After starting off their season with matchups against Maryland’s Linganore High School, Sussex Tech and Cape Henlopen, the Indian River High School football team will set their sights on the Henlopen South when they begin division play and host Seaford on Friday.
The Blue Jays are currently 1-2 on the season, coming off a 66-26 victory over St. Andrew’s School (0-2) on Friday, Sept. 23.
The win snapped a 21-game losing streak, with their last win coming against Moyer Academy, 12-6, in the kickoff for their 2014 season. Their 66-point total in the Sept. 23 game was more than the Blue Jays had managed to score in their previous 18 games combined.
It was also the first career win for second-year head coach Dwayne Henry, who took over the squad in 2015, determined to restore the program to its former glory.
This year, the Blue Jays are led by senior running back and go-to playmaker Stephon Short, who just last week ripped off a 60-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against St. Andrew’s.
Short is known for his big-play ability, also breaking a long touchdown run to the outside against the Knights, and a 58-yard run on a cutback up the middle against Cambridge SD for the Blue Jays’ only touchdown in Week 2. He doubles as a defensive back.
Under center, the Jays should see sophomore quarterback Vance Correa, who also lines up at outside linebacker on defense. The 6-foot, 140-pound Correa tossed two TD’s in a Week 1 loss to Glasgow, one from 11 yards out and the other from 26.
The Indians have their own fair share of playmakers, with running backs George Martin and Gerald Foreman healthy and ready to take a crack at the Blue Jays’ defensive line after rushing for a combined 503 yards against the top-tier trenches of Linganore and the Henlopen North.
After sorting out the depth chart during the first three weeks, in preparation for the upcoming South stretch, the Indians still don’t have a definitive answer at quarterback, which may still be the case this Friday.
Freshman Jalen Snead continues to see the start and first-half action, with junior Brandon Hoffman taking the bulk of the second-half snaps. Snead threw his first career completion to fellow freshman Kevin Custis against Cape Henlopen last week, following up with his second career completion over the middle to senior TE Gianni Gottschalk for a first down.
Hoffman has also shown flashes of efficacy under center this season, but head coach Phil Townsend maintained that the team would continue the two-quarterback system until one of them steps up to take the role.
The Blue Jays haven’t managed to dent the scoreboard against the Indians since 2009, with IR still winning that matchup 36-6. Over the last six meetings, the Indians have outscored Seaford 270-0.
Despite the past dominance, Townsend isn’t taking the matchup lightly.
“We can’t get ahead of ourselves and start thinking about Laurel or start thinking about Milford or Woodbridge. We’ve got Seaford this week,” he said. “We’ve gotta prepare like we’re playing Cape.”
Friday’s game will get under way at Indian River High School’s football stadium at 7 p.m.