Indy wins close first round game, gets rematch with Butler

Friday, November 2, the Independence football team got their wish by narrowly beating NW Guilford in an offensive shootout at home. The win helped set up a rematch of the last regular season game, Butler vs Independence.

NW came in with a loaded running game. The Vikings of NW won the toss but deferred the kick to Indy. On their first posses- sion, Indy could not score after gaining a first down on a 12-yard reception from Kelvin Hopkins to Workpeh Kofa, and Jason Connella punted the ball away. It took NWG only eight plays to score when QB Andrew Ritz ran it on the keeper play to put the Vikings up 7-0 at the seven minutes and 43 second mark in the first quarter.

Workpeh Kofa would bring the ball out to the Indy 27 yard line on the kick return. It took Indy five minutes and 15 seconds to cap off an 11-play drive when RB Isiah Robinson would run two yards for the patriot score, 7 to 7.

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Independence holds Butler to second lowest point total of the season

Last Friday, the top two teams in the SW4A conference met for the conference championship, Independence vs Butler at Memorial Stadium. It was a perfect fall night for what turned out to be a great game between two good teams.

Butler deferred the choice, and the game began with the bulldogs kicking to Independence. Both teams struggled during the first quarter. Butler WR Uriah Lemay fumbled the ball, and the Patriots recovered on their own 43-yard line.

About four minutes later, Butler attempted a trick double pass play that brought the ball deep into Indy territory, but was called back due to an illegal forward pass. Independence turned over the ball twice after going for it on fourth down and short possessions during the first quarter.

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Order of the Patriot inducts new members

From left: Order of the Patriot co-faculty advisor Tamara Babulski, principal Amy Dellinger, and new members Terhass Yosief, Grace Craft, Danielle Castelucci, and Jesse Parker. Not pictured are new member Dianne Spence and co-faculty advisor Emily Williams

At a ceremony Wednesday, October 24, five student and honorary members were inducted into the Order of the Patriot at Independence High School.

The Order of the Patriot is an honor organization that recognizes individuals that have excelled in leadership, service, and character, founded by Independence’s first principal Samuel Haywood in 1966.

The new student inductees are Terhass Yosief, Grace Craft, and Danielle Castelucci; honorary inductees are Jesse Parker and Dianne Spence.

The program included an opening and explanation by current Order of the Patriot members Ivan Blair and Kathia Toledo, presentation of the new inductees, and closing statements by principal Amy Dellinger.

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Independence outlasts Rocky River in Mint Hill football showdown

The Independence Patriots and the Rocky River Ravens faced off on Friday for an important 4A Southwestern Conference game. The Patriots came into the game with an overall record of 7-1 and 4-0 in conference. The home-standing Ravens were 6-2 and 3-1. Both teams appear headed for the playoffs, and this game would play a part in future playoff match ups.

This game was a back and forth affair between two evenly matched teams.

Independence kicked off and the game was on. After a first down, Ravens senior quarterback Andre Rice attempted his first pass. The pass was promptly picked off by the Patriots’ sophomore defensive back Cordell McMurray who returned it to the Rocky River 33 yard line.

The Patriots wasted no time taking advantage of the sudden change of possession. On the first play senior quarterback Jason Connella connected with wide receiver Jamar Jenkins, only a sophomore, on a deep pass down the right sideline for a gain of 29 yards.

From four yards out, the Patriots were able to pound the ball into the end zone. Connella scored the touchdown on a quarterback sneak. The extra point was blocked but the Patriots led early 6-0. The teams exchanged punts until the Ravens offense exploded. After a first down, senior running back James House burst through a big hole on the left side and juked his way through the Patriots’ secondary for a 41 yard touchdown run. The extra point was missed and the game was tied 6-6.

The excitement in the first quarter was far from over. After the Ravens’ kickoff, Connella hit Patriots’ senior wide receiver Dequan Barnes on a 65-yard bomb. Barnes had gotten wide open behind the Ravens’ secondary and Connella hit him in stride for the score.

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Independence students compete to feed the hungry

This fall, the Academy of International Studies at Independence High School is competing to feed the hungry.

The competition is the Student Hunger Drive of the Carolinas, a competition among more than 20 schools to donate food to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

This is Independence’s first year competing in the hunger drive, which started in 2010 with 12 schools, but has since grown, serving Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Lancaster, and surrounding counties.

Syndie Fleener is director of AIS at Independence, a school within a school that focuses on global education, a part of that being community service and this year, the hunger drive.

“This whole hunger drive is so fantastic,” Fleener said. “To see these teenagers get so involved in this.”

The school that donates the most will receive $2,500, and the runner-up $1,000. Other awards are given for most improved and student MVP, and each school that donates 5,000 pounds is given a $200 cash prize.

To date, the competition has donated 150,000 pounds of food in its two-year history, and last year, Ardrey Kell won the competition, donating 18,000 pounds. The competition kicked off with a talent show at Second Harvest, with hundreds of students attending and watching the other schools perform.

“It was fantastic to see hundreds of kids at the Second Harvest Food Bank—teenagers you know, really caring about the community,” Fleener said.

The competition lasts until November 14, when all the food will be weighed, and the winners announced. To date, Fleener says Independence hasn’t weighed their donations, but they’ve got 10 boxes of food, and the barrels that they use for donating are already full again.

“The kids have been wonderful,” Fleener said. “They’ve gone out into their communities and asked for donations—we have gotten so many donations. So far, it’s been really a big success.”

To donate, bring food to Independence High School anytime, preferably canned goods, or send the food in with a student.

To stay up to date on the hunger drive, follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hungerdrivecarolina.

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Barnes acts as ‘home wrecker’ during Homecoming game

Isiah Robinson returns the opening kickoff.

Friday nights’ game between Independence and the host South Meck Sabres took a while to get action going on either side of the ball. Both teams went scoreless in the first quarter. It was not seconds into the second quarter when, Patriots QB Jason Connella connected with his favorite wide out, Dequan Barnes for an 18 yard touchdown catch. Indy went up first, seven to zero at 11:09 left in the second quarter. About three minutes later, Connella kept the ball and ran it 16 yards for the second score of the night for Indy. The extra point was good, and the Patriots were up 14-0 with 8:08 minutes left in the first half.

Defense makes big plays

Senior Jack Tocho made some big plays in the next possession of the ball by South. Tocho made an open field tackle that prevented the Sabres from scoring and also intercepted a pass in the end zone to stop South as they marched down the field into Indy territory.

Getting looks

Barnes would get one more look from Conella before the end of the half. This time, he caught a five yard TD pass with 19 seconds to go before the half. The extra point was no good but Indy led 20-0 at halftime. It would take Independence almost five minutes before they were able to score in the third quarter. Connella looked Barnes’ way again and threw him a 65-yard TD pass. The score is: Indy 27, South Meck 0. Almost four minutes later the Connella-Barnes duo connected again, this time with 29-yard TD pass in the third quarter. The Patriot defense had two more big plays during the next two possessions of the ball by South. Defensive back Deion Washington saved an open field TD run by bringing down the Sabre ball carrier, stopping him on the Independence 14 yard line. Senior LB Chris Turpin put an end to the Sabre drive when he intercepted a pass.

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