Friday night’s game against the Providence Panthers got off to a quiet start. After each team had the ball on offense, neither could score. Independence was on the board first when RB Isiah Robinson ran for a 13-yard score with 7:26 to go in the first quarter. Robinson’s run capped off a 35-yard drive by the Patriot offense and put Independence up 7-0.
Senior LB Travis Brister got his first pick of the year on the next possession by Providence.
“I was in man coverage, jammed the receiver to the outside, and read the QB’s eyes. It felt amazing and all the hard work was worth it,” said Brister about his interception.
This put the Patriots on the 17-yard line of the Panthers. It took Robinson and his offensive teammates less than a minute to score again on a four-play drive into the end zone. Robinson ran the ball three yards to get the second score of the night.
With six minutes to go in the first quarter, Independence led Providence by a score of 14-0. About two minutes later, the Patriots struck again for another score, but this time it was the defense contributing. Sophomore LB Tony Worthy intercepted a bad option pass from the Panther QB and ran it 31 yards for a Patriot TD. Providence was able to get on the scoreboard with a 33-yard field goal attempt with eight minutes to go in the second quarter, 21-3 Independence.
Patriot QB Jason Connella was the next Patriot to score as he faked an option pass and ran it 11 yards into the end zone for the score with 34 seconds left in the first half, 28-3 Independence.
Panthers change plan
Early in the third quarter, it appeared the Panther offense changed its game plan and it began to give the Patriots some problems on defense. Providence came out with a short passing attack, featuring several screen passes. The Panthers marched down the field, found themselves inside the Independence 10-yard line and threatening to score. This was until DB Deion Washington intercepted a pass from Providence QB Austin Proehl.
During the Patriot offensive possession, they found themselves in a key fourth down situation and pulled out a unique play to convert the first down. It appeared that Independence was go- ing to punt the ball away, but DB Jack Tocho had a different idea. Connella took the long snap, faked the punt and gave it to Tocho who gained enough yards on his run to get the first down. On the next play, wide out Dequan Barnes showed off his best dance moves as he stutter stepped to miss a tackle after pull- ing down a 70-yard reception from Connella and taking it to the house for Independence. The extra point was no good and Indy lead 34-3 with six minutes to go in the third quarter. Providence was able to get on the board one more time with about two minutes to go in the game. Panther QB Proehl threw a 19-yard TD pass to James Haigh making the final score 34-10 Independence.
Four DB interceptions
The Patriot defense secondary made four huge plays Friday night. The defensive backs made four interceptions out of a total five turnovers that Indy forced Providence to make during the game. Brister, Tocho, Adonis Alexander, and Washington were responsible for reading the plays called by Proehl and being in the right place at the right time.
“We struggled in the be- ginning of the season, but the coaches kept telling us that things will get better. I want to give Coach Jeff a shout out,” said Tocho of his and his teammates play over the season so far.
Should be able to run
“We played awful and without the turnovers that’s a game we would not win,” said Geiler of his team performance on Friday against Providence. Geiler felt his offense had a bad week in practice and their play Friday night showed that. Geiler was going to fix his offense’s lack of focus by bringing them in the morning after the game to begin preparing for Coach White and his South Meck Sabres.
“We should be able to run the ball behind our O- line but can’t,” said Geiler in his disappointment of the play by the offense.
Independence (6-1, 3-0 SW4A) at South Meck (1-6, 0-3 SW4A) Friday, 7 pm
The Patriots will travel to Sabre territory as they square off against South Meck this Friday. Indy is beginning to hit stride while South has struggled to find its, but in a conference as competitive as the SW you can’t take any team for granted. The conference has won nine of the last 12 state championships. Independence will need RB Robinson to have a better performance against South than he did facing Providence. The passing attack is there with several established receivers and some new ones seeing action over the last few weeks. South Meck will look to QB Alex Adams to connect with CJ Thompson in the air and Nakyree Stephens will carry the ball on the ground for the Sabres. Independence will also need to watch out for South freshman Zack Gilbert. Gilbert stands 6’2 and weighs 220 pounds. He plays defensive end and tight end.