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Pirates halt Braves’ season with solid defensive effort

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Indian Creek’s defense contained host Greensburg during the first half of Friday’s Class 3A football sectional championship game at Shriver Field.

But the host Pirates turned things around against the Braves after halftime.

Greensburg ran for 194 yards and three touchdowns in the second half to beat Indian Creek 27-19 and claim its first sectional title since 1989.

Senior halfback Elliott Green led the Pirates with 10 rushes for 114 yards and two touchdowns, and junior quarterback Andy Meadows ran for 33 yards and a score.

Greensburg senior fullback Ryan Martin amassed 100 yards on the ground with one touchdown. Senior halfback Derek Chambers added 53 rushing yards and a score for the Pirates.

Indian Creek (9-3) allowed just 106 yards rushing in the first half and led 13-6 at the break. But Greensburg (10-2) scored on its first two possessions of the second half and forced two Braves turnovers to capture the momentum and the win.

“We came out with some determination (in the third quarter) and played a solid second half of football,” Greensburg coach Scott Moore said. “Give it up to Indian Creek because they didn’t quit and kept it close until the end.

“I’m extremely proud of our guys because this is something we haven’t done since 1989, and the feeling is indescribable.”

Senior quarterback Matthew Wray went completed 15 of 31 passes for three touchdowns and one interception to lead Indian Creek. Junior wide receiver Brenden Smith had eight receptions for 112 yards and two scores.

Braves’ sophomore running back Dokken Egenolf rushed 16 times for 98 yards, and senior wide receiver Kyle Meiklejohn caught one touchdown pass.

Indian Creek coach Mike Gillin gave Greensburg credit for a solid second half but said the Pirates played consistently the entire game.

“They did the same thing in both halves,” Gillin said. “We just didn’t keep scoring (in the second half). We struggled with them defensively, as we knew we would.

“We had opportunities, but we couldn’t stick it in there once we got down.”

Indian Creek mixed things up to start the game with six rushing plays and five passing plays on its opening drive. The Braves got on the scoreboard first with a 21-yard throw from Wray to Meiklejohn at the 6:50 mark to take a 6-0 lead.

Greensburg was deliberate on the ground in its first possession and rushed the ball 10 straight times. The Pirates capped off the 73-yard drive with a 4-yard quarterback keeper by Meadows to go up 7-6 with 3:17 remaining in the first quarter.

Both teams’ offenses stalled on each of their ensuing possessions. But Indian Creek scored on a 7-yard pass from Wray to Smith at the 6:05 mark of the second quarter to put the Braves up 13-7 at halftime.

Wray’s statistics were stellar in the first half as he connected on 10 of 17 passes for two scores, 118 yards and no interceptions.

Greensburg had back-to-back scores after the break and led 20-13 heading into the fourth quarter.

Indian Creek answered quickly on a single-play opening drive of the final quarter when Wray hit Smith in stride for a 59-yard pass down the left sideline. After a failed extra point kick, the Braves trailed 20-19.

But the Pirates struck on their ensuing possession and went 50 yards in 11 plays to push the score to 27-19 with 5:10 remaining. Greensburg’s defense then stopped Indian Creek to hold on to win the sectional crown.

Disappointment aside, Gillin applauded the Braves’ season, which included nine-game winning streak.

“We had nine straight wins after a rough start to get to the sectional championship for the third year in a row,” he said. “It was tough to lose, but Greensburg played their brand of football.”

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