Harrison, Creek both still alive in playoff chase

CADIZ – Another chapter in one of the Buckeye 8’s best rivalries will be written at Wagner Field on Friday night when Indian Creek visits Harrison Central in the Huskies’ home finale.

Kickoff is set for 7:30.

The game is a defacto playoff game for both teams as the Redskins and Huskies virtually need to win out and get help if the playoffs are to be a reality.

Indian Creek sits in 11th place in the Division IV, Region 13 computer rankings behind Bishop Watterson and John Glenn. Steubenville currently holds the final playoff spot.

The Redskins’ five victories have all come against teams with losing records and their three losses have come against squads with winning ones. Thus, they’ve missed out on some crucial computer points.

Still, the shot at the postseason is there. But, now, the focus has to be on the Huskies.

”Now, we’re at the end of the year against two big rivals – Harrison Central and Edison,” Redskins head coach Andrew Connor said. ”(Harrison Central) is all we’ve been talking about. We don’t talk about (the playoffs), especially coming off a loss. You have to worry about yourself.”

Harrison Central (3-5) is also 11th in its region – Division V, Region 15. Currently, Canton Central Catholic, Sandy Valley and Sullivan Black River stand in the Huskies’ way of a playoff berth.

”We’re playing a meaningful game near the end of October and that’s a good thing,” Harrison Central head coach Justin Kropka said.

Indian Creek and Harrison Central are both coming off losses, the Redskins at home against Martins Ferry and the Huskies at Bellaire. So, someone will be able to rebound and likely keep their postseason hopes alive this week.

”It’s always a hotly-contested game no matter the records,” Kropka said. ”I have a lot of respect for Andrew and his program. While Indian Creek is a little bit bigger than us, the games have always been competitive.”

Likewise, Connor is a big fan of Kropka.

”They will play hard,” he said. ”(Wagner Field) is a tough place to play and it’s a difficult place to play.

”They have a typical Harrison Central team.”

By effort, yes. But …

”This is the most I’ve seen them throw the ball,” Connor said. ”(David Miser) does a good job of getting the ball to their playmakers.

”It may not be your typical Harrison Central offense, but they are much more balanced.”

Miser has completed 55 percent of passes this season for 1,441 yards and 14 TDs.

Nate Olmstead (33 rec., 648 yds., 8 TDs) and Dalton Rutter (34 rec., 504 yds., 3 Tds) have been the biggest beneficiaries of Miser’s success.

The Huskies’ ground game has also been potent, led by Travis Stenson’s 435 yards and four scores.

”Our biggest thing has been turnovers,” Kropka said. ”That’s been our Achilles’ heel all year. We’re young and sometimes a little careless with the ball and sometimes you have to learn those lessons the hard way.

That’s also Connor’s mantra. The Redskins put up a good fight against the Purple Riders, only to come up a TD short.

”I thought we were physical and ran the ball really well,” he said. ”And, overall, the defense got better.”

Blake Roar again anchored Creek’s rushing attack last week, going for 175 and a score. Overall, the Redskins rushed for 311 yards.

”They’re solid up front and have backs that run the ball well,” Kropka noted. ”They’re very physical.”

Quarterback Jonathan Woodbury continues to mature, as well.

”He’s done a pretty job of throwing the ball and keeping guys off balance,” Connor said.