By JACOB MOORE | For the democrat
Brown County High School faced rival Indian Creek High School in the September 10 home soccer game where the winner was determined at the last minute.
In the end, the Eagles fell to the Braves 13-12.
From the start, each team scored on their first offensive possession. The Eagles struck first when senior quarterback Seth Oliphant scored on a designed 12-yard run.
The Eagles attempted a two-run conversion, but Oliphant was stopped inches from the goal line. Still, the Eagles were leading 6-0 at 8:02 of the first quarter.
The visiting Braves responded with their own scorer, topped with a 24-yard run by sophomore quarterback Jackson Wise. Indian Creek junior kicker Guillermo Martinez-Fernandez scored an extra point. With 4:21 left in the first quarter, the Braves led 7-6.
The teams had two touchdowns on the board in less than eight minutes of playing time. But Indian Creek’s 7-6 lead would stubbornly stick around until less than four minutes left.
The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth movement, with each team seeing opportunities to win the game by slipping away.
A false punt with 9:30 to go seemed to give Indian Creek a boost. The Braves faced the fourth and nine from their own 40-yard line. Punter Brandon Murray, who is also a running back, took the snap but then ran to the sideline for a 15-yard gain.
Luckily for the Eagles, a personal foul penalty against the Braves brought the ball almost exactly to the line of scrimmage and forced a real punt.
In the possession that followed, the Eagles faced the fourth and one on their own 49-yard line, but were stopped dead by a blitz from Indian Creek defensemen.
In turn, Indian Creek would face a fourth and two at the Brown County 39-yard line. The Braves attempted a rigged game in which a moving receiver before the snap suddenly stopped behind center, took the snap and performed what would normally be considered a stealthy “quarterback”. The snap was jostled though, and that delay allowed the Eagles to hit the runner and bring him to a halt.
Brown County took possession of their own 38-yard line, but with less than five minutes to go, playing time was tight.
Senior wide receiver Malachi Nickels made a necessary play with a 30-yard reception, which could easily prove to be the catch of the year. At Indian Creek’s 32-yard line, Nickels shot the pass over the sideline while sliding one foot in and falling back.
Three games later, with 3:22 remaining in the game, senior running back Wanblee Roux broke the drought with a six-yard touchdown. Oliphant was sacked during the two-point conversion attempt, leaving the Eagles with a 12-7 lead.
For the first time in more than three quarters, Brown County had the advantage and the defense strengthened. Senior defensive tackle Jack Redding sacked Wise from Indian Creek to force a third and 20 from the Braves’ 31-yard line. In the next game, junior linebacker Ethan Spiece sent Wise back from behind and forced a fumble, which the Eagles recovered with two minutes remaining.
Brown County conservatively moved the ball and burned the clock, forcing Indian Creek to use up all of its downtime. With 25 seconds remaining, the Eagles faced the fourth and one from the 16-yard line. A penalty would make him fourth and six.
A first down would end play, while a downstroke turnaround would stop the clock and return the ball to Indian Creek with an opportunity to play a round or lift up to the end zone.
Unfortunately for Brown County, the next play would be a remarkable stroke of luck for the Braves. The snapshot was taken, but the potential transfer was suspended.
Indian Creek senior linebacker James Kelly was there at the right time to snatch the ball. Kelly took the ball almost without interrupting her stride. Then, with no one between him and the end zone, he sprinted 79 yards for a touchdown.
The extra point was blocked, leaving the Braves 13-12 ahead with 12 seconds left.
Brown County would attempt a full-back in the ensuing kickoff, ultimately resulting in a fumble and Indian Creek would recover to secure the victory.
“It was a great game from their guy. It was incredible timing. He was in the right place at the right time, ”said assistant coach Kevin Greve of the last minute touchdown.
The loss tied the Eagles’ season record at 2-2 after wins over Jennings County and Cloverdale, followed by an early-season loss to Owen Valley.
Brown County will then play on September 17 in West Vigo.