Friday night at Creek Wood High School went far from how it was expected to.
Not only was the homecoming court announced during a playoff game, due to inclement weather earlier in the year, but Creek Wood was without two upperclassmen who had major impacts this season.
Playing Jackson Northside, a team they squeaked by last year 21-14, without Brandon Porter and Micah Magreke, this game was suppossed to be a battle to the final seconds.
It was not.
Even the 35-21 final was not indictive of the way the game went.
With just under 5 minutes to play in the game it was a 35-7 lead for the Red Hawks, who seemed to let off the gas and gave up a couple late scores.
Everyone contributed to the success against Northside.
Elijah Donaldson, Michael Harris, Raekwon Nesbitt, Bailey Deason, Jack Dawson, and Jamison Ford all touched the ball on offense more than once and each one had at least 1 or 2 plays of 5+ yards.
It was a clinic.
Northside had no answer for the sheer amount of weapons and athleticism that the Red Hawks brought out on offense, or defense for that matter.
You know Andrew Bruce and Michael Harris defensively, they have been the backbone of tis defense all season from the LB position. However, what seemed to give the defense an extra spark was a small infusion of depth by the name of Jacob Stephens.
Stephens also happens to be the backup QB, but on Friday night he showed real understanding at the outside linebacker position. Coach Thiel mentioned in an interview this week that Stephens had earned the start in practice and so they were going to allow him to play till he gave them a reason not too.
He never gave them that reason.
This is significant not just because it is a small amount of much needed depth for Creek Wood, but it also allowed returning OLB, and underrated defender, Sam England, who was returning from an absence against Springfield, to slide into one of the DE positions where Micah Magreke was absent.
Being able to slide a talent like England onto the d-line kept Northside from breaking contain and getting that big play on the edge most of the night.
All that being said, it was just round one. The TSSAA playoffs are a 5 round heavy weight fight.
The Red Hawks face round too Friday night traveling to the Lexington Tigers.
Lexington is also 10-1 on the year with a sole loss to a Milan team that is expected to make a serious run at the state title.
The Tigers will be big, strong, fast and most importantly prepared.
They know what Creek Wood likes to do, and wants to do. This is not the first time they have faced a playoff Red Hawk team.
HC Houston Thiel faced Lexington as a player and has as a coach. This won’t be easy.
If the Red Hawks can play a clean game though, much like they did Friday night, and keep spreading the ball around while stuffing the run defensively, than I expect this to be a close game down to the wire.
Who knows though, we thought the same last Friday and look how that turned out.
7 pm kick, 6:30 pre-game start for Creek Wood and Lexington on 101.5 the one and WDKN. You can also stream it on several apps. Lucas Panzica and Coach Rodney O Parker will be on the call, Colin Castleberry on the sidelines.
Tune it for what promises to be a very good game.