NEW HAVEN >> It was a great night for Guilford for two reasons.
First, the Indians collected their second win of the season with a 31-14 victory over Creed-Career-Whitney Tech Thursday night at Bowen Field. Second, Guilford found it has the luxury of two quarterbacks capable of starting.
Sophomore Jack Strand, starting in first game in place of injured junior QB Aaron Korik, rushed for 135 yards on 21 carries and passed for 103 yards. He also scored two touchdowns and passed for another.
“We have two pretty good quarterbacks,” Guilford coach Mike Eagle said. “We have a guy who can lead a team in Jack Strand. It’s a good situation for us to be in.”
Guilford changed a little bit of its offense with Strand being more mobile, utilizing his running ability, especially up the middle.
“I was anxious, but I was excited for it,” Strand said. “I have confidence in myself, but I wanted to carry it over and get the win.”
Strand helped put the Indians ahead quickly as they took the opening kickoff and went 76 yards down field with Strand scooting into the end zone from 3 yards out to make it 6-0 midway through the first quarter.
“Ground and pound all game long is what we’re trying to bring to Guilford,” Strand said.
After Creed went three plays and punted, Guilford came right back with another touchdown, this time an 8-yard pass from Strand to Luke Cianciolo to make it 13-0.
It became 21-0 early in the second quarter when Eryk Derda scooted 70 yards down the left side for a touchdown. After a bad snap on the extra point kick, Guilford was able to get the two-point conversion instead when Zack Conover hit Wills Smith with a pass in the back of the end zone.
“We didn’t play defense as well as we wanted,” CCW coach Brandon McCormick said. “We tried to line up a couple different ways and it didn’t work out for us.”
CCW finally got on the board with 5:44 remaining in the first half when Neal Eley rushed 16 yards for a touchdown. But Cianciolo hit a 30-yard field goal just before halftime to make it 24-8 at the break.
CCW closed it to 24-14 on a Tylen King 29-yard jaunt with 8:09 to play in the third quarter and it looked like it would remain close to the end. But Strand and Guilford dashed ended the Howling Wolves’ hopes four minutes later when he scooted in for a 15-yard touchdown to make it 31-14.
Guilford improved to 2-3 with the victory.
“This was a big win for us,” Eagle said. “We took three on the chin and this was a good bounce back game for us.”
CCW fell to 1-4 with the loss in its first season as a member of the Southern Connecticut Conference.
“They ran the ball down our throats and their quarterback is a good player,” McCormick said. “We have some issues. We lost two starting linemen to grades yesterday and it showed against a team with more experience.”
Guilford 31, Creed 14
Guilford 13 11 7 0 — 31
Creed 0 8 6 0 — 14
G—Jack Strand 3 run (kick failed)
G—Luke Ciancolo 8 pass from Jack Strand (Luke CIancolo kick)
G—Eryk Derda 70 run (Wills Smith pass from Zack Conover)
C—Neal Eley 16 run (Tyrese Thomas run)
G—Luke Ciancolo 30 FG
C—Tylen King 29 run (run failed)
G—Jack Strand 15 run (Luke CIancolo kick)
Team records: Guilford 2-3, Creed/Career/WT 1-4