SELLERSBURG — With Halloween just around the corner, the scariest monsters in the area might be the Silver Creek defense, which only relinquished five first downs and 143 total yards to visiting Madison in a 42-7 win over the Cubs on opening night of postseason play in Class 4A Sectional 23.
The stout defense was buoyed by a sturdy rushing attack that gashed Madison (1-9) for more than 400 total yards and largely kept the visitors off the field.
It’s a formula that’s worked all year for the Dragons (8-2), and it’s one that looks like it might lead to continued success as the postseason goes on.
“We reminded them that Madison was going to be better than their record showed. They’re a tough football team that plays in a conference with a lot of good football teams,” Silver Creek coach John Dablow said. “We knew it was going to be a challenge, and our defense did a good job of shutting down the run and limiting the pass. I think we bent maybe a little bit than we normally would — a few mistakes here and there — but overall, it was a good performance by the defense.”
Jacob Garrett closed off Silver Creek’s first drive with a 39-yard touchdown scamper that gave the Dragons the lead early in the first quarter. Brannon Russell added two second quarter touchdown runs, one from 38 yards out and another one-yard plunge as time expired in the first half.
It looked as if the Cubs might make a stand on the final drive of the first half after preventing Garrett and then Russell from getting into the end zone from the 2-yard line, but Russell plunged ahead for the score to give the hosts a 22-0 lead at intermission.
“That was huge,” Dablow said. “The kids did a good job of getting up there and running another play. We haven’t been in too many opportunities where we’ve had to go fast in a situation like that, so to see the kids be composed and get in there and into the end zone, that was great to see.”
Meanwhile, Madison quarterback Parker Jones — a freshman and the fifth quarterback the Cubs have used this season due to plague of injuries — was sacked eight times and generally treated unkindly by the Silver Creek defense.
“It’s fun to be able to depend on your defense. To be able to call some plays where if you make a mistake offensively, you have a great defense to back you up,” Dablow said.
Russell finished with 189 yards rushing on 17 carries and added a 48-yard scamper for his third touchdown of the night early in the fourth quarter.
A late fourth quarter connection — a 29-yard touchdown pass from Jones to tight end Robert Nutley — was the only thing standing between the Dragons and their sixth shutout of the season.
The Dragons next make the trek east Friday night to face Franklin County — a 46-34 winner over Jennings County on Friday. Dablow acknowledged the road gets tougher after Friday’s win if the Dragons are to accomplish their primary goal at this point — to win the school’s first-ever sectional championship in football.
“We know they like to run the ball and we also like to run the ball,” Dablow said of the Wildcats. “This is a great group of kids to work with. Every week they surprise me. I think they really love the game of football. I don’t have to get them up for games. I think they know the task at hand, and the opportunity at hand, and the tough teams that lie ahead for us if we’re to get there the next couple of weeks.”
CLASS 4A SECTIONAL 23
SILVER CREEK 42, MADISON 7
Madison 0 0 0 7— 7
Silver Creek 7 15 7 13—42
S — Jacob Garrett 39 run (Daniel Barrett kick), 9:06.
S — Brannon Russell 38 run (Elijah Bays run), 10:35.
S — Garrett 2 run (Barrett kick), :01.
S — Bennett Beyl 41 pass from Josh Landers (Barrett kick), 6:22.
S — Russell 56 run (Barrett kick), 7:00.
S — Jacob Graf 37 run (kick blocked), 5:31.
M — Cain Nutley 34 pass from Parker Jones (Tristan Story kick), :38.
Passing: Madison (9-28-122-2) — Jones 9-28-122-2, ; Silver Creek (7-11-86-0) — Landers 7-11-86-0.
Rushing: Madison (34-68) — Gage Sproles 21-51, Carson Howser 5-16, Gage Brewer 5-6, Jones 1-minus 5; Silver Creek (47-373) — Russell 17-189, Garrett 15-103, Graf 5-48, Isesis Lukes 3-23, Bays 3-19, Ben Landers 1-1, J. Landers 1-minus 5.
Receiving: Madison — Nutley 2-58, Noah Jackson 3-33, Nathan Moore 1-19, Howser 1-3; Silver Creek — Beyl 3-61, Garrett 2-17, Jake Lemon 1-6, Bays 1-2
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