Indian Creek and Martins Ferry both suffered tough losses a week ago and it seemed to carry into Friday evening's homecoming contest at Purple Rider Stadium.
Both clubs have high-powered offenses that were completely stagnant for two quarters. The two clubs awoke in the second half to give the fans their money's worth as the hosts notched a 35-20 victory.
With the win, the Riders stand at 6-1 and will entertain once-beaten St. Clairsville in what should be one of the best games of the 2010 season.
Creek, meanwhile, fell to 4-3 and will travel to face Harrison Central Friday.
"I honestly believe that both teams were suffering a bit of a hangover from last week's losses," claimed veteran Rider mentor Dave Bruney. "We played with very little emotion in the first two quarters. Thank goodness our defense was solid. We just could not really get anything going."
After a scoreless opening round of action Ferry broke into the scoring column when senior standout Casey Bain hauled in a 12-yard toss from classmate Dorsey Moore with 11:46 to play until halftime.
The Riders got the ball late in the quarter, but an interception by Mark Ludewig of a Moore pass at the Rider 30 gave the invaders from Jefferson County a spark.
Senior dandy Adam Young got away from Sean McGee and found Jordon Spence in the endzone with one tick to play. The boot tied the score at 7-7. During halftime Kylie Stewart chose the white rose to become the Riders' 2010 queen.
Creek got the ball to start the second half and marched down to the Rider two before being stopped on downs.
The Redskins subsequently forced the Purple Riders to punt, but the returner could not handle the ball and ever-present senior Bobby Dayton pounced on the ball at midfield.
Hard-running senior Mike Rose then took over with a nifty 43-yard run that placed the ball at the three. Bruney called his number again and he bulled in from three yards out for a 14-7 edge.
Creek's Nikko Otto then intercepted a Moore pass and scored from 20 yards out, but the kick was wide and the scoreboard read 14-13.
"Dorsey (Moore) grew up a lot tonight," claimed Bruney. "He made some really bad decisions, but he came back and made some great plays. When you're a quarterback, you must have a short memory."
Moore responded with a 40-yard hookup with senior Anthony Phillips and a 21-13 Rider lead with 8:42 to play.
Casey Bain intercepted a Young pass setting the stage for his first running score and a 28-13 lead. Creek would not go away as they answered when Young found his brother from seven yards out.
Bain put it in the books on the next possession with a 44-yard jaunt to paydirt with 2:21 to play.
"What can I say about Casey Bain," claimed Bruney. "He is one of the best two-way players we have ever had. He does it all. His play on defense was outstanding. He makes plays on special teams. He was stuffed early in the game, but he never gets mad at the line, he just keeps plugging. He is a throwback."
"This was really a tough loss for our team," claimed personable Creek boss Andrew Connor. "They left their hearts out on the field tonight and my heart breaks for them."
Connor continued, "We did nearly all that we worked on this week to prepare, we just had some costly turnovers and mistakes at critical times and Martins Ferry made us pay."
"We'll look to bounce back next week, but we are young and it'll hurt for a while. Like I told these guys when you give as much as they do day in and day out, when you lose it's supposed to hurt. They don't deserve to feel this way because they are such a great group, but that's part of the maturing process.