The Creek Wood Red Hawks needed a spectacular effort on the road at Kenwood, the number two team in Region 6-4A, to get a win and keep their playoff hopes alive. Creek Wood controlled tempo, played well on both sides of the ball, won the turnover battle for most of the game, won the penalty battle, dominated on special teams, and played with the lead late in the game. Unfortunately for the Red Hawks, Antwuan Branch was a nearly unstoppable force at running back for the homestanding Knights, and his big-splash runs in the second half keyed a huge comeback. CWHS had a chance to win in the final two minutes, but interceptions on their first and last plays of the game bookended another tough loss for the Red Hawks 39-34 in Clarksvlle.
The Knights took the opening kickoff, chewed up over 5 and a half minutes of clock, and scored on a 12 yard Branch run. Kenwood’s placekicker Kalena Boykin was recovering from a leg injury she sustained playing soccer, so punter Omar Yunis went the distance as the kicker and struggled. He missed the first extra point, so Kenwood’s lead stayed at 6-0. After the kickoff, Creek Wood took over at the 35 yardline, but Peyton Gibbs threw a pass on the opening play that was intercepted. The pick was ultimately harmless, because a sack on a fourth down try turned the ball back over to the Red Hawks near midfield, and a 1-yard Gibbs scamper made it 7-6 Creek Wood early in the second quarter after Collin Ptak made the extra point.
A 12-yard plunge by Branch on the ensuing drive put Kenwood back in front, and Jaylen Scott rushed in for the 2-point conversion to make it 14-7 with just over 7 minutes left in the half. The Knight defense would force Creek Wood to punt, but after chewing up more than 4 minutes with a solid offensive drive Kenwood fumbled the football away. Creek Wood was set up with 1:28 left in the half and the ball at its own 21; less than 30 seconds later, Quinton Poole was in the endzone on a 40 yard pass from Gibbs, and it was 14-14. Kenwood chose to take a knee, and at the end of the first half the game was tied.
Creek Wood got the ball to start the second half, but the Red Hawks were forced to punt. Kenwood wasted no time as Branch raced 85 yards for a score on the first play, putting Kenwood up 21-14 with around 8 minutes left in the third. Creek Wood answered back with a 17 yard touchdown run by Poole, but the point after was no good and the Red Hawks trailed 21-20 with around 6 minutes left. Kenwood chewed up most of the remaining time in the third and scored on a 2 yard plunge by Branch, but the point after was no good; Kenwood was up 27-20 with around 2 minutes left in the third.
The Red Hawks’ next drive stalled, but Jonathan McCloud unfurled a 50 yard punt early in the fourth quarter to pin the Knights back at the 20, and Branch fumbled on the first play of the drive. Back in business at the 27 yardline, Gibbs faked a handoff and found the endzone on a 15 yard run. Ptak’s extra point was good, and the game was tied 27-27. Branch broke away for a 76 yard touchdown to open the ensuing Kenwood drive, but the point after was missed again, and the Knights led 33-27 with 10:46 left. Creek Wood ground down the clock on its next possession, and Poole capped the drive with a 2 yard touchdown run. With Ptak’s point-after, the Red Hawks led 34-33 with 6:45 remaining.
Kenwood drove the field methodically on its next drive, and despite the best efforts of the Creek Wood defense Branch found the endzone for a 5 yard score to make it 39-34 with 39.6 seconds left. The two-point try to make it a 7-point game was stopped short, so the quick strike Red Hawks had a chance. Kenwood nearly ended things early, however, as the in-between kickoff hit a few feet in front of a Creek Wood upback, went straight into the air, and was pounced on by multiple eager Knight special teamers. In their haste, however, they were unable to secure the football, and it rolled safely to a Red Hawk return man who covered up at the 37 with 34.6 seconds left. Gibbs looked up the field and connected with McCloud for 29 yards and a first down, but with 10 seconds left Gibbs was picked off. James Williams just took a knee once, and the ballgame was over. Creek Wood again fell just short, while Kenwood was able to hang on to second place by its fingernails.
Creek Wood was only penalized 3 times for 30 yards (not counting offsetting fouls), while Kenwood was penalized 11 times for 100 yards. The Knights lost 2 fumbles while the Red Hawks lost none; Gibbs threw 1 touchdown pass and 2 interceptions on 7 of 12 passing, while Williams was 1 for 4 with no touchdowns nor interceptions. CWHS had 13 first downs, while Kenwood managed 9.
Poole was the Creek Wood player of the game, with 38 yards through the air and 83 yards on the ground, 1 receiving touchdown and 2 rushing. McCloud had 5 catches for 130 yards, and Zach Harris had one catch for 23. Gibbs threw for 191 yards and one score, while rushing for 74 yards, and Matthew Davids had 3 rushes for 24 yards. Branch, a 6-foot-even 200 pound junior, was nearly all of Kenwood’s offense, averaging 11 yards per carry as he rushed 32 times for 358 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Creek Wood returns home for Senior Night this Friday, closing out the season against Clarksville Northwest.