Homecoming heartache

QB Jalen Snead, above, hands the ball off to RB Kevin Custis during IR’s 32-20 loss to Seaford during Homecoming week.

Special to the Coastal Point • Susan Walls

It was Friday the 13th. A steady rain pelted players and the hardy spectators who huddled to watch Indian River High School’s football team lose this year’s Homecoming game to Seaford’s Blue Jays 32-20.

Seaford freshman FB/LB Brandon Gibbs broke through Indian tackles to score the Blue Jays’ first touchdown with 3:44 minutes left on the first-quarter clock. Seaford’s conversion failed, but IR receivers fumbled the kickoff back to Seaford, who came close but couldn’t take advantage of IR’s mistake.

Seaford reigned 6-0 when the first half expired. The Blue Jays out-scored the Indians 14-12 in the third quarter. Seaford freshman HB/DB Leroy McLaughlin found a hole in the Indians’ defense, shook off several attempted tackles, and ran in Seaford’s second touchdown. That time, the point-after kick went wide, and the Blue Jays extended their lead to 12-0.

Junior quarterback Jalen Snead took a keeper across the goal line for the Indians with 4:41 minutes remaining in the third quarter. IR’s extra-point attempt went wide and they trailed 12-6.

Seaford extended their lead on their next possession, running in the 2-point conversion for a 20-6 advantage. Sophomore runningback Kevin Custis got the home crowd cheering as he scampered across the Seaford goal line, trimming the Blue Jays’ lead to 20-12 as they headed into the final quarter.

Seaford scored on their first drive of the fourth quarter but again failed to make the conversion attempt. When the Indian offense got the ball back, junior quarterback Ian Shaner took it across the goal line and followed by running in the conversion.

IR took their final possession of their game with their backs to their goal and 2:14 remaining on the clock. The Seaford defense knew the only chance IR had was a long spiraling bombing pass, and they were ready for it.

The pass was picked off by a Blue Jay who then flew over the goal line for the game’s last TD.

“Another tough night,” IR head coach Phillip Townsend said. “Again, the same thing. We came out, [Seaford] made a couple of mistakes and had two onside-kicks that they received on us. That was kind of hard to come back from those,” he explained.

“In the second half, we got the offense rolling, and it was late again. Again, there were a lot of injuries, a lot of guys missed practice. We had to sit a couple of guys out. If we could have 11 guys here all week, we can compete with anybody.

“We’ve got to play our football. Right now, we’re making too many mistakes. We’ve got a lot of young guys on the team right now. We’re just looking to get better every day.”

This Saturday, the Tribe will travel to Laurel, where they hope to muzzle the 2-4 Bulldogs. Game time is 1 p.m.