It’s been said that a succesful sports team can galvanize a community. Lines of race, religion, gender and socio-economic status can be erased as people can unite in getting behind the home team and either reveling together over its success, or despairing as one over the team coming up short.
We are seeing that this year with the Indian River High School football team.
Following back-to-back seasons of 5-5 records, the Indians have scorched their way to an 11-0 mark this year, trouncing archrival Sussex Central and frequent nemesis Laurel along the way. They played their state semifinal game at home last weekend against Howard and cruised their way to a 49-14 victory. This team has many in our community excited, and it all culminates Saturday night in Dover when the Indians meet Caravel at Delaware State University with a state championship on the line.
Many people thought this was going to be a year of transition for the Indians. Succesful head coach Jim Bunting stepped down at the end of last season and his longtime assistant Ray Steele assumed command of the ship. Though Steele and Bunting worked together for decades, many assumed there would be a “settling-in” period this year as Steele put his own mark on the team.
Yeah, they got settled in pretty quickly.
The state championship game figures to be a war. Caravel was also undefeated this season, and outscored their opponents by an average score of 37-10. The Indians dominated the teams on their schedule to the tune of 44-14 this season. It appears that the right two teams will be competing for the title.
There are several Indian River High School graduates on our staff, including our publisher, and they are excited about this team. From talking with people in the community and reading marquees lining the streets, that excitement is everywhere.
The Indians play the Caravel Buccaneers on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Delaware State University. Catch it if you can.