Two rushing touchdowns and a solid defense helped the Creek Wood Red Hawks to a 14-6 win over the Portland Panthers on a rainy night in Charlotte, raising their record to 7-2 and winning their fourth in a row.
The Red Hawks opened the scoring with a two-yard run by Sam Askins, putting them up 7-0. The defense held the Panthers scoreless in the first half, forcing the Panthers to punt on three of their four possessions in the first half, and forcing a fumble on the other.
Creek Wood scored again the third quarter with Danny Stansberry rushing in from 34 yards out to give the Red Hawks a 14-0 lead. That was short-lived as the Panthers responded with a touchdown drive, capped by a two-yard scoring run by quarterback Kaleb Mandrel. The Panthers missed their two-point conversion attempt, making the score 14-6.
In the fourth quarter, the Creek Wood offense stalled and was forced to punt, giving the Panthers the ball with a chance to tie the game. Portland moved to the Creek Wood 45-yard line when the Red Hawks were called for two unsportsmanlike penalties, setting up the Panthers at the 15 yard line. With time running down the Panthers drove down to the four-yard line. After a few defensive stops, the Panthers faced fourth and goal with over a minute remaining.
Mandrell went back to pass and had Dylan Gulley in the corner of the end zone. However the defensive pressure caused him to hurry the throw, which fell incomplete. Creek Wood took over and ran out the clock, securing the victory. With the win, Creek Wood officially qualifies for the TSSAA playoffs.
The Red Hawks will close out the regular season Friday on the road at Springfield, playing for home field advantage in November.