IR football needs win Friday to lock as division champs
Indian River High School’s football team toppled the Laurel Bulldogs, 42-6, on Oct. 19, placing them atop the Henlopen Conference rankings. With a record of 6-1, the Indians have earned a total of 269 points this season, the second-highest in Delaware, after non-conference Caravel’s 302 points.
If IR can just beat Lake Forest at home on Friday, Oct. 26, the Indians will definitely be Henlopen South Division champions.
However, if they lose, the division becomes a three-way tie between IR, Lake Forest and Delmar, dependent on outcome of the teams’ final two games.
“They’re a good team,” said IR head coach Ray Steele, just days before the matchup against Lake Forest. “We don’t change a whole lot [in practice]. We condition hard. We’re tweaking the offense a bit.”
Steele said IR will work to accommodate Lake’s aggressive play, throwing the ball more and using some misdirection.
IR played it safe at the Laurel game, avoiding the bait to fuss onfield.
“This is basically the toughest mental game we’ve had all season, trying to keep everybody’s head in the game, nobody get in any trouble. That was the hardest part of the game,” said Jalen Griffin, who earned the night’s final touchdown, of the Oct. 19 game.
Steele said he was proud of the Indians’ playing and composure. Players could be seen last Friday encouraging each other to step away from tempting or frustrating situations on the field.
“They take care of each other, protect each other,” Steele said.
“We had to look forward to next game, bigger game, make sure no one got ejected from this game,” said Aarron Moore, who ran a touchdown in each of the first three quarters. “We came out here ready to play. We knew they’re an energetic team. We knew they would come out just as hard as we were. We had to prove a point in the first half, as usual.”
Griffin said IR needs to keep up their intensity: “We come out and jump on it fast. Penalties gotta be erased, and mental mistakes.”
IR has improved snaps to the kicker, leading Sam Izzo to successfully kick four of five attempted extra points at Laurel.
Marquel Knight rounded out scoring by running two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion. IR scored spotlessly four times before allowing Laurel six points in the third quarter. Top defenders included Kees Elling (six tackles and an assist), Allen Justice (five tackles, four assists) and Harry Wilgus (three tackles, three assists).
IR will host Alumni Night on Oct. 26, with kickoff against Lake Forest at 7:30 p.m.