Braves fall in high-scoring conference final

In a wild second half, Indian Creek got its offense going — but it could not slow down Sullivan.

Trailing 28-7 at halftime, the visiting Braves narrowed the deficit to 14 points a few times before falling 63-42 in the Western Indiana Conference championship game.

“I knew it was going to be a big-play game,” said Braves coach Mike Gillin, whose team finished the regular season with a 5-4 record. “We had opportunities to stay in the game in first half. We got inside the 5-yard line and didn’t get any points. We missed a couple of passes. We didn’t pick up a couple of blitzes. Those are things you have to do against a good football team. They’re really good.”

Sullivan senior running back Trevor Magill scored five touchdowns with runs of 1, 8, 51, 40 and 30 yards.

“He put us on his back in the second half,” Sullivan coach Trent Olson said.

Sullivan (8-1) concluded with a 6-0 record in the West Division. The Braves entered with a 5-0 mark in the East Division in their first year in the conference.

“It would have been nice to get to within one score and see what happens,” Gillin said.

The Arrows took a 7-0 lead on Trey Powell’s 10-yard TD pass to Mason Dean and boosted the lead to 14-0 on Magill’s 1-yard TD run with 1:11 left in the opening quarter.

The Braves scored on a 57-yard punt return by Bryce Hogue, but Magill’s 8-yard TD pushed the lead to 21-7 with 5:04 left. Then, following an interception by Dakota Caton, the Arrows capitalized with an 11-yard TD pass from Powell to Evan Conner to make it 28-7.

Isaiah Lacey’s 10-yard TD run in third quarter cut Indian Creek’s deficit to 14.

Powell connected with Evan Conner on 74-yard swing pass to push the lead to 35-14, and another Magill TD made it 42-14. The Braves scored on Avery Welch’s 5-yard TD run and a 15-yard TD pass from Taylor Voris to 6-2, 260-pound freshman Cameron Elmore. Later, Elmore caught a 22-yard TD pass to narrow the deficit to 49-35.

“(Elmore) didn’t practice all week and he got injured, but we were getting whipped on the edge so we had put him in and he did what I thought he’d do,” Gillin explained.

After another big TD by Sullivan, the Braves weren’t done, responding with a 69-yard TD pass on halfback option from Lacey to Brad Trietsch, who had seven catches, to make it 56-42.

“They have nine of 11 seniors on the offensive side so they built for this year,” Gillin said. “We’re going to be back next year. We have everyone back and we’re going to plan on being back in this championship game.”

Indian Creek will open Class 3A sectional play next Friday at Indianapolis Washington.

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Mark Ambrogi is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.