Back-to-back fourth-quarter touchdowns, aided by a key turnover, broke open a close contest and lifted Indian Creek’s football team to a 26-13 victory over Brownstown Central on Friday night.
The game’s first half offered a fascinating contrast in styles, as Indian Creek (5-2), led by strong-armed quarterback Arj Lothe, flung the ball all over the field, while Brownstown countered with a relentless, clock-eating run game.
Indian Creek’s aerial attack bested Brownstown’s ground war during that first half, but not by much, as IC carried a 13-7 lead into the half.
The two teams then engaged in trench warfare in the third quarter, all of it on Indian Creek’s side of the field. Seven consecutive drives ended with punts, until Indian Creek took over at its own 15 yard line with 1:37 left in the third.
Lothe completed three passes to work the ball to midfield and then found Gerson Coroa on a short pass that Coroa converted into a 42-yard touchdown play to push IC ahead, 19-7.
A Brownstown fumble on the ensuing kickoff, recovered by Indian Creek, gave Lothe all he needed to secure the game. The senior took advantage of the mistake by connecting with Lance Butler for a 22-yard TD pass.
Suddenly, Indian Creek transformed the night’s tight, back-and-forth struggle into a comfortable 26-7 lead with 8:37 left on the clock.
Brownstown added a late touchdown, a 14-yard pass from quarterback Carson Darlage to Gregory Hutcheson, to narrow the score, but BC couldn’t get any closer.
Lothe ended Friday’s game with 273 yards and four touchdowns on 24-for-40 passing.
For perspective, run-heavy Brownstown attempted just 48 passes in its first six games this season. On Friday, with his team frantically trying to come back, Darlage threw a season-high 18 passes and completed eight of them for 81 yards.
Though Lothe enjoyed success throughout the night, Brownstown didn’t make it easy for him. BC intercepted three of his passes, one by Ethan Fultz late in the first half and two by Adam Wayt in the second half.
BC defensive lineman Isaac Hutchinson also recovered a fumble, giving the Braves four chances to turn the game.
Indian Creek’s defense, however, never allowed Brownstown to build momentum from those turnovers. IC held Brownstown to a season-low 131 rushing yards on 40 attempts (3.3 average). Brownstown entered the game averaging 336 rush yards per game and 7.1 yards per carry.
After three incomplete passes and a punt on its first drive, Indian Creek’s offense started clicking midway through the first quarter. Lothe connected on four consecutive passes and led the Braves on a six-play, 67-yard march that ended in a 16-yard Coroa touchdown reception.
Brownstown’s first two possessions ended without points, but the second drive took 6:30 off the clock on 13 plays. The BC Braves succeeded on their third attempt and took a 7-6 lead when Wayt’s 15-yard TD run capped an eight-play, 68-yard trek.
Wayt’s score was made possible by a tumbling 27-yard catch by Gregory Hutcheson from quarterback Carson Darlage on a third-and-7 play.
Brownstown’s first-half lead was short-lived. Indian Creek responded on its next possession, thanks to 6-for-7 passing by Lothe. The senior’s seven-yard swing pass to running back Matthew Ward pushed IC back in front, 13-7, with 2:20 left in the first half.
Coroa ended as Indian Creek’s busiest receiver, catching seven passes for 94 yards. Butler also caught seven passes, gaining 84 yards. Jaxon Ramey added seven receptions for 70 yards.