The game was far from easy, but the Creek Wood Red Hawks held off a hungry Stewart County Rebel team that overcame a 13 point deficit in the second half. The Red Hawks fed off the homecoming crowd and rallied once again, turning away the visitors from Dover 40-28.
Stewart County had the ball first and moved it well, picking up two first downs before the Red Hawk defense stiffened. Kyle Klotz and Wyatt Page stopped Rebel reserve running back Tobias Clark for a three yard loss on third down and forced the punt. Ian Spence ran the show at quarterback for most of the game, and the confidence showed up on the first drive for Creek Wood. Spence engineered a brisk 4 play, 72 yard scoring drive–two runs and two passes–ending in a 27 yard passing score to Klotz out of the backfield. Spence’s extra point was good, and with 6:37 left in the first it was 7-0 Creek Wood.
The Red Hawk defense forced a quick three and out as Devon Higgins broke up a pass on third down, and Creek Wood was in great field position after the punt at their own 44. Spence called his own number and ran for a first down, then looked for Dalton Pentecost on a passing play; the pass was incomplete, but Pentecost drew the defensive pass interference penalty and the Red Hawks were in business at the Stewart County 33. Three plays later, Spence found sophomore Toby Weaver for a huge 23 yard pass to make it first and ten from the Stewart County 13. Pentecost would take the handoff, but the Rebels would force a fumble and recover. Five plays later, Stewart County would run Timothy Clark on an end around, and thanks to speed and good blocking the senior would go 70 yards for the tying score on the first play of the second quarter.
Both sides would trade possessions in the second, but on the Rebels’ next punt Creek Wood took the ball down to the Stewart County 15, and the Red Hawks needed just one play to regain the lead. Spence found a lane and ran it in for the go-ahead score, but his extra point was blocked giving Creek Wood a 13-7 lead with 5:18 left in the half. Stewart County would answer back later in the half, however; their next drive stalled, but on the first play after the punt Timothy Clark picked off Spence and set the Rebels up again. Just 5 plays later, Stewart County tied the game off a Taeton Wienk one yard touchdown run, and the extra point from freshman Gustavo DeSousa gave the Rebels their first lead of the game 14-13 with 21 seconds left in the second quarter. Creek Wood ran out the clock in the half, and headed to the locker room trailing, knowing they would get the ball back in the third.
A fired up Red Hawk squad came out in the second half, taking their opening drive 62 yards in 9 plays, ending in a 3 yard touchdown run from Klotz. The extra point was good, and Creek Wood led 20-14 with 8:08 left in the third. The defense stiffened, the Red Hawk punt return was stellar, and Creek Wood found itself at the opposing 5 yard line. Two plays later, Pentecost rammed into the endzone, and Creek Wood led 27-14 just like that. The homecoming crowd likely thought the game was over, but Stewart County had other ideas.
The Rebels marched down the field on their next drive, as Trey and Taeton Wienk along with Jeremy Waters ran the ball 8 straight times. The 56 yard trek ended as the senior quarterback Trey Wienk trotted into the endzone from 3 yards out, cutting the margin to 27-21 with 38 seconds left in the third. Stewart County surprised the Red Hawks with a squib onside kick and recovered, then the Rebels only needed one more play to steal the lead again as Wienk found Kameron Heina over the top for a 47 yard touchdown pass. After DeSousa’s extra point it was 28-27 Rebels with 27 seconds left in the third, meaning Stewart County needed just 11 seconds to erase a 13 point deficit and take the lead back.
Undaunted, Creek Wood had a quick answer of its own. After a Klotz run of 5 yards on first down, Spence found Mathis Duncan for a 57 yard passing score, but a two point try was no good. Still the Red Hawks managed a 2-play, 62 yard drive to reclaim the lead early in the fourth 34-28. Stewart County seemed flustered on its ensuing possession, as the two sides swapped penalties while the Rebels had carries of 0 and -1 yards. On third and long, Wienk went to the air again, but Higgins intercepted the pass and returned it to the Stewart County 5 yardline. Klotz punched in the score from there to quickly make it 40-28 and give the Red Hawks another two-score lead, but after the 11-second barrage already in the game, the defense was better prepared.
The Rebels went 4-and-out on their next drive, due in part to a first down sack from Austin Newsom. Klotz took over at quarterback for the Red Hawks, but penalties piled up on the drive. Ultimately, the Rebels would pick off Klotz on third down, and a CWHS personal foul penalty would give Stewart County even better field position out to their own 31. They would manage one first down before four straight incomplete passes would give the ball back to the Red Hawks around midfield. Spence came back in to close out the game, and a steady diet of Spence and Klotz on the ground would grind out the game and a 12 point win for the Red Hawks on homecoming night.
The battered squad, wearing the Ole Miss styled navy blue uniforms for the homecoming crowd, gets a bye week to heal up before a trip to Montgomery Central. Newsom was flipped from a two-way lineman to a strictly defensive lineman, meaning Page was moved from tight end to the offensive line. With the receiving corps depleted his sure hands were missed, as Creek Wood was without Isaac Edmondson for a second straight week.