Sussex Central’s junior varsity football team earned the cross-town bragging rights after beating Indian River 32-6 on Sept. 19.
“Not many freshman or sophomores get a chance to play on Friday nights,” said Head Coach Jim Bunting, “and when these guys get a chance to play on Mondays, it’s their time to perform. And this game against Central was no indication of what that team is capable of.”
Assistant Coach Jeff Windish said that his team assumed that they would win and was relatively relaxed despite playing in a rivalry game.
“We came out flat offensively and defensively, and the coaching staff commented that if you can’t get pumped up for a rival then you can’t get pumped up,” said Windish.
The wind was taken out of the Indians’ sails early in the first quarter on an 8-yard touchdown scamper. Sussex Central capped the drive on one of three James Showell two-point conversions.
Sussex Central earned 109 yards on the ground on 14 carries.
“We didn’t wrap up,” said Windish. “We let 3-yard carries turn into 10-yard gains.”
An Indian fumble on their first possession set up the Knights for another quick strike. Quarterback D.J. Long and Brian Kindley combined for a paltry 4-10 passing effort but completed three of those passes for touchdowns.
The Knights connected on passes of 26, 28, 30 and 38, which Indian River had no answer for.
“We made some changes but they made the right adjustments,” said Windish.
Indian River was down 24-0 at halftime but they would regain some pride in the second half.
Indian quarterback Trevor Abbott led his team on an 11-play scoring drive that was highlighted by tight end Zack Kmetz catching three of his four passes on the drive for 33 of his 42 yards.
A busted toss-sweep play turned into a 10-yard touchdown pass to Darjuan Pitts. Abbott tossed Pitts the ball on a lateral, and from there he cut against the grain and down the left side of the field to cut the lead to 24-6.
After a thoughtful and successful drive, Indian River kept the pressure on and recovered an on-side kick but they couldn’t make up the ground.
Indian River would produce drives of 11, 8, 8 and 7 but couldn’t capitalize when necessary. Muffed quarterback exchanges and limited running room kept Indian River at arm’s length, according to Windish.
“Trevor is still learning to make his reads, but he saw a lot of pressure,” explained Windish. “They were blitzing every hole and he didn’t have much time.”
Windish noted that Sussex Central was one of the better teams that they will face all season. But only in their third game, Indian River is already looking for revenge.
“We’ll get to play them again at the end of the season,” said Windish.