WHITE HOUSE – Creek Wood got all it could handle from White House Friday night, as the Red Hawks escaped with a 35-28 road win.
Judging by the first two series of the game, Creek Wood looked to roll the rest of the way, thanks to a quick three-and-out for the defense and a quick touchdown drive for the offense.
Creek Wood coach Houston Thiel thought that start may have given his team a false sense of security in the game.
“I kind of felt like they thought it was going to be an easy night,” Thiel said. “And White House proved that it wasn’t.”
The Blue Devil defense stood strong the rest of the half, giving up only one more score to go into halftime trailing just 14-7.
Out of the break, the Red Hawks took over again, scoring two touchdowns on their first two drives to increase the lead to 21 points. But again, the Blue Devils fought back.
White House scored on a seven-play drive and looked to cut the lead down to a single score when Blue Devil quarterback Caleb Anderson threw an interception to Red Hawk linebacker Logan York, who returned it 75 yards to the end zone.
The Blue Devils kept working, scoring two more touchdowns and recovering a successful onside kick. The game hung in the balance until the final minute, but ultimately, the deficit was too large to make up for White House.
Creek Wood had multiple chances to put the game away but instead let the game stay competitive throughout. Thiel said he knows his team can finish better.
“I felt like once we got the interception and got up three scores, we kind of let the foot off (the gas) a little bit, kind of relaxed back,” Thiel said. “Like ok, ‘We’re going to be able to coast to the end of this thing.’”
“At the end of these games, this regular season and going into the playoffs, you can’t let your guard down, because all these teams are good.”
White House actually outgained the Red Hawks with over 300 total yards but had turnovers at critical times.
“Some mistakes at the wrong time,” Blue Devil coach Ryan Hamilton said. “That’s what we’ve just got to overcome.”
Sophomore running back Ranen Blackburn powered the White House offense by carrying the ball 30 times for 219 yards. But Hamilton knows that was not because of just one player’s performance.
“Our offensive line, tailbacks, everybody, they just keep playing,” Hamilton said. “They’re playing for something bigger than themselves. It’s not about any individual. It’s about them getting to play the greatest game and to keep playing.”
White House (0-4, 3-5) was mathematically eliminated from the Region 5-4A playoff race.. The Blue Devils face Montgomery Central and Greenbrier to close out the season.
“Sun’s going to come out tomorrow,” Hamilton said. “We’re going to line up and go to work. We’re going to find a way to win and keep moving on. Keep playing.”
Creek Wood (3-1, 7-1) controls its own destiny in terms of hosting a game in the playoffs. The Red Hawks will play Portland Friday and close out the season against Springfield on Nov. 1.
“I really like our team,” Thiel said. “We got a good group of seniors, so hopefully they can hold it together.”