Indians can’t find scoreboard in loss to Warriors
Special to the Whig
— Sometimes it’s all about what the casual observer may not see.
North East’s first-year head coach Chris Schleich beamed with pride about his players minutes after their season- opening, 38-0 loss to Havre de Grace at home Friday night. He preached a changed in intensity during the preseason, and despite the final score, he said that’s exactly what his kids displayed.
“Our kids took a step forward,” he said. “Our program’s been laughed at and it’s been rough for years, but I think Havre de Grace had to earn everything they got tonight. Our kids should walk off the field with pride because we fought hard.”
The Indians (0-1), who went winless in 2015, definitely endured some growing pains, sparring against a Warriors team that reached the 1A state finals a year ago. Havre de Grace took advantage of favorable field position throughout the game and scored 17 of its 38 points in the first quarter.
North East managed just three first downs in the game and 16 yards of total offense.
“The kids haven’t been taught a quarter set, so it’s something new to them, “Schleich said. “We stopped them on four-and-out and got
some good goal-line sets. It was just our time of possession, and we couldn’t get our running attack moving very well.” Though it sacked him twice in the first half, the Indian defense struggled to contain Warriors senior quarterback Mike Flosser, who scrambled all over the field to the tune of 102 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He also added two scores through the air. Junior running back Alex Cardwell complimented his signal caller with 103 yards rushing on nine carries.
“Mike’s a great athlete and he’s a versatile guy,” Havre de Grace head coach Brian Ebehardt said. “We hope he continues doing that.”
After North East went threeand-out to start the contest, Warriors kicker Clay Harris put his team on the board with a 21-yard field goal. Havre de Grace scored on three of its next four drives and held a 24-0 lead at halftime. Flosser slammed the final nail in the coffin on the second play of the third quarter, waiting for a crease to open up and then sprinting down the middle of the field for a 49-yard trek to the house.
“That was actually a play we developed at halftime because of [North East’s] rotation over, but it was amazing blocking up front and that sold everything,” Flosser said.
Tempers flared a few minutes later, resulting in a pair of player ejections on both sides. Both coaches hoped that was the first and only such occurence in 2016.
“We’re a really young team and we’ve got some growing up to do,” said Ebehardt, referring to several key starters from last year’s team who graduated. “We’ve got some guys that are going to have to learn to take the responsibility of football on their shoulders. The scoreboard was positive for us, but we do have some discipline things we need to clean up on the field.”
The Indians continue their tough stretch of games to open the season, hitting the road next week to face Aberdeen, while Havre de Grace (0-1) will host Joppatowne in its home opener.
Schleich said he is looking forward to watching his play- ers continue to grow during the season.
“We’re in completely new systems on both sides of the ball and our kids have gone through a major learning process,” he said. “You could see the difference tonight on a few things. We’re a young team. We only start three or four seniors, and that makes a big difference in a game like this. Once the kids pick up on the systems, they’ll get faster. I think we can win some games this year.”