Coming off a tough loss to Lake Forest on their own senior night, the Indian River High School football team will be looking for redemption when they set out to spoil senior night for rival Sussex Central on Friday, Nov. 11.
The 6-3 Golden Knights have impending DIAA state tournament hopes on the line however, knocked out of Henlopen North title contention but still very much in the playoff conversation should they cap the season with a win.
They’re riding back to back wins headed into the game, rolling Polytech 49-14 on Friday, Oct. 28, and more recently, Dover 43-7, on Nov. 4.
This season they’ve been without former IR running back-turned-Central star KiAnte’ Sturgis but have more than filled the backfield void with senior running back Justin Jones and senior fullback Kendrique Nocks.
The 210-pound Nocks and 155-pound Jones have made for an effective one-two punch, with both players possessing big play ability and showing it off with several long touchdown runs through the first nine games of the season.
At 6-foot-3, 185-pounds, senior quarterback Brady Bowden adds an extra element to the offense through the air. His favorite target has proved to be senior wide receiver Max Tolson, who at 6-feet, 160-pounds, has been a threat on the outside and no stranger to the deep ball.
Look for IR senior cornerback Gerald Foreman and freshman cornerback Kevin Custis to key on Tolson throughout Friday’s game, with senior Jared Arlett keeping a watchful eye on Tolson on passing downs.
In the trenches, First Team All-Conference lineman Myles Vernet and Zach Kuhns anchor a veteran offensive line, with First Team All-Conference DT John Morris as the Knight’s primary force on defense.
Morris should garner some added attention from the Indians own veteran offensive line, which could again be without IR junior center Michael Corcoran after Corcoran was sidelined for last week’s game.
Expect junior lineman Collin Donaway to get the start at center should that again be the case come game time.
The banged-up depth chart won’t do the Indians any favors as they look to shake off Friday’s performance and send out their seniors with a win.
They’ll likely rely on the success of the run game from Foreman and senior running back George Martin, who needs only 27-yards to become the teams first 1,000-yard rusher since Sturgis in 2013.
Sophomore FB/LB Jacob Anderson could be a factor on special teams as he has been all season, returning his second opening kick off for a touchdown last week against Lake Forest.
This will be the final game for 10 IR seniors, including Martin, Foreman, Arlett, linebackers Zion Howard, Joey Ciriello, and Gianni Gottschalk, DE/OT Griffin McCormick, and lineman Michael Cedano, Jordan Mears and Jason McKenna.
Last season, the Golden Knights pulled off a 48-14 win at Indian River.
The game is set to get underway at Sussex Central High School on Friday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m.