WINTERSVILLE - It may have taken some time to get rolling, but the Indian Creek football team began its 2011 campaign with a decisive 55-7 victory Friday night against visiting Weir on Friday at Kettlewell Memorial Stadium.
''I attribute the slow start to Weir High,'' Indian Creek coach Andrew Connor said. ''Weir High's kids came and they played. I don't think the score is any indication of the effort they gave. They just worked.''
New Weir coach Jason Kekseo was impressed with the Indian Creek performance, to say the least.
''Wow. I didn't expect that,'' he said. ''That is the worst defeat I've had as a head coach.
"Even in my first year at Avonworth when we were 0-9, we didn't get beat that bad. And I don't think we are that bad of a team. We just have to have everyone playing to their full potential on every play. We can't have guys taking plays off.''
After their offense lost a fumble on the first play from scrimmage, the Redskins' defense held strong by forcing a punt. They were helped when an Eric Piatt 22-yard touchdown run was called back due to a holding penalty.
''You have to take negative plays like that and let them wear off and go forward on them,'' Kekseo said. ''If we would have put that ball in we could have gained a little momentum, but that was not the case.''
Alex Young fielded the ensuing punt at his 10-yard line and scampered 43 yards out across midfield to the Weir 47. That was just a taste of the special-teams explosion that happened later in the half.
Eight plays after the return, David Kemp ran in from 4 yards out for a score to give his team the lead. The big play on the drive was a 37-yard connection between Kemp and Mike Furda..
Things remained quiet until deep into the second quarter when the fireworks were ignited.
Taking the ball with 3:57 remaining, the Redskins hit what was the first of four big plays the teams exchanged. Unfortunately for Weir, three of the four went in Indian Creek's favor.
Things began with a 71-yard touchdown scamper by Logan Woods. Kemp hit Furda for the 2-point conversion and a 14-0 Creek lead.
Weir answered right back with an 86-yard touchdown return by Clarence Bennett on the following kickoff.
''That was a sophomore who really stepped up for us,'' Kekseo said. ''That was someone making a play on an individual basis, and we need more of that.''
Not to be outdone, Indian Creek showed its special-teams prowess with a Blake Roar 72-yard kickoff return to expand the lead to 21-7 after the Ricky Hinerman extra point.
''I'm proud of our kids,'' Connor said. ''I thought after a real slow start we really picked it up on special teams after we had a miscue.''
The Redskins defense forced a three-and-out on the next possession. Young exploded yet again on the return, but this time the Red Riders were unable to catch him as he scooted 62 yards to paydirt. The conversion attempt failed, but the Redskins held a 27-7 lead they took into halftime.
''Indian Creek broke the game open on our special teams,'' Kekseo said. ''You have to play up to your potential on every down. Playing teams in this conference that are well-coached like Indian Creek is, you can't afford to take plays off.''
The second half saw didn't see a letdown from Creek as it forced three turnovers and were able to play their entire bench before the game ended.
''It is one of those things where it's a great team win,'' Connor said. ''We dressed 57 kids and all 57 got in the game. It's a team win.''
Those finding the end zone in the second half were Mark Ludwig on a 6-yard run, Furda on a 35-yard reception from Kemp, Darren Gribble on a 4-yard run, and Dalante Tucker on a 30-yard scamper.
The Redskins added a safety when a Weir pitch was fumbled into the end zone and covered by a Red Rider.
''Our kids have something to feel good about and we have to build on that for the game we have against Linsly,'' Connor said.