Win­less In­di­ans head­ing in right di­rec­tion

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GRO­GAN

sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

— Chris Sch­le­ich was un­der­stand­ably dis­ap­pointed Fri­day night, but he si­mul­ta­ne­ously beamed with his pride.

The first-year coach of the North East foot­ball team saw his play­ers twice take a 14-point lead over Rising Sun in the first half. The In­di­ans, how­ever, were shut out in the in the sec­ond half and even­tu­ally lost the pro­gram’s 19th-straight game.

Sch­le­ich called it the most dis­ap­point­ing de­feat of his short time in North East.

“The kids are down right now, but I know they’re go­ing to come back hun­gry for more next week. I can see it in their eyes,” Sch­le­ich said af­ter­ward. “The se­niors have said to me, ‘Coach, we’ve been a joke.’ We’re not a joke. Rising Sun’s coach knows that we’re for real. Teams know that they bet­ter pre­pare for North East, they don’t just get an easy one. Our kids know that and they know that a win is com­ing. It’ll hap­pen.”

NORTH EAST

The In­di­ans have four more tries to find the win col­umn, in­clud­ing Fri­day night when Har­ford Tech pays a visit.

“I’m proud of the kids, they’re fight­ing hard ev­ery­day. Ev­ery kid has bought in and the com­mu­nity has bought in, we’ve just got to get over that hump. When you’re a los­ing pro­gram turn­ing into a com­pet­i­tive pro­gram, you have to go through baby steps to get there,” Sch­le­ich said. “We’re still go­ing through them, but next week is home­com­ing. We’ve got the throw­back uni­forms from 1988 we’re wear­ing, it’s go­ing to be cool. It’s go­ing to be a packed house, and we’re go­ing to come, put our hearts on the line and try again. We think we can win.”

The In­di­ans have been in po­si­tion to win each of their last three games. They fell by just six points, 42-36, to Pat­ter­son Mill on Sept. 23. One week later, North East had the ball with a chance to tie the score in the fi­nal minute, but wound up falling by eight points to Jop­pa­towne.

Then, this past Fri­day, the In­di­ans jumped on top of Rising Sun, 14-0, and led 28-14 at the half.

“We know we can play with any­body be­cause that team had Elk­ton down to the wire, and they’re one of the best teams in the state,” Sch­le­ich said af­ter­ward. “Look at the im­prove­ment that shows at North East right now.”

The 2015 North East squad scored just 65 points on the en­tire sea­son, a fig­ure this year’s team has al­ready ex­ceeded with four games left to play. With the points find­ing the score­board, Sch­le­ich feels that it is the op­po­site side of the ball that has held his team back so far.

“We’ve got a good, young nu­cleus of dudes grow­ing to­gether,” he said. “We’ve got a lot more points than the team last year and we’re only in Week 6. We just, de­fen­sively, we need to learn to tackle bet­ter and we need to learn to do what our schemes are bet­ter.”

Fol­low Sean Gro­gan on Twitter: @Sean_Ce­cilWhig

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

The North East foot­ball team will look to snap a 19-game los­ing streak Fri­day when it hosts Har­ford Tech.

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