IR Sports Report
Injuries and turnovers have plagued the Indian River High School football team almost from Day 1 this season, and those two issues reared their ugly heads again last Saturday, Oct. 12, when the Indians dropped a 27-21 overtime contest to Laurel.
Head coach Phil Townsend may be feeling like the unluckiest coach in the state after yet another quarterback — this time Hayden Hall — fell victim to a shoulder injury that will sideline him for the remainder of the season. Add Hall to a list that now includes presumptive starter junior Tyler Bowen (who has yet to suit up following a shoulder injury suffered in baseball last spring), sophomore Reece Stone (shoulder injury) and freshman Ben Cordrey (knee injury).
“It’s tough. It really is,” Townsend admitted, of having to replace so many signal-callers. “We were just getting Hayden to a spot where is was comfortable within the offense and we were able to do some things. He was doing great and gave us a chance to win each week.”
The loss of Hall will mean that Townsend and the Indians will now turn to junior Reagan Dunn for what will likely be the remaining four games of the season. He stepped in for Hall late in the fourth quarter of last week’s game against Laurel.
The Indians have quite the daunting task ahead of them, with three of their four remaining games against teams that will likely be competing in the DIAA state playoffs in a few weeks — namely Delmar this week, then Woodbridge, and Sussex Central to wrap up the season.
Against Laurel, the Indians’ offense managed 235 yards on 58 plays, but five turnovers were just too much to overcome, especially when the Bulldogs didn’t cough it up once.
“We’ve talked about it all season long — we have to limit our mistakes and take care of the football,” Townsend said. “We weren’t able to do that, and a lot of times that is too much to recover from.”
Dalton Hall carried the ball 23 times for 51 yards, while scoring a pair of touchdowns. However, he had two fumbles. Jalen Holland-Holloway picked up 68 yards on 12 totes and scored the other IR touchdown. Nicholas Angelo had three carries for 36 yards, and Hayden Hall had 23 stripes on nine carries with a fumble before he left with the injury. He also was 4-of-7, passing the ball for 85 yards, with an interception.
The Indians were feeling good early on, having jumped out to a 14-0 lead through the first quarter and a half. Dalton Hall scored both of the early touchdowns, covering one and nine yards — the first coming with 5:52 left in the first quarter, and the second at the 6:31 mark of the second.
“We talk to the guys all the time about playing four quarters and finishing games,” continued Townsend. “We have been playing well early, and then we have a missed assignment, turnover or something. But the guys are still working hard, and they’re not quitting. We just have to continue to clean things up.”
Holland-Holloway’s touchdown came as time expired in the third quarter, and tied the game up at 21-21 when he found paydirt from 22 yards out. In addition to his contributions on the ground, Holland-Holloway also caught two passes for 56 yards. Angelo caught the other two passes for the Indians, for 29 yards.
Defensively, the Indians were led by senior Ramond Turner’s 10 total tackles. Sophomore John Williamson added nine stops to the cause, while classmate T.J. Burke chipped in seven, as did senior R.J. Rybicki. Senior T.J. Moore was credited with six stops.
Again, the Indians (1-5 overall) have quite the test this week as they host Delmar (4-2) for the annual Homecoming game. Last week, the Wildcats defeated fellow Henlopen Conference South Division foe Lake Forest, 34-6.
Indians pick up a pair of divisional wins
It was the third straight win for the IR boys’ soccer team on Monday, Oct. 14, as they defeated Henlopen Conference South Division rival Sussex Academy, 1-0, to clinch the divisional title for the 11th straight season.
Senior Jared Cordoba used his head to re-direct a shot past the Seahawks goalie off a free kick from Erick Aguilera. The win improved the Indians’ overall mark on the season to 8-1-1.
On Thursday, Oct. 10, IR had battled a testy and very chippy Delmar side en route to a 4-0 win. It was the Indians’ Senior Recognition Night.
Cordoba, Arturo Cruz, Omar Baker and Jordan Illian each scored goals for the Indians as they out-shot their guests 15-5. Junior net-minder Bastian Perry made three saves to pick up yet another shutout win. Illian, Aguilera and Eddie Mochiam were credited with assists.
With the South Division title locked up, the Indians were set to turn their sights to the remaining five games of the season, against Sussex Central on Oct. 17 (after Coastal Point press time), Sussex Tech on Oct. 21, Laurel on Oct. 24, Charter School on Oct. 26 and Delcastle on Oct. 28, before they begin their postseason run.
By Jason Feather