John Glenn comes up short, 16-14, in opening round playoff battle


John Glenn’s miscues in the passing game, paired with Indian Valley quarterback Cade Williams’ big night, led to a 16-14 loss for the Muskies

By Nick McWilliams, Sports Director

A handful of plays will be remembered as the defining moments of John Glenn’s playoff appearance and loss in 2018, but there was a much stronger undertone in the 16-14 defeat to Indian Valley — lay it all on the line.

Much like they have nearly every game this season, the Little Muskies showed the kind of drive every coach desires.

Unfortunately, that determination came up just short of No. 3-seeded Indian Valley.

Coming into unfamiliar territory — and some rather rough field conditions — John Glenn found themselves locked in a slobber-knocker in the first, dealing with the ultra-physical rushing attack of the Braves. The first quarter was marred by miscues, turnovers and plenty of slipping players on routes.

Finally breaking through late in the third quarter, quarterback Parker Zachrich danced to his right through a gaping hole to the end zone. He provided plenty of action on the ground all night, frustrating the Braves’ defense with his quick feet.

One of John Glenn’s biggest downfalls came in the passing game, along with a slow night for running back Brady Emerson. Their typical aerial attack was thwarted throughout, failing to connect on the downfield passes that were effortless at times in the regular season.

Not known for a stout passing game, Indian Valley used their unique and bruising running style to wear down the Muskie defense late. However, rather than star-running back Caden Hostetler being the difference maker, it was the late-game adjustments and quarterback Cade Williams that hooked John Glenn.

Williams put every point on the board for the Braves, once on a red-zone run and two-point conversion, and again on a 57-yard scamper, burning the over-eager John Glenn defense that crashed the center of the line and left the right sideline wide open. Williams finished with 146 yards on the ground and two scores, along with two conversions.

The Muskies’ pair of scores came thanks to Zachrich, who put his own flair on the quarterback draw with two touchdowns. His second came with 5:17 left, bringing John Glenn within two points.

John Glenn coach Matt Edwards joked about dealing with his quarterback at times, but expressed just how integral he was to the Muskies season.

“He’s a competitor … but he drives you nuts as a coach sometimes,” he said with a small grin. “Doesn’t always do what he’s supposed to, but in crunch time he just finds ways to get it done. Winners win, and he’s got that mentality that he can make any play at any time.”

Following Zachrich’s late score, fate decided to rear it’s cruel head against John Glenn on a chilled autumn night in Midvale.

Trying to ice the game away, the Braves lined up for a fullback dive on 4th-and-1. As Zach Love took the handoff, the Muskie defensive line exerted one of their best pushes all night, keeping him a half yard short.

With momentum on their side, the Muskies were guilty of two holding calls, driving the offense in the wrong direction. From there, an ill-fated swing-pass reception for Joseph Clifford, who was looking to churn out a few more yards, led to a fumble that bounced graciously into the hands of the Braves.

For some, the big run allowed and the fumble will be the defining moments of a season that came up short. But for others, like Edwards, it was the moments made throughout the season by a senior class that has grown with him that will be remembered first.

“It’s a special group,” he said. “They’re a group that came in with me, fought through those first couple seasons where things didn’t go where we wanted them to. They set a foundation and what this team has been a part of these last two seasons is something truly special.”

Indian Valley will now face Licking Valley on Saturday at 7 p.m., with the location yet to be announced.