MINT HILL, NC – On a cool evening on the road in the Eagles Nest the Patriots arrived, charged, rumbled, tumbled, and crushed East Mecklenburg in a dominating performance. The visitors scored 8 touchdowns, accumulated 463 yards in total offense, and held the Eagles to no points. Independence size, speed, athleticism and depth proved to be too much for the Eagles to handle.
The Patriots entered the game expecting to blowout the Eagles and win big. However, in the first quarter the Eagles played competitive football and were only down 7-0. Indy QB Justin Little tossed his first of 2 interceptions to stall the Patriots first drive when Keenan Briggs intercepted a pass and returned it to the 35 yard line for a first down and good field position. However, the Patriots defense came up big to end the threat.
The offense took over on downs from their own 30 yard line, a 15 yard pass reception to Austin Cowick, then a 10 yard gain by running back Shaun Solomon, with the ball now on the Eagles 35 yard line, Solomon takes the handoff finds daylight and scores Indy’s first touchdown on a 35 yard dash to the end zone. The PAT was good by Lyric Kopera, Indy led 7-0 with just 14.6 seconds on the scoreboard clock.
Indy took complete control of this football game scoring 27 unanswered points in the second quarter putting this game completely out of reach. The Patriots scored their next touchdown with 10:03 on the clock, QB Little found William Brown wide open down the middle of the field and the quick TE who had a big night scampered untouched into the end zone. The PAT was good Indy led 14-0.
When the Indy defense made a big 3rd down stop by DT Sidiq Cabaniss-Ali forcing a punt. A blocked punt by Indy’s Kabo Canty set-up a the visitors in great field position on the Eagles 20 yard line. After a pass into the end zone was incomplete, Solomon took the handoff, bounced off one tackler, then galloped into the end zone giving Indy a 21-0 advantage.
On the next Eagles possession, after a big gainer by the Eagles Torrence Casey, the Pats Keegan Queeglay picked off a pass and returned the interception 74 yards for another Independence touchdown making the score 27-0 with 4:52 remaining in the first half.
The Indy defense held the Eagles forcing a punt, now with 2:46 remaining and the ball on the Indy 48, Little connected with Cowick for a first down. On the next play a pass completion to Javon Barber for good yardage was negated due to a holding penalty, the ball was now placed back on the Indy 49 yard line. On a second and long, Little found Barber again wide open down the middle, the sophomore WR showed some good speed and raced to pay dirt. The PAT was good by Kopera and Indy now had a commanding 34-0 halftime lead.
In the second half Indy started a drive deep inside their own territory, the Eagles Safety Takeo Massey, Jr intercepted a Little pass giving the Eagles their best scoring opportunity in the game in excellent field position. However, the Patriots defense held once again on 4 downs frustrating the Eagles faithful.
Indy’s offense came back on field and decided to grind out the run game, Sincere McIntyre from the 10 yard line rumbled out to the 15, then picked up a Patriot first down to the 33, a quick pass to Cowick for 5 yards, McIntyre to the 45 yard line, a pass play to Crowder for 7 yards to the 35, then Little found Brown once again getting himself open on a scramble, for a 35 yard touchdown making the score 40-0.
The Indy defense forced a punt giving the offense great field position on the Eagles 46 yard line. Little connected with Coleton Belcher for a big 18 yard gain to the 28 yard line, on the next play from scrimmage, Little located Barber for his second TD of the game on a nice pass, catch and run giving the Patriots a 47-0 lead after three quarters of play.
In the final quarter Indy added on to their commanding lead with 5:34 remaining in the football game when DB Warren Bryant intercepted an Eagles pass and returned it for a touchdown giving Indy a 53-0 dominating victory over a conference opponent.
Independence is now 7-1 on the season overall, and 3-1 in their conference. They will be taking on Rocky River next Friday night under the lights on the road in another conference matchup. This is an important game for the Patriots before they play their arch rivals Butler Bulldogs in the regular season finally before the playoffs begin. They should not take the 1-7 Ravens lightly as they have a solid defense, but have had a difficult time scoring points.