In­di­ans’ fi­nal drive falls short in nar­row loss to Mariners


Spe­cial to the Whig

There has been some­thing dif­fer­ent in the way North East has car­ried it­self this sea­son.

Al­though their play on the field has yet to be re­flected in the win col­umn, the In­di­ans have fought back and re­sponded to ad­ver­sity in each of their first two Susque­hanna Divi­sion con­tests— an ac­tion that pro­vided them


the chance to tie the game in the fi­nal min­utes against Jop­pa­towne on Fri­day.

Un­for­tu­nately for North East, it was un­able to punch the ball across the goal line for the game-ty­ing touch­down, as it turned the ball over on downs in the fi­nal minute to fall to the vis­it­ing Mariners 20-12.

“It was a lot film, a lot of study­ing the scouting re­ports and play­ing with heart. Last year, that’s not how we played. This year we’re play­ing with more heart than we ever had, and we’re re­ally un­der­stand­ing the game of foot­ball a lot bet­ter,” In­di­ans line­backer Gabe Goad said.“We’re not giv­ing up. Last year, we hung our heads when we got down 7-0. We were just giv­ing up. This year, we we’re fight­ing to the end.”

Jop­pa­towne (1-4 over­all, 1-1 divi- sion) scored first with 1:07 re­main­ing in the first quar­ter af­ter Thomas Micha­lik con­nected with tight end Jor­dan Meads on fourth-and-7 for a 21-yard touch­down.

The score re­mained 6-0 un­til the open­ing drive of the sec­ond half when the In­di­ans drove 61 yards in 10 plays, cul­mi­nat­ing in a 1-yard Tay­lor Danglade touch­down run to tie the game with 6:35 left in the third.

North East (0-4, 0-2) then took the lead on its next of­fen­sive pos­ses­sion when Jalen Giles took a hand­off 23 yards for a touch­down.

The score had been set up one play ear­lier when Danglade broke free for a 20-yard run on a fake punt.

The Mariners tied the game, 1212, in the fourth quar­ter when Mi- cha­lik passed it to Tyriq Pick­ney on fourth-and-2 for a 12-yard touch­down. The vis­i­tors then went up by 2 when Aaron John­son caught a pass for a 2-point con­ver­sion on the en­su­ing fake ex­tra point.

Af­ter turn­ing the ball over on downs with 2:10 left in the fourth quar­ter, Jop­pa­towne gained 49 yards on a run by David Free­man. In­di­ans coach Chris Sch­le­ich then elected to al­low the Mariners to score on an 18-yard touch­down run by Micha­lik to give his team a bet­ter chance to win in case they stopped the en­su­ing ex­tra-point at­tempt, which they did.

A strong kick-off re­turn by Giles gave North East the ball at its 45 with 1:18 left, but a short run, two in­com­ple­tions and a bad snap on fourth down ended the In­di­ans’ drive and gave Jop­pa­towne the vic­tory.

De­spite the loss, the way North East con­tin­ued to fight de­spite the pro­gram’s youth move­ment has given Sch­le­ich hope the long re­build­ing process will be pro­duc­tive.

“I’m go­ing to keep preach­ing that we are very young. We have two fresh­men start­ing out here, lots of sopho­mores. No. 3 [Giles] is a sopho­more. Next year, we’re re­turn­ing 90 per­cent of this team and a very good ju­nior var­sity that’s grow­ing. I think that if we put that to­gether, the fu­ture is bright here,” Sch­le­ich said. “It’s part of the re­build­ing process. It takes time, and you can see the kids play­ing harder. I love th­ese kids. I love what we’re do­ing. I love the com­mu­nity. We just need a break. It’ll come.”

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