After a five-game road stretch, the junior varsity Patriots came home on Wednesday and kept their slate clean with a 28-14 victory over East Mecklenburg in a Southwestern 4A Conference game.
The recent success of the Independence JV football program has been built on a total team effort by both players and coaches. Head football coach Mike Natoli and junior varsity coach Brad Van Horn and all the assistants work hand in hand to prepare the varsity and junior varsity players each week. Coach Van Horn said, “When we were first hired one of our main focuses was to really pour into these JVs. There’s not a lot of emphasis placed on junior varsity programs. We understand they are our future and we want them to get the best of everything. You can’t have a program without building for the future. These guys are our future, and they are important to us, and I think it shows on the field. I don’t think we are more talented than any other programs. We just try to out work them.”
East Mecklenburg jumped out to an early 6-0 lead on a ten yard touchdown run with 4:05 remaining in the first quarter.
However after taking the ensuing kickoff, Indy’s first play was a 59 yard touchdown pass from Davyne Simpson to Shai Wheeler. As Indy lined up for the two point conversion, Davion Nelson running behind his offensive line found his way into the end zone to make the score 8-6 with 3:17 left to play in the first quarter.
In the second quarter Nelson hit a big hole in the offensive line and went 43 yards for the score. Again Indy went for the two point conversion, but the run failed giving Indy the lead 14-6 with 3:02 remaining in the first half.
At the start of the second half, Indy received the opening kickoff and drove the ball down the field to East Mecklenburg’s 30 yard line. Once again Nelson hit a big opening and ran 30 yards for his second touchdown. The two point conversion was no good as Indy increased its lead 20-6 with 4:22 left in the third quarter.
With 4:28 remaining in the game, East Mecklenburg took over on their own 15 yard line after a missed field goal attempt by the Patriots. On East Mecklenburg’s second play the Eagles hit a wide open receiver for a 70 yard touchdown pass. The two point try was good pulling the Eagles within six at 20-14 with 3:15 left in the game.East Mecklenburg attempted an onside kick that was recovered by the Patriots on their own 46 yard line.
With a 1:59 remaining, Wheeler went around the right end and ran for a 57 yard touchdown. On the two point try, Simpson found the end zone making the score 28-14.
After the kickoff, the Eagles took over on their own 44 yard line. Indy’s defense gave up no yardage and sacked the Eagles’ quarterback putting an end to the possession.
The Patriots took over on downs on East Mecklenburg’s 28 yard line with 1:04 remaining to play.
Coach Van Horn called for victory formation and after Simpaon took two knees, the game ended with Indy recording its sixth straight victory 28-14.
Next Thursday the junior varsity will be at home against Porter Ridge. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.