But while the errors were few in the Knights’ second game, they might have loomed larger.
Two botched point-after attempts were the difference in a win over a Class AAAAA opponent and a 0-2 start, and River Ridge lost 20-19 on its home field.
For Creekview coach Terry Crowder, it was a humbling first win at the Grizzlies’ helm.
“We could have easily lost, but we didn’t, so I’m happy,” Crowder said. “I’m proud of the way we are fighting and getting better. We’re not anywhere as good as we’re going to be in three weeks or four weeks, but there’s a lot of fight in this team.”
Hanging onto a gift-wrapped one-point lead in the middle of the fourth quarter, Creekview (1-1) managed to kill what was beginning to look like a game-winning drive when River Ridge quarterback Steven Spears was stopped for no gain on a fourth-and-6 at his own 44-yard line.
The Knights (2-0) had previously converted two fourth downs on the drive, which began at their own 2.
“When we start getting going on offense, people will go four downs on us,” Crowder said. “That’s what they did, and they did it really well.”
There wasn’t any room for second-guessing in River Ridge coach Robert Braucht’s mind. When the Knights’ final drive began, they had already used all of its timeouts.
While River Rudge managed to move the ball past midfield, once it last march toward victory stalled, it was too late. The Knights couldn’t stop the clock, and the triple-option style of offense made it difficult for them to get to the sidelines.
“The game came down to basically two mistakes on the point-after attempts. If we hit our two extra points, we win the ball game 21-20,” Braucht said. “That’s the bottom line. We didn’t take care of business when we had the opportunity.”
River Ridge led 13-10, going into halftime, when E.J. Ellis intercepted a Tyler Wilkie pass. Ellis’ pick set up a 13-yard touchdown run by Tanner Hicks to give the Knights the lead.
Creekview, however, stole momentum back and took a 20-13 lead on a 15-yard touchdown reception by Connor Dulmage.
Despite Wilkie’s composure in the pocket throughout the game — he was 14-of-20 for 185 yards and two touchdowns — the Grizzlies had many costly penalties that shaved the ends off of drives.
“I thought we played pretty good offensively, except for the mental lapses,” Crowder said. “If we don’t do that, we’re going to score a lot of points.”