Down 28-3 early in the fourth quarter, the Indian Creek football team could’ve folded.
Instead, the Class 3A Braves decided to make a game of the fourth quarter, pulling within four points of visiting Class 5A Terre Haute South with two minutes remaining.
Terre Haute South held on for a 34-24 win, but Indian Creek coach Mike Gillin knows the Braves got something else out of the game.
“Like I told (the players), we’ll get some respect out of it,” Gillin said. “We just didn’t get a ‘W.’”
Playing a Class 5A opponent for the first time in Gillin’s 12 seasons, the Braves mounted a furious comeback in the fourth quarter.
In just 2:21, senior quarterback Matthew Wray passed to senior Kyle Meiklejohn for a touchdown on consecutive drives, the second after Indian Creek blocked a punt to start at the Terre Haute South 13-yard line, to pull within 10 points of Terre Haute South after it took at 28-3 lead after three quarters.
And sophomore Dokken Egenolf found the end zone from one yard out with 2:01 remaining to pull Indian Creek within four points before Terre Haute South senior quarterback Danny Etling, a Purdue recruit, led the Braves to a late touchdown on a 41-yard pass play to senior Tyler Seibert.
Indian Creek struggled in the first quarter, committing three turnovers as Etling found Seibert on passes of 71 and 53 yards for touchdowns.
The Braves trailed 12-3 at halftime. Terre Haute South added a couple of touchdowns in the third.
“We had opportunity after opportunity,” Gillin said. “We could’ve been up at halftime if we just make the plays we could have made. I was proud of the way we came back.
“We could have folded it up right there.”
Indian Creek advanced to the Terre Haute South 14-yard line early in the second quarter, but had to settle for senior Morgan Morrison’s 30-yard field goal.
Wray completed 21 of 32 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. Junior Brenden Smith caught 11 passes for 132 yards.
Etling completed 15 of 24 passes for 271 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Seibert hauled in five catches for 172 yards and three touchdowns.