock on 13 plays. The BC Braves succeeded on their third attempt and took a 7-6 lead when Adam Wayt’s 15-yard TD run capped an eight-play, 68-yard trek.
Wayt’s score was made possible by a tumbling 27-yard catch by Gregory Hutcheson from quarterback Carson Darlage on a third-and-7 play.
Brownstown’s first-half lead was short-lived. Indian Creek responded on its next possession, thanks to 6-for-7 passing by Lothe. The senior’s seven-yard swing pass to running back Matthew Ward pushed IC back in front, 13-7, with 2:20 left in the first half.
That six-point difference would remain throughout the third quarter, until Indian Creek wrested control of the game in the fourth period.
Wayt paced Brownstown with 42 yards on 10 carries, followed by Isiaah Engle with 36 yards on nine attempts.
Coroa ended as Indian Creek’s busiest receiver, catching seven passes for 94 yards. Butler also caught seven passes, gaining 84 yards. Jaxon Ramey added seven receptions for 70 yards.
Though the offenses were the draw for Friday’s clash, the defenses proved themselves worthy.
Indian Creek’s defense was led by Kohlton Scoggan, who had a key sack of BC’s Darlage. Butler, Carter Modlin, Levi Pappas, Wyatt Reason and Daniel Foster also added well-timed tackles for loss that never allowed Brownstown to get its offense going, especially in the second half.
Brownstown, meanwhile, got a monster game from Isaac Hutchinson, who had a team-high eight tackles.
Thanks to Lothe’s passing, BC’s defensive backs were continually making plays. Jaren Cunningham matched Hutchinson with eight stops, while Isiaah Engle and Preston Garrison each added five tackles.
Hutchinson, Cunningham and Burcham-Jones each recorded a tackle for loss.
With its victory, Indian Creek is now on a two-game win streak and improved to 5-2 on the season.
Friday’s loss dropped Brownstown’s season record to 4-3 and marks the earliest point in the season the Braves have suffered a third loss since 2009. That season’s squad ended with an 8-4 mark, but also closed with a five-game win streak that ended with a narrow sectional final loss to Paoli.
BC will attempt to end their current two-game skid next week at Silver Creek.