Football victory is sweet at IR homecoming
As Homecoming parade floats humorously encouraged the Indians to “poach the Polytech Panthers,” Indian River High School football team got to work on the gridiron on Oct. 12. While they didn’t “poison the Panthers” in real life, they earned a continuous clock while defeating Polytech 53-17.
IR came out strong in every quarter, always pulling ahead by the quarter’s end. Typically, Poly would score once and IR would score twice.
“Once they touch the ball, they’re a threat to score. Our offensive line is very underrated,” said coach Ray Steele of all the players, adding that they quickly break through opponents’ “seams in the defense.”
The first half of the game was relatively quiet, with IR leading, 13-3, on Aarron Moore’s runs. But IR quadrupled that score in the second half, earning 27 points in the third quarter and 13 in the final quarter.
“They were a big, aggressive team. They played hard,” said Steele of Polytech. “I think, in the second half, we wore them down a little bit.”
Marquel Knight, Jalen Griffin and Spencer Murray all contributed touchdowns — three, two and one, respectively.
Kicker Sam Izzo was back on the field this week after missing time for a soccer injury. The team even improved their timing to help Izzo make three of five extra points.
Polytech players were quick to identify and sack IR’s fastest players. They seemed to know Griffin, Knight and Moore are fast as bullets, and they had to stop the trigger.
“Ever since the Milford game,” which IR lost by one point, “they realized we need to play as a team. We can’t just be good one way,” said Steele. “I’ve seen a big difference in overall attitude and work ethic. I think the kids feel we gave that game away. I’ve seen a big difference since then.”
From that point forward, Steele said he feels IR has dominated every football field, except at Delmar. IR’s dominance against Polytech even allowed second-string players to run the field during nearly the entire final quarter.
“We still need our defense to keep improving,” Steele said. “I thought they played very well, sometimes gave up yards, but they’re improving every game.”
Top IR defenders included Harry Wilgus (nine tackles), David Marshall and Tim Roberts (both with seven tackles and one assist) and Kees Elling (five tackles, three assists and a recovery).
The Indians were set to travel Friday, Oct. 19, to Laurel turf. Steele said he usually doesn’t mind if opponents score, if IR immediately responds in kind. However, IR needs to be sharp from the first snap at Laurel, he said.
“Laurel’s a big aggressive, physical team. They’re certainly not going to back down,” said Steele, comparing their opponents to a quicker IR team. “We have to go there and grab the momentum early… If we give them momentum, it’s going to be a long night.”