Offensively speaking, the Indian River High School football team could not have played a worse game last Friday, Oct. 30, against visiting Laurel.
The Indians ran 43 plays and managed just 29 yards of total offense.
The Bulldogs scored a touchdown in the first quarter on a 30-yard run by Jaden Snyder and never looked back from there, en route to a 35-0 whitewash of the Indians.
Laurel was presented with several short fields during the course of the game, due to the Indians’ inefficiency on offense and another three turnovers that led to 21 Bulldog points.
“The offense gave the defense and special teams bad field position,” said IR head coach Phillip Townsend. “You take away the busted plays for them, and it’s a bit of a different game. We get the interception,” he said of the pick by Evan Coy in the second quarter, “and then we fumble ball back to them. It was a huge momentum shift.”
The fumble back to Laurel allowed the guests to go back down the field, with Kylie Wilson barreling in from 4 yards out for the score.
On the ensuing possession, IR was moving the ball with hopes of putting some points on the board before the half, but to no avail. In fact, the Indians turned the ball back over to Laurel with just one second left before the intermission.
During that one second, sophomore quarterback Kaden Shockley shifted and moved around IR defenders for 38 yards, into the end zone for the 21-0 lead into the half.
“When your defense is on the field all night, it’s tough for them,” Townsend continued. “It’s a short week,” he said of the week following the loss, “and we get to put this behind us quickly … so that’s good. We need to clean some things up offensively, obviously, and we need to simplify things for the guys.
“The good thing is the kids are positive and upbeat. We had a good practice,” he added of Monday’s practice, “and they know we have work to do. We’ll continue to grow from it all. We gotta make do with what we have, and continue to work on keeping guys healthy — just looking forward to Poly this week, and trying to get back onto the winning side.”
Laurel picked off a pair of Tyler Bowen passes in the second half, and they returned both for touchdowns, the first one coming in the third quarter, with Trevor Collins covering 37 yards for the score. The final touchdown of the night came in the fourth quarter, when Javier White snatched the Bowen pass and returned it 26 yards to paydirt.
Place-kicker Mike Gonzalez-Perez converted all five of his extra-point tries for the Bulldogs.
Junior Dalton Hall led the Indians with 33 yards on the ground on 12 carries, with a fumble, and sophomore Max Curcio was the only other IR runner with positive yards on the night, with eight stripes on three totes.
Bowen connected on just 3 of 12 passes, for 37 yards and the two picks, with all three completions going to senior receiver Lucas Weber.
Ashton Stephens led the IR defense with six tackles, including a sack. Hayden Hall made five stops, with Coy picking up two tackles and the interception. Weber and Wesley Brockson each were credited with four tackles. Junior Laron Horsey had the other turnover for the IR defense, falling on a Laurel fumble.
The Bulldogs finished the contest with 205 yards of total offense on 37 plays, with 188 of those yards coming on the ground. Stockley was 1-for-4 on his pass attempts, for 17 yards and an interception.
The Indians will travel to Polytech on Friday, Nov. 6, for a game against the Panthers. Poly is 0-1 on the season after their season-opening 21-7 loss to Tower Hill back on Oct. 24. Their game with Sussex Tech was canceled last week due to the Ravens having an issue with positive COVID-19 test results on the team.