It was an all-too-familiar situation for the Indian River High School football team when Lake Forest came to town on Friday, Nov. 4.
Just like things had gone down facing Milford three weeks prior, a game that started with IR sophomore Jacob Anderson returning the opening kick off the length of the field for a touchdown and putting the Indians up 7-0 early, they would end up with giving up too many big plays of their own and earned an eventual division loss, this time falling to the Spartans 26-7.
“We gave up the big plays on defense and consistently made mistakes this year,” said head coach Phil Townsend after the game.
“Offensively we moved the ball but we just couldn’t finish. It goes back to what we’ve been battling all year, offensively we’re making the same mistakes — we’re fumbling the ball, we’re jumping offsides, we’re not holding our blocks.”
After Anderson’s second touchdown return of the season, and senior kicker Andrew White continuing his streak of successful extra point attempts (17-17), the Spartans would answer when junior quarterback Desaun Bizzell found senior tight end Cameron Lewis for an 18-yard strike that made it 7-6.
Lake would go on to take a 14-7 lead with 21 seconds left in the half, with Bizzell finding Lewis again from six-yards out and the Spartans successfully converting the two-point conversion attempt.
Missed opportunities continued to plague the Indians in the second half, with Bissell tossing his third touchdown to junior Nicholas Lane and junior fullback Elle Hardin punching in a goal-line score to give Lake Forest their second win of the season.
The division loss dropped the Indians to 2-7 on the year, and according to Townsend, made for a less-than-ideal way to send out their seniors in their final home game.
“It’s a shame because a lot of the seniors stepped up tonight but unfortunately not everyone came to play,” he said.
“I told the seniors they played a really good game but they’ve gotta learn from this. You’re not always going to win in life, you’re gonna takes losses, you’re gonna make mistakes, you’re gonna meet obstacles that are hard to overcome but you have to learn from them. All we can do is go on from here.”
Senior running back George Martin led the offense on the night, taking 15 carries for 98 yards. The performance brought his season total up to 971 yards on the season, just 29 yards shy of becoming the Indians’ first 1,000-yard rusher since KiAnte’ Sturgis in 2013.
Senior linebacker Zion Howard led the way on defense with 14 tackles in the game, with senior safety Jared Arlett racking up eight solo tackles in the secondary and senior linebacker Gianni Gottschalk finished with six tackles as he continues to get back to full health.
The Indians will look to shake off the loss and send out their senior class on a high note when they head to Sussex Central (6-3) on Friday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m.