For the Daily Journal
Indian Creek led Cardinal Ritter for most of the first half, but the Raiders proved to be too much, pulling away for a 41-22 victory in Class 3A sectional semifinal action at Marian University on Friday.
Even though the turnover-plagued loss ended the Braves’ season, first-year head coach Brett Cooper was proud of how hard his team played.
“Our defense played extremely well tonight; probably the best defense we’ve played,” Cooper said. “They were tough to defend the entire game, but we kept on them as much as we could.”
Indian Creek (7-4) started out the game strong, as Wyatt Phillips blocked Ritter’s first punt and recovered it in the end zone to give the Braves their first touchdown.
A Ritter fumble was then recovered by Indian Creek, but minutes later, the Raiders blocked a Braves’ punt and parlayed that into a 7-6 lead with four minutes left in the first quarter.
Avery Welch then ran the ball four yards for a touchdown to start off the second quarter, and a two-point conversion put the Braves up 14-7.
Indian Creek kept the upper hand for most of the second quarter, but the Raiders used their ground attack to tie up the game.
An interception in the end zone by Gabriel Pitzulo prevented Ritter from going ahead shortly thereafter, but an interception return for a touchdown late in the half put the Braves behind for good.
The lead kept growing throughout the third quarter, as Ritter scored two touchdowns and its defense kept Indian Creek off the board.
A 16-yard run, followed by an 8-yard quarterback keeper from quarterback Taylor Voris, put the Braves back in the game at 34-22 with 8:11 to go.
Ritter then iced it with a second pick-six late.