Danny Stansberry enjoyed another dominant rushing performance, scoring four touchdowns
Photo: Marty Allison/DicksonSportsMedia
By Bo Kennedy
PORTLAND, TN – There were playoff implications on the line Friday night, as the Creek Wood Red Hawks (8-1, 4-1) travelled north to Portland to take on the Panthers (4-6, 3-3), and took away a 46-0 route in a pivotal Region 5-4A game.
With a win, Portland would have been locked in as the fourth team in the region to qualify for the playoffs. Creek Wood would need to win to keep its regular season region title hopes alive. Conditions were wet for the entirety of the game, but the weather did not stop Creek Wood from dominating in all three phases.
Following a defensive stop, the Red Hawks opened the scoring with a 10-yard touchdown run from Danny Stansberry. Stansberry entered the night very close to eclipsing 1,000 yards on the season, and by the end of the night he had achieved that milestone and then some. The rushing attack for Creek Wood would display complete and utter dominance throughout the first quarter.
On Creek Wood’s next drive, Elijah Donaldson found one of his favorite targets, Sam Batey, near the goal line. The throw was placed directly over the outstretched hands of the Portland defensive back, and Batey would take it into the end zone.
Before long, disaster would strike the Portland special teams unit, as a snap sailed over their punter’s head. The punter kicked the ball out of the back of his own end zone, resulting in a safety in favor of Creek Wood. Andre Darden’s return on the ensuing kick set up Creek Wood with favorable field position. Stansberry got his second score on the night from about 10 yards out, and it was not even halftime by the time he punched in his third, also 10 yards. By this point, the Portland defense looked deflated.
With as much success as the offense displayed, the defense was just as dominant. The front seven, led by defensive linemen Micah Magrecke and Zach Bone, along with linebackers James Daugherty and Jair Rubio, unleashed chaos in the Portland backfield all night. Portland quarterback Caleb Mandrell was never able to get his rhythm going.
On what must have been the play of the game, Danny Stansberry burst through the hole for a touchdown run of 75 yards. At midfield, he made a hard cut from the left side of the field to the right, leaving diving Panthers in his wake.
The second half of the game would implement a running clock, in accordance with TSSAA rules. In the fourth quarter, backup running back Javon Sweatt punched in an insurance touchdown, extending the lead to a completely insurmountable 46-0.
Creek Wood dominated from kickoff onward. With Montgomery Central falling to White House, Creek Wood’s matchup with Springfield becomes a de facto region championship game. Coach Houston Thiel had high praise for the Creek Wood Crazies who made the trip up to Portland through the rain to watch their team.
He “told the guys to go celebrate with the fans” to show their appreciation. He expects a similarly raucous atmosphere when Springfield travels to Creek Wood on Friday.