ihs vs. plum

Korbin Wilson, one of the running backs in Indiana’s stable, took off on a touchdown run against Plum last week.

The Indiana Indians are streaking, and they have no plans to stop.

As the Indians (3-1) head on the road to face Greensburg Salem (3-1) on Friday in a WPIAL Class 4A Greater Allegheny Conference matchup, the team has two goals: get better and get the win.

Indiana has outscored its opponents 169-79 and averages 41.8 points per game. Since losing to Ligonier Valley, 20-14, in the first week, the Indians haven’t ended a game with less than 41 points on the scoreboard.

Last week’s contest, a 41-37 victory over Plum, was the closest game the Indians faced since Ligonier bested them. Plum put up a strong fight and forced Indiana to battle a full 48 minutes — something that couldn’t be said for the Indian’s previous matches, a 44-7 romp over Burrell and a dominating 70-15 victory over Derry — and showed a kink in Indiana’s armor by returning two kickoffs for touchdowns.

“It really has been a great three weeks,” said Indiana coach Brandon Overdorff. “We’ve played really well on both sides of the ball, but we made too many mistakes on special teams last week. We really focused on that again in practice to find ways to tackle the football, ways to tackle better and get down the field on kickoffs and punts. You have to play all three phases. Hopefully, we continue to get better this week and take another step forward against a really quality opponent. If we continue to play with the enthusiasm and passion like we did last week, we’ll be in it.”

A key piece of Indiana’s success has been 5-foot-10 senior quarterback Devin Flint. Despite sitting out against Derry due to COVID protocols, Flint has been essential in the massive offensive showing.

In the air, Flint is 7-for-9 for 100 yards. Those aren’t flashy numbers for a quarterback with three games under his belt. What’s impressive about Flint is his running game. Flint has 385 rushing yards on 66 carries in three games, averaging 5.8 yards per carry and 128.3 yards per game.

He also has seven touchdowns to show for his efforts, making Flint Indiana’s leading rusher, passer and scorer.

“He has a unique skill set, a God-given ability to go from zero to 100 in one step, it seems like,” Overdorff said. “He’s unique in the fact that he’s so explosive vertically. When he gets vertical, he gets tough to tackle. He’s stronger than he appears.”

The success of the Indians doesn’t land solely on the shoulders of Flint.

While the second-year starter certainly seems to be the standout on Indiana’s offense, he’s joined by a supporting cast that has put up equally impressive numbers — which is to be expected for a team that has scored all 22 of its touchdowns on the ground and averages 353.8 rushing yards per game.

Senior running backs Zach Herrington and Korbin Wilson have combined for 627 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. The pair average 156.7 yards per game on the ground. Junior Liam McFarlane has also stepped up to lend a hand to Indiana’s impeccable run game. McFarlane, who has 139 rushing yards on 13 carries, averages 10.7 yards per attempt.

“We really haven’t had that before,” said Overdorff on his team’s multiple offensive threats. “Korbin Wilson, Zach Herrington and Liam McFarlane have really developed this year and taken a big step forward in running with confidence and blocking for each other, which is the biggest thing our back field is doing that we haven’t done in the past. They’ve been really unselfish. … It’s nice to put the ball in multiple people’s hands and know that you have a shot for a big play.”

Overdorff knows his Indians will have to pull out all the stops as they head to Greensburg to face the Golden Lions.

Greensburg Salem has defeated Indiana in two of its three meetings since joining the conference in 2018. The Indians’ lone victory against the Golden Lions came last season, when Indiana clinched a 56-28 home win in late September.

“They pass the ball a lot, but they’re well-balanced. They can run it, too,” Overdorff said. “That presents a challenge to our defense to be able to defend both. Their quarterback is the top-ranked passer as far as efficiency. He’s gotten a lot better since we played them last year. He’s gotten more mature. Their whole team has matured over the offseason.

“Offensively they have a lot of weapons, a lot like Plum in the way that they have a lot of kids who can run and are elusive. It’s another challenge defensively. Offensively, can we do what we do? We’ll find out Friday.”

The biggest threats and challenges that Indiana will face, according to Overdorff, will be quarterback Hayden Teska, receiver Cody Rubrecht and Billy McChesney, who Overdorff considered “the best defensive lineman in 4A.”

Teska, at 5-10, is 46-for-94 for 909 yards and nine touchdowns. The senior averages a hefty 227.3 passing yards per game and 19.8 yards per completion. In comparison, Indiana has had four different players step into the quarterback position this year, and collectively they are 9-for-14 for 163 yards.

Meanwhile, Rubrecht is Teska’s go-to target with 421 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 15 catches. The 5-7 junior averages 28.1 yards per catch and 105.3 receiving yards per game.

McChesney, a 6-foot, 245-pound senior, is part of a defensive line that has held Greensburg Salem’s opponents to just 62 points through four games.

Facing down the Golden Lions will not be an easy task, but Overdorff is confident in his team’s ability to rise to the challenge and earn its fourth straight victory.

“Once we get off the bus,” he said, “it’s just about being aggressive, taking care of the football, blocking and tackling with more physicality than the other team, and just playing every play for 48 minutes.”