By T. Scott Boatright
MINDEN — Many football fans are familiar with the phrase “three yards and a cloud of dust.”
But Thursday’s season opening showdown pitting Cedar Creek against Glenbrook was more like “three yards and a spray of mud.”
And in a defensive slugfest played at boggy Apaches Stadium, turnovers were much of the difference as Glenbrook held on for a 12-6 win over the Cougars.
The tempo, and kind of game it would be, was determined early. Cedar Creek took the opening and marched down to the Glenbrook 1-yard line before turning the ball over on downs.
Then Cedar Creek stopped the Apaches again, and thanks to a shanked punt, took over on the Glenbrook side of the field and drove all the way down to the Apaches’ 14 before coming up two inches short on a fourth-and-one situation.
Five plays later the Cougars’ Ladd Thomspon intercepted a Glenbrook pass to set Cedar Creek up with first down at the Apaches’ 10-yard line with 25 seconds left in the opening stanza.
The Cougars got down to the Glenbrook 1 before a double penalty — holding followed by a personal foul – backed them up the Apaches’ 30. Two plays later Cedar Creek turned the ball over on downs.
And that’s the way the game that looked like a heavyweight slugfest fought on a Slip-and-Slide instead of a boxing ring mat would go — as in “go the distance.”
But in the end, the decision would go to Glenbrook.
“It’s a mudpie out here,” Middleton said at game’s end. “It was one of those things where we expected to be able to throw a lot more, and then that didn’t happen. So here we are.”
Glenbrook took over at its own 31 after that Cedar Creek turnover on downs and marched 69 yards on eight plays, with quarterback Ty Feaster taking it in on a 1-yard quarterback sneak for the score.
Cedar Creek blocked the extra point kick attempt, leaving the Apaches up 6-0 with 6:50 remaining in the first half.
The Cougars drove as far as the Glenbrook 36-yard line with a little under two minutes left in the opening half before again turning the ball over on downs as the Apaches went into the locker room leading 6-0 at the half.
“We couldn’t run between the tackles, so our deal was trying to get around the edge,” Middleton said. “We couldn’t throw. It’s wet. Hat’s off to them. They’re a good football team and are going to win a lot of games.
“It’s not taking anything away from them, but we got stopped on the 1-yard line twice. Fourth and goal after getting to their 1 twice. We had a touchdown called back. It is what it is. I don’t know what else I can say.”
Cedar Creek did make one throw that counted as quarterback Caden Middleton threw a 51-yard scoring strike to Jed Stephens with 9:47 remaining that left the game tied at 6-6 after the point after touchdown kick attempt drifted wide right.
A good kick return set Glenbrook up in solid field position, and the Apaches drove all the way to the Cedar Creek 11 before Thompson hauled in his second interception of the game to keep the Cougars alive.
Glenbrook’s Maddox Mandino put the Apaches back on top on a two-yard touchdown run up the middle that gave the home team a 12-6 lead after the PAT pass attempt fell incomplete.
But on the next play from scrimmage following Glenbrook’s kickoff, Mandino sealed the deal for the Apaches with an interception with 5:43 remaining.
Glenbrook then made four straight first downs before going into the victory formation in the final 1:20 to escape with the season-opening win.
“The bottom line — you get stopped on the 1 twice, you don’t deserve to win,” Middleton said. “So here we are in this situation. we’ve got to regroup in a hurry. They got the turnovers. We had our chances. We’ve got to get our offense fixed — quick.”
“But we’ll bounce back … it is what it is.”