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HS football: Indian River stops Jamesville-DeWitt, 23-7


PHILADELPHIA — Indian River coach Cory Marsell didn’t mix words. He told his players point blank after Thursday night’s 23-7 Section 3 Class A football victory over visiting Jamesville-DeWitt that “you can’t be satisfied with what we did tonight. We must work even harder this week and never stop improving.’’

Marsell and his staff will have plenty of “teaching points’’ after reviewing the film of a penalty-filled crossover contest with the Red Rams.

Despite the victory, Indian River (2-0) lost three fumbles and suffered an interception. They were also whistled for 10 penalties worth 75 yards.

“We did a lot of good things, but you can’t put the ball on the ground that many times,’’ Marsell said. “The good thing was they didn’t come in the option game.’’

Fortunately, the Warriors’ defense bailed the offense out time and again, yielding only a short second-quarter touchdown, after an Indian River turnover deep in its own territory.

Jamesville-DeWitt (1-1) was limited to 23 net rushing yards on 36 attempts, and completed just one of six passes for 10 yards.

“Our goal was to hold them under 100 yards rushing and to hold No. 44 (Rasheed Baker) to under 50,’’ Indian River junior linebacker Daquan Brown said. “The key was good communication and pursuing the ball all over the field.’’

Baker was a 1,000-yard rusher last year, but managed only 25 yards on 11 carries Thursday.

“I’ll have to look at the film, but I’d say we played a heck of a defensive game,’’ Marsell said. “I know they were limited with a new quarterback, but our tackling was good and we flew to the ball all night.’’

Jamesville-DeWitt started third-string quarterback Nick Shapiro after starter Jack Brotzki went down with an injury last week, and the second-stringer was unavailable due to an injury.

Shapiro struggled against the Warriors’ speedy defense. He finished with a minus-6 yards rushing on 13 attempts, and completed just that one pass.

Said Brown: “Our mindset going in was to treat him as if he was their No. 1, and defend him like he was the first-stringer.’’

Junior quarterback Densel Barnes scored a pair of touchdowns for Indian River after opening the season with three scores last week against Oswego.

But Barnes also lost two fumbles, something he took responsibility for after the game.

“It’s on me, I can’t be doing that,’’ Barnes said. “Coach is always on me to protect the ball at all costs. The defense saved me tonight.’’

Barnes, a junior, was the Warriors’ starting wingback a year ago. But the former JV signal-caller beat out Zachary LaForest-Hurd in what Marsell termed “a heated battle’’ for the starting job in preseason camp.

“We’d love to have Denzel at wingback because he’s a true game-breaker,’’ Marsell said. “But he earned the starting (quarterback) job and has done well, except for the turnovers.’’

After a scoreless first period, Indian River finally punched in a score midway through the second quarter. Barnes snuck a yard for the touchdown and LaForest-Hurd booted the extra point.

But Barnes coughed up the ball again late in the half, and the Red Rams scored on a fourth-down, 5-yard run by Ben Honis after taking over at the IR 10.

The Warriors missed a golden opportunity for another touchdown in the final minute of the first half, and settled for a 31-yard LaForest-Hurd field goal to take a 10-7 halftime lead.

A Barnes 9-yard keeper produced the third IR touchdown on the Warriors’ first possession of the second half.

Sophomore Dustin Sharritt finished off the scoring with a 10-yard TD run with two minutes remaining.

“In my mind, that was a shutout for the defense,’’ Marsell said. “Now, we’ve got to clean up the offense to become a better team.’’

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