Creekview (0-1) had little trouble putting points on the board in its 53-34 loss to Cherokee, but that was not the case for River Ridge (0-1), which scored just once late in the fourth quarter of its 56-7 loss to Sequoyah.
Despite the large point total, first-year Creekview coach Terry Crowder said his team wasn’t proud of its opening performance.
“They are kind of embarrassed,” Crowder said. “They have got a lot of pride, and they know they didn’t play well. I’m embarrassed. I know I didn’t coach well. We just have got to get better, and that’s what we did this week. We just got to work.”
Among the Week 1 standouts for Creekview was Isaiah Rodgers, who did most of the ground work for his team and finished the game with 27 carries for 153 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Kyle Wilkie was 18-for-33 passing for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Two of the touchdown passes were caught by Trey Peppers, who finished with three catches for 116 yards.
Two-way players Connor Dulmage and Chandler Wold were also key, as were Walter Grogan and Joseph Sorrentino, who led the team with 16 and 15 tackles, respectively.
Crowder said Creekview didn’t focus so much on River Ridge as it did on itself.
“We’ve looked at what they do offensively, and we’ve look at what they do defensively,” Crowder said. “The main thing is we need to fix some things that we aren’t doing well. We worked on those things and mentally not checking out of a ball game. If we can stay in the game mentally, then we will be fine.”
That isn’t to say that River Ridge isn’t a worthy opponent.
Despite their lopsided defeat, the Knights stayed in the game with Sequoyah through the first quarter. And aside from a second quarter in which they were outscored 21-0, the defense performed well. Jacob Samuels led the Knights with eight tackles, and Tanner Hicks added seven.
It was River Ridge’s offense that never seemed to get going.
Featured running back E.J. Ellis was held to just nine carries and a team-leading 40 yards. Starting quarterback Steven Spears competed just two of his eight attempts for 12 yards before giving way to brother Marcus Spears, who finished 5-for-7 for 58 yards and a touchdown.
The Knights will have to step up their game a bit in order to keep pace with the Grizzlies. Despite having a handful of two-way players, Creekview managed to maintain its intensity against Cherokee, even when it trailed by double digits.
In fact, Crowder said it wasn’t even the two-way players who showed signs of fatigue.
“We just played that game so much differently than we did (the scrimmage) at Centennial,” he said. “I don’t know what happened, but we just have to get back to playing Grizzly football.”