Braves overcome slow start



It took Indian Creek just over a quarter to find its offensive rhythm Friday night.

But once the Braves did, they showed the explosive, balanced offense that has become their trademark.

The Braves used a 34-point second quarter to erase an early deficit and cruise past host Knightstown, 41-20. The Braves have now won 16-straight regular season contests dating back to a Sept. 6, 2013, loss to Eastern Hancock.

Indian Creek played without head coach Mike Gillin. Interim head coach Sean Zachery said that Gillin was serving a one-game suspension levied by the IHSAA for his ejection from the Braves’ loss to Hamilton Heights in last year’s sectional opener.

Knightstown marched 64 yards on 12 plays to open the game, taking a quick 6-0 lead on an 11-yard pass from Tyler Burton to Riley Ruble. Indian Creek responded with an 11-play drive that ended on a failed fourth down attempt at the Panthers’ 27 yard line.

Following a Knightstown punt to open the second quarter, Indian Creek went 80 yards in just five plays, with sophomore Brandon Dunn scoring on a 26-yard run. Sophomore Claire Skillman came on and knocked through the first PAT of her career to put the Braves up 7-6 with 9:36 to play.

After pouncing on a Burton fumble at the Panthers’ 40 yard line, the Braves took six plays to extend their lead. This time it was senior Elijah Dunn doing the scoring on a 28-yard run.

Knightstown pulled even with 4:36 remaining in the half on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Burton to Kennedy Osborn and a Ruble two-point conversion.

That left more than enough time in the quarter for Indian Creek to blow the game open. First they went 84 yards in six plays, scoring on a Gynson Robley to Bryce Hogue pass that covered 30 yards with 3:07 remaining. Then Brandon Dunn ran it in from 18 yards out with 29 seconds to play. And, to cap off a quarter that took nearly an hour in real time, Hogue grabbed a desperation Burton heave and raced 70 yards as the clock ran out.

The Braves had scored 21 points in 3:07.

The Braves added one more touchdown on their first possession of the second half, with Robley hitting Austin Coy for a 27-yard score.

Skillman was perfect on all five kicks she attempted. One conversion attempt failed following a muffed snap.

The Class 3A Braves host Class 4A county rival Greenwood on Friday.

Ken Severson is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.