ERIE — Silver Creek’s offense has been cruising at a high altitude all season. On Friday night, it was time for the Raptors defense to make a statement of its own.
Tasked with stopping Erie’s tricky, old-school double-wing offense, Silver Creek figured things out quickly and completely shutdown the Tigers’ offense for a 52-7 victory in a Class 3A Northern League game.
“It’s a tough offense to stop, but we found out that it’s really easy to read the guards and tackles,” senior linebacker Nate Dunlavy said. “We did that and maintained our reads and pulled it out.”
The starting defensive unit was on the bench with a huge lead and a running clock when Erie broke the goose-egg showing on the scoreboard. Still, the Tigers could only muster 80 total yards in the first half against a pumped up Silver Creek group.
“Honestly that is one of the hardest offenses to prepare for. You just don’t see it enough,” coach Mike Apodaca said. “They run it so well that it is a week that you are glad when it’s over.”
Silver Creek (6-1 overall, 2-0 league), ranked No. 3 in 3A, saw yet another big performance by quarterback Austin Apodaca, who continues to deliver some of the most impressive passes by anyone in the state. He finished 15-for-20 (including two spikes to stop the clock and two drops) with 291 yards and three touchdown throws.
For the season, he has completed 68 percent of his passes for 1,574 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Even better for the Raptors, Ian McNabb (89 yards rushing), Anthony Emberley (47) and sophomore Kyle Kent (36) added balance to the prolific offense with a strong effort on the ground.
The offense scored on all eight of its possessions, including the last drive engineered by the second team.
“With our offense, if the defense tries to stop the inside receiver, the outside is open, and if they try to pick the outside receiver the inside is there,” said Wyatt Knechtel, who hauled in five receptions for 108 yards. “Austin can throw that ball hard. I have to make sure to keep my hands soft or he can jam some fingers.”
Ryan Rankin caught five passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns, including a 72-yarder for a score.
His touchdown made it 14-0 Silver Creek early in the second quarter, which proved to be pivotal. The Raptors unloaded for 24 points in those 12 minutes, including another reception by Rankin and a 41-yard field goal by Ryan Templeton.
After receiving the kick after halftime, Apodaca led his team down the field with a nine-play, 84-yard drive that ended with Greg Reynolds finishing off a 30-yard scoring pass by running over a couple Erie defenders.
The Tigers dropped to 3-4 overall and 1-1 in league, but they still saw decent production on the ground, where they live and die.
Coltin Brink finished with 73 yards on 12 carries and the team’s only touchdown.
Brady Delander can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Silver Creek 52, Erie 7
At Erie H.S.
Silver Creek (6-1, 2-0) 7 24 14 7 — 52
Erie (3-4, 1-1) 0 0 0 7 — 7
Silver Creek — Anthony Emberley 25 run (Ryan Templeton kick), 5:27.
Silver Creek — Ryan Rankin 72 reception from Austin Apodaca (Templeton kick), 11:50.
Silver Creek — Ian McNabb 3 run (Templeton kick), 9:29.
Silver Creek — Rankin 13 reception from Apodaca (Templeton kick), 5:00.
Silver Creek — Templeton 41 FG, 0:00.
Silver Creek — Greg Reynolds 30 reception from Apodaca (Templeton kick), 9:01.
Silver Creek — McNabb 3 run (Templeton kick), 3:00.
Erie — Coltin Brink 15 run (Ryan Haynes kick), 10:45.
Silver Creek — Kyle Kent 13 run (Ryan Charles kick), 1:45.
First downs 22 8
Rushes-yards 27-177 36-151
Passing yards 317 15
Comp-Att-Int 18-23-0 2-7-0
Punts-Avg. 1-33.0 2-32.5
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 6-40 0-0
RUSHING — Silver Creek: McNabb 16-89, Emberley 6-47, Kent 4-36, James Whitmore 1-5; Erie: Brink 12-73, Ryne Atkins 18-61, Jake Wagner 1-7, Rafael Batrez 1-4, Matthew Roper 1-4, Ryan Romey 1-2, Tristen Lyle 1-0.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) — Silver Creek:Apodaca 15-20-0-291, Jimmy Fuhrman 2-2-0-21, Ben Sjobakken 1-1-0-5; Erie: Lyle 2-6-0-15, Brink 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Silver Creek: Wyatt Knechtel 5-108, Rankin 5-103, Reynolds 5-70, Whitmore 1-16, Zane Lindsey 2-10; Erie: Taylor Dudley 1-8, Brink 1-7.