Sussex County Delaware
Indians Fall to
Nandua in Opener
Indian River Indians
2002 Game by Game ...

Friday, Sept. 6, 2002
Nandua (Va.) 14, Indian River 7

Photos: Indian River quarterback Ryan Warner (top) and head coach Jim Bunting (below)

The Indian River High School football team's losing streak continued, but head coach Jim Bunting believes it can take something from its 14-7 nonconference loss to visiting Nandua (Va.) that will help it when the Henlopen Conference Southern Division season rolls around next month.

Indian River quarterback Ryan WarnerMissed opportunities within Nandua's 7-yard-line and a couple of turnovers thwarted the Indians, who have lost 13 straight games dating back to the 2000 season.

But Bunting, whose program's last win was 35-17 over Seaford on Nov. 3, 2000, can live with the miscues that cost his team against a Nandua club that went 6-4 last year.

"I don't like to lose, but to be honest with you, I didn't know what to say to them because I thought they played pretty darned well," said Bunting. "It was bittersweet. I thought we played some hard football. I thought what we lacked last year as far as leadership certainly showed. I thought what we lacked in conditioning last year certainly showed. We made mistakes that can be easily fixed, and we played against a team that was pretty darned good."

Bunting said suggestions that he dropped Cape Henlopen and Sussex Tech from the Indians' schedule to face Nandua and Washington (Md.) in the hopes of getting an easy win should have been dis-spelled by Nandua's performance.

"This Nandua was no upstart team," said Bunting. "People say we're playing the Gumboro School for the Blind and just trying to pick up nice wins, but these kids (Nandua) went 6-4 last year. It seems like I'm repeating myself, but if you beat someone a gazillion to nothing, what have you gained? If we played a powderpuff group, they (Indians) would have thought they were world-beaters, but then they have to go against Sussex Central next week. I'm not taking a back door to anything and I resent when some people say that's what we're trying to do."

Indian River head coach Jim BuntingIndian River ran just seven plays in the second period and fell behind 14-0 in the third quarter before closing the gap on a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Warner to end Paul Macielag. Warner completed 5 of 13 passes for 90 yards. He threw one interception.

"I won't brag on 5 for 13," Bunting said, "but when you've got guys in your face, I thought Ryan did well under the pressure."

Bunting was particularly pleased with the performance of some of his younger players and reserves. He singled out reserve fullback Therman Hagans, who proved himself at the position after only practicing there for an hour this week, and sophomore cornerbacks Jerry Meiklejohn, Josh Long and Shawn Sadowy.

"Therman stepped it up and his stock went up at fullback," said Bunting. "He brings another gear. We wanted tosee what he would do. What he does is natural. We've just got to teach him the plays.

"Jerry, Josh and Shawn all did a good job at corner," said Bunting. "I know we'll have to double up on (Andrew) Weatherly because if (David) Pusey (Sussex Central's dangerous passing tandem) can get the ball to him, he'll catch it. We're willing to bend, but we just can't break. We know we'll give up some big plays, but our deal is not giving up more than we can afford to to compete."

The Indians were led defensively by linebacker Chris White's 9 tackles, including 4 solo tackles. Defensive end Mike Whetstone registered 6 tackles and a fumble recovery and linebackers D.J. Singleterry and Tommy Spencer recorded 5 and 6 tackles, respectively. Singleterry also had a sack and a fumble recovery. Noseguard Hunter Holland, a 300-pound senior, contributed 3 tackles.

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