Friday night on the road at the Heritage Patriots was supposed to be the big test.
A chance to start 7-0 for the first time in school history, first game against a team with a winning record, a region game, the list goes on.
Not only did Creek Wood ace the test, they made it look like it was never really a test at all.
A 35-19 victory for the Red Hawks going into the by week and as dominant as they were, again, the scariest part is they can still get better.
This was maybe their most complete game so far, against an opponent that certainly we thought was up to par, but still there were special teams near mishaps, penalties to clean up, and passes dropped.
This Creek Wood team possesses a unique quality though that all great teams share, the ability to not only win but win in dominating fashion when they are favored and the better team across the board.
The Patriots have speed, talent, experience, etc. and more than likely won’t lose another region game this season. However, they were no match for a Red Hawk team that came to put the region and classification on notice; we are on par with Springfield and we plan on taking it the distance this season.
It all starts with Elijah Donaldson who had 2 INT’s on Friday night. At one point Donaldson led the state from the FS position in interceptions. His pace may have slowed but he always seems to grab a needed turnover to shift whatever little momentum an opponent has seized.
For example, Friday night the Patriots were driving to end the half. If they had scored they would have been down only a touchdown and started the 2nd half with the ball. Instead what happened was Donaldson wrestled an INT out of he sky at around the 50 yard line and returned it to the Heritage 21 where two plays later he would throw a touch pass in the front left corner of the endzone to freshman Jamison Ford.
That amounts to a two score swing. Instead of being down 1 score getting the ball to start the second half, the Patriots were now down 3 scores and they never seemed to recover.
Donaldson would finish with 3 TD’s one on the ground and two through the air. Brandon Porter would catch one of those two and rush for one himself. Michael Harris on top of being the field general leading a Red Hawk defense that played lights out, would also bust a 40+ yard TD run of his own.
Creek Wood now enjoys their fall break sitting at 7-0 and feeling great about how they have gotten here, again in absolute dominant fashion.
This is where we find out if the Red Hawks though can take what seems like a great, historic, and destined season and make it reality.
Off this week they will host White House next week, Portland for homecoming the week after, and finish the year with a highly anticipated road matchup against Springfield.
What Creek Wood cannot do, and what I think they will not do in a season where they have seemed more focused than ever, is allow the fall break, the 7-0 record, and the fact that on paper they should be 9-0 entering the Springfield game go to their heads.
Much like the SEC we all know and love, this is a region where anybody can beat anybody on any given night if you aren’t locked in.
The Red Hawks and Coach Houston Thiel have started something special this year, now they have to finish it.