Indian Creek Travels to St. C. Seeking First Win
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Turnovers and mistakes are part of the game of football, however, overcoming them to win and be successful is not always an easy thing to accomplish.
A pair of teams that have had problems in these areas this season but have traveled much different roads in enduring them are St. Clairsville and Indian Creek. Coach Brett McLean’s Red Devils were the victims of numerous penalties and six turnovers through two games but have survived to win three of four games to begin the campaign.
Meanwhile, Coach Andrew Connor’s Redskins have been in the same boat with mistakes but have lost four straight and will be looking for their first win when they travel to the Belmont County Seat for a 7 p.m. battle Friday night.
After allowing 53 points and splitting its first two games of the season, St. Clairsville has gone two consecutive games without a turnover and have given up just 13 points in winning those contests. Included in that was a 56-6 thumping of county rival Martins Ferry last week on the road.
“That win was a team effort last week,” McLean admitted. “And I believe it all comes down to our practice effort during the week. The kids were very excited, had crisp practices and went about things with the right attitude all week. But those are habits we are going to have to continue, and we can’t just start going through the motions. Practices are very valuable, and we showed that heading into the Martins Ferry game.
“Our focal point will continue to be to clean up the penalties and turnovers. A very wise official once told me that teams with the least amount of penalties win over 80-percent of the time and that is very true. We have to continue to follow the guidelines. It’s hard to win games when you lose those battles.”
The Redskins weren’t quite as fortunately last week with turnovers and mistakes once again playing a big factor in a hard-to-swallow, 19-13, setback at Weir.
“We turned the ball over four times,” Connor said. “Even when you are playing well that is something that is very hard to overcome. When you are struggling you must be nearly perfect to win games and you can’t afford to do those things. The other thing that has been pretty much the same every week is that we can move the ball between the twenty’s, but we have a hard time finishing drives and we are struggling in short-yardage situations.
“But while we have made mistakes and done some things wrong, the kid’s efforts have always been there. I can point to late in the game last week with Weir up six points and having the ball inside our one-yard line. The kids could have just assumed the game was over and let them score, but we had a goal line stand and kept them out. I am so proud of that, and it also shows me that there is definitely better football ahead for us.”
McLean’s offense has been very productive thus far with senior quarterback Drew Sefsick and running back classmate Jacob Jordan leading the way. Sefsick has completed 35 of 57 passes for 615 yards and five touchdowns and while he has thrown five interceptions, they all came in the opening two weeks of the season.
Jordan, meanwhile, has a keen nose for the end zone and has racked up 378 rushing yards on 57 carries, including limited action in last week’s blowout victory, while crossing the goal line nine times already. Sefsick is also a threat to run the ball with 190 yards and a touchdown on 21 tries.
Senior Colin Oberdick is the team’s leading receiver with 10 grabs for 224 yards and three scores while Carson Woodford has seven catches for 87 yards.
“The are the same, strong, well-coached St. Clairsville team that they always are,” Connor said of the Red Devils. “Brett (McLean) and his staff do a great job with them, and they always have so many athletes to throw at you. And they do so many things so well whether its run or pass and they have so many kids get to the ball on defense.
“We are going to have to come out and play a very clean football game to have a chance to be successful this week. The kids are excited and ready to go, but they know they are not going to be able to make the same mistakes we have been making.
“Defensively we have been good on first and second down, but third down has been a different story and we haven’t been able to get off the field. We have got to cut down on giving up the big plays, especially against a team like St. Clairsville.”
Indian Creek is a young team that has struggled putting points on the board early in the season, scoring just 47 points in four outings while allowing 109. The Redskins were only out gained by a 283-248 margin last week, but did allow 199 yards on the ground, including some big chunk plays.
Senior Jordan Irizarry rushed the ball 21 times for 84 yards last week while quarterback Eli Powell was five of seven for 75 yards, a touchdown and a costly pick-six that put Creek in a two-score hole in the first half. Senior Sam Coleman caught all six of the Redskins’ completed passes against the Red Riders for 87 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown grab.
“We are still getting a little familiar with them,” McLean mentioned. “But while we are trying to get our heads wrapped around them, I did get to see them on television against my brother’s team (Brooke) and I really like their quarterback.
“They do a lot of sound things, and that comes down to Andrew’s (Connor) coaching. We know we are going to have to have our full attention on them Friday night.
“We recognize we are dealing with kids here and we have to make the point clean every week that they have to bring their best or they could get taught a valuable lesson. Indian Creek is a team that is waiting to gel and they are eventually going to put it all together one week. We need to be ready for another Buckeye 8 battle.”
The teams have split their previous two meetings with St. Clairsville gaining a 41-7 victory last year while Indian Creek squeaked out a 13-10 verdict in 2019.