The Indian River varsity football team massacred Washington High School’s team 37-0 on Sept. 23 in a mercy-rule effort. The Indians scored early and often, and dominated both sides of the lines of scrimmage. The team was even able to make wholesale changes in the second half to get its reserves some varsity playing time.
The Jaguars were on the ropes all evening and it started with a muffed return by Don’Shay Speid. The ball was recovered by a teammate and Washington wouldn’t give up the ball deep in their territory — at least that time.
With an illegal procedure penalty and a play for negative yards behind them, the Jaguars looked to move forward on second-and-long but a swarm of Indian defenders popped the ball loose. It squirted into the endzone. Interior defensive lineman Zack Rector pounced on the ball, giving Indian River a 7-0 lead without the offense taking a snap.
Indian River’s defensive front four poured on the pressure from that point on and would continue create opportunities for their offense and themselves throughout the game. Brian Lynch would recover a fumble on the first play of the next Jaguar possession. Lynch led the team with eight tackles, including two assists and a safety.
“The last two years, Brian has really committed himself in the off-season,” said Assistant Coach Paul Kmetz. “He’s lost weight through hard work, which has increased his speed and agility — not to mention he has a motor that doesn’t stop.”
Fellow defensive lineman Phillip Townsend made his presence felt as well. He notched six tackles, three assists and two quarterback sacks.
The Indians’ offense had their first opportunity to score inside the red zone but coughed the ball at the 7-yard line on a Matt Williamson fumble. The staunch Indians defense pitched one of their numerous three-and-outs and, with Washington punting, Indian River had a chance at great field position.
Returner/receiver Andy Bokinsky fielded the Washington punt at the Jaguar 30-yard-line but great vision and run after the catch would give Indian River the ball inside the 10.
Bokinsky reeled off a 22-yard punt return that would set up Josh Gott for his only rushing attempt of the game. Gott didn’t even get his hair wet as he took the toss sweep left past unwilling defenders for an 8-yard touchdown run.
Up 14-0 only a couple minutes into the game, Indian River looked to put the clamps on Washington before the half. Indian River would tack on two more touchdowns and Lynch’s safety would eventually set up a long Indian scoring drive.
Another Jaguar three-and-out forced a very poor punt deep in their territory, which gave Indian River another great opportunity from only 25 yards out.
Eric Givans didn’t play much due to the blowout game and would eventually be replaced by Nik Kmetz — but not before he could hit Bokinsky on an 8-yard hitch that would go for 18 and set up Indian River for their third touchdown in four offensive series.
Matt Williamson only carried the ball three times for 20 yards but put the Indians ahead 20-0 as he slid through the Jaguar defense for a 7-yard touchdown. With Gott and Williamson only accounting for four carries and the score getting out of hand, someone else had to carry the load to burn the clock and possibly extend the lead.
Indian River would have a 65-yard Matt Williamson punt return for a touchdown recalled, as well another for pushing in the back on a second-half Danny Veith scamper.
Kmetz noted that those particular penalties were committed by freshman given the opportunity to play with the game but asserted that steps had been taken to correct any mistakes.
“It’s natural to make mistakes early in the season but we’ve made less penalties in practice over the past couple of weeks,” said Kmetz, “We have a lot of new starters in new positions but we’re scoring more points than we did last year.”
Indian River racked up 30 points on Washington High before the half with Kmetz connecting with Bokinsky on a 22-yard touchdown pass.
Fullbacks Perry Townsend, Scott Bollinger and Veith picked up the pace and combined their efforts for an effective inside-out running game.
Townsend and Bollinger softened up the Jaguar interior defense by gaining 59 yards on nine carries, which set up Veith on the edges.
In the second half, Veith swept right and left for 59 yards on just eight carries and netted one touchdown.
Indian River’s increase in scoring production can be attributed to having to practice against their defense every day according to Kmetz.
“I’m a witness daily,” boasted Kmetz of the Indians’ defense, “practicing against them every day definitely makes us better, but we challenge each other. There are days the offense gets the better of the defense, though.”
With the game out of hand at 37-0, Indian River’s second and third teams had their chance to shine and did.
Washington began to move the ball a bit with the reserves in, and Speid and Ravon Leonard were able to get wide and move the chains. Indian River’s reserves extinguished the Jaguars’ eight-play drive on a fourth-and-eight in the red zone on an incomplete pass.
“There was a lot of pressure to preserve the shutout the first team handed them, but the second and third teams gave a little ground but made some big stops in the fourth quarter,” said Kmetz. “They buckled down when they needed to buckle down.”
Indian River will begin conference play against Woodbridge and their star running back Jordan Wescott on Sept. 30. As a sophomore, Wescott’s total was more than 1,400 yards, and every indicator points to him having an even more productive season this year.
Wescott twice has totaled 184 yards rushing against St. Andrew’s and Colonel Richardson. He notched seven touchdowns in those two games and, though Indian River has already squelched one 1,400 yard runner this season, this is a different runner.
“Jordan is the real deal,” said Head Coach Jim Bunting. “He may be the best back we’ll see but we’ll have to see. I’d rather have to stop one guy than three or four like we have.”
Woodbridge runs the Wing-T, which Bunting and his coaching staff made sure to get plenty of reps against in the preseason.
“We scrimmaged against Caesar Rodney, and they run the Wing-T as well as anyone in the state,” said Bunting.
Repetition, combined with their stingy 4-4 defense and an explosive offense, will be the Indians’ best defense as they travel to Woodbridge for a 7 p.m. kickoff on Sept. 30.