Braves get it Dunn on the ground

On a night when Indian Creek was missing one of its biggest offensive weapons, and rain and wind limited its passing game, Elijah Dunn carried the load.

The senior running back, who just moved into a featured role two weeks ago, ran for 201 yards on 25 carries, scored three times and led the Braves to a 32-6 homecoming win against North Decatur.

It was the third straight win for Indian Creek, which is above .500 (4-3, 3-1 Mid-Indiana Football Conference) for the first time since Week 1 of the season.

On the game’s opening possession, the Braves gained just one yard on their first three plays from scrimmage. They got a reprieve, though, when North Decatur was called for roughing the punter on fourth down.

Dunn was ready to capitalize on the mistake. He took the next handoff and raced 42 yards, nearly untouched, to give the Braves a 6-0 lead with 10:18 remaining in the first period.

The Indian Creek offense struggled through the rest of the first quarter. Top receiving target Bryce Hogue did not play as he recovers from a concussion suffered last week. And the weather conditions played havoc with passing attempts.

The Braves turned the ball over on downs and punted on their subsequent two possessions.

In the second quarter, the Braves mostly shelved the passing game, content to hand the ball to Dunn. The strategy paid off as Dunn collected 102 yards in the quarter, scoring on runs of 27 and 25 yards, giving the Braves a 19-0 lead at halftime.

Indian Creek extended the lead early in the third quarter. After stuffing a Chargers fake punt attempt, the Braves drove 44 yards over six plays, scoring on a 22-yard, fourth-down pass from quarterback Gynson Robley to Parker Osborn. Robley added a 2-yard touchdown pass to Austin Coy with just over two minutes to play.

Head coach Mike Gillin said Dunn has made the most of his bigger role in the offense.

“We made the move a few weeks back. We just needed a little more athleticism in that position, and it’s working out,” Gillin said. “Our offensive line is getting better, too, and that’s a big key.

“In this kind of weather you have to be able to run the ball. Two games back, I’m not sure we would have been able to do that.”

In addition to his rushing yards, Dunn was 1 for 2 passing the ball, hitting Austin Coy with an 18-yard pass in the fourth quarter. Robley was 8 for 18 for 93 yards and two touchdowns.

It was the third straight excellent showing by the Indian Creek defense. It held North Decatur (4-3, 2-3) to just 105 yards of total offense for the night, forcing two turnovers along the way. The Chargers only score came after a bad snap on an Indian Creek punt attempt gave them the ball at the Braves’ one-yard line late in the third quarter.

Indian Creek closes its regular-season home slate Friday when Broad Ripple visits.

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Ken Severson is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.