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Styles contrast as Braves face run-heavy foe

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The familiarity between Indian Creek and Greensburg, schools about 40 miles apart, predates last October’s second-round sectional football game between the Braves and Pirates.

It’s become August tradition for the teams to scrimmage one another prior to the beginning of the regular season, with Greensburg emphasizing its power running attack and Indian Creek having yet to meet a pass it didn’t like under the direction of 12th-year coach Mike Gillin.

“We know them pretty well. They’re kind of old-fashioned with their running game, and they’re good at it,” said Gillin, whose squad, which won last year’s final 20-13 on its home field, travels to Greensburg for tonight’s championship game. “I know they’re always going to be a solid team, and I assume they think the same of us. It’s going to be a real interesting match-up.”

Greensburg is old-school in a sense in that it operates a wishbone offense behind a talented offensive line that carves holes for seniors Ryan Martin and Elliott Green and junior quarterback Andy Meadows. Senior halfback Derek Chambers and tight ends Justin Dance and Kyle Moeller are others who help the Pirates move the chains.

The contrasts don’t end with the respective offensive philosophies.

Indian Creek, for instance, is bidding to collect its third consecutive class 3A sectional title, while Greensburg’s lone regional appearance came in 1989. Moreover, tonight is only the third time the Pirates have played in a sectional final since 1995.

Greensburg’s strength has been its defense, which has racked up five shutouts. The most points allowed came in Week 4 in a 21-20 loss at Class 2A power Lawrenceburg (10-1); during the other 10 games coach Scott Moore’s defense gave up a total of 68 points.

Ironically, the last opponent held scoreless by Greensburg prior to this season also came during Week 4, which happened in 2007. This illustrates how much better this year’s Greensburg team is compared to the 6-5 outfit that took the field at Indian Creek in 2011.

“They’ve got something like 20 seniors on this team, so it’s very experienced,” Gillin said.

The Braves counter offensively with its pass-happy attack led by senior quarterback Matthew Wray, who has completed 187 of 297 passes for 2,358 yards and 28 touchdowns compared to only eight interceptions. Top targets include Brenden Smith (69 receptions, 1,014 yards), Cory Utecht (42 for 516) Ethan Whitaker (16 for 240) and Morgan Morrison (10 for 86).

Running back Dokkan Egenolf also has 10 receptions but does more damage with his legs than his hands. The sophomore has 229 carries for 1,195 yards and 14 touchdowns.

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