The best plays from Fall 2016
What… a… season.
While the 2016 fall sports calendar may not have shaken out as planned for a few teams at Indian River High School, this one has certainly been one for the record books for the Tribe.
Sudden weather lifts Tower Hill over IR in state title game
It was very much like a scene out of “Twister.”
The clouds swept over ominously during the singing of the national anthem. The winds began to gently rattle nets and backdrops during a moment of silence before the opening draw. Then, out of nowhere, the world began to howl.
By the opening whistle, all that was missing was the flying cow — although, considering the circumstances, some Indian River fans would go on to mutter something metaphorical about pigs taking flight.
Facing the wrong direction against wind gusts clocked between 30 and, in some cases, up to 50 mph to start the DIAA Division II state championship game on Saturday, Nov. 19, the Indian River High School soccer team saw their title hopes whisked away with that wind, as No. 3 Tower Hill took full advantage of the early aid and drained four first-half goals, to go on to an eventual 4-2 victory.
“There was no wind during warm-ups,” said IR head coach Steve Kilby after the game. “As soon as they blew the whistle, it started, so nobody knew what was going on at that point.”
The Slam Dunk to the Beach basketball tournament is back for the third year after its resurrection, and it’s bringing the game’s brightest future stars from across the nation with it.
The Delaware Youth Soccer Association (DYSA) announced this week that long-time Indian River High School and River Soccer Club coach Howard Gerken will be honored this January as the DYSA TOPSoccer Coach of the Year.
“Howard is a leader in every sense of the word,” said River Soccer Club President Rebecca Mais. “He does it so smoothly you don’t even know what just happened and he’s got things done. But the greatest gift of all is Howard’s real caring and love of other people.”
TOPSoccer is short for “The Outreach Program for Soccer,” a program designed for players with special needs.
Not only did Gerken help pioneer that program but also the River Soccer Club as it’s known today, holding practices at area schools before the club found its home at the River Soccer complex along Gum Road near Frankford.
IR’s Cordoba named NSCAA Regional All-American
Only three players from each region are selected by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) as All-Americans, and this year, Indian River High School senior forward Johan Cordoba is one of them.
It was a Murphy’s Law kind of night for the Indian River High School soccer team, to say the least.
While it may be a little early for our “Tribe Top Five” and all the best sports moments from fall 2016, with the Indian River High School soccer team still keeping IR fall sports alive and playing for a shot at the state title, it’s never too early for our ‘Not Top 10” and all the best worst sports moments from the past season involving a certain Coastal Point sports reporter with an inclination toward run-on sentences and Mighty Ducks references.
At Coastal Point press time on Wednesday, Nov. 16, the Indian River High School soccer team was either headed to the DIAA state championship game, or they weren’t.
After a 1-0 win over Caravel on Saturday, Nov. 12, the No. 1-seeded Indians punched their ticket to the semi-final game against No. 12 St. Georges on Wednesday — needing a win to stay alive and earn a bid and a chance at a second-straight state title.
Coming off a second-straight Henlopen Conference championship and first-round bye, the Indians took on No. 9-seeded Caravel at Milford High School during last Saturday’s quarter-final match and managed to advance with a 1-0 victory.
The game’s lone goal came in the 40th minute, when senior forward Johan Cordoba finished a chance after a corner kick from senior midfielder Edgardo Velasquez.
Headed into the semi-final game on Wednesday, St. Georges was riding the upset with tournament wins over No. 5 Archmere and No. 4 Newark Charter.
For two teams in the same school district, the Indian River and Sussex Central High School football teams are having very different years. That difference was on display when the young and rebuilding Indians took on the seasoned Golden Knights on Friday, Nov. 11, with the Knights coasting to a 54-21 victory.
“They’re having a big year. We were playing a really good team, and we knew that coming into this,” said IR head coach Phill Townsend after the game.
“The good thing is our guys never gave up. That’s the thing about this team, is they never gave up all season — they always played through the whistle. You can’t coach that.”
It was all Central early on, when after recovering the opening kickoff, senior running back John Morris punched it in from 3 yards out to seal the opening drive and put the Knights up 7-0.
‘G-Mart’ first IR player to rush for 1,000 yards since 2013
The last time an Indian River High School running back pulled it off, George Martin was a freshman, watching from the sidelines when former IR tailback KiAnté Sturgis eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark in 2013.
Coming up through the program at Selbyville Middle School, Martin had seen Sturgis and 2013 IRHS grads Aaron Moore and Marquel Knight set the standard for what’s historically been a dominant rushing program at IR, with feature backs racking up 1,000-yard seasons year in and year out.
But it wasn’t until last Friday that “G-Mart” helped restore that tradition, when he ripped off a 59-yard touchdown run against Sussex Central to become the first player to break the barrier in three seasons.
“It was actually kind of funny — after that run, I hadn’t even been thinking about 1,000 yards,” Martin said. “I think Coach [Phil] Townsend came up to me while I was on a knee on the sidelines and told me. It didn’t really set in until after the game.”
After capping the game with 17 carries for 143 yards and two touchdowns, Martin capped his senior season with a total 196 carries for 1,114 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns. He also completed three of four passes this season, for 105 yards, returned a punt 45 yards for a touchdown and hauled in three receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown, while still contributing at safety on defense.
It started out as just a fun, family-friendly way to get out and enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.
Fast-forward nine years, and upwards of 750 people turn out every Thanksgiving morning for the Fenwick Island Turkey Trot and what’s become a long-standing Fenwick Island tradition.
“People start emailing me in September,” said race director Lori Martin with a laugh, of the yearly anticipation.
“It’s definitely become a family tradition — which is what I envisioned from the beginning.”
Martin, who also runs Hip AHA Boot Camp, got the idea for that tradition while on vacation with her family in the Outer Banks. When she returned, she decided to bring the concept to Delaware, adding a few touches of her own and trying to make the concept more affordable for local families.
Haden headed for Blue-Gold All Star game
Indian River High School senior Lexi Haden has been selected to represent the Indians in this year’s Blue-Gold All Star field hockey game.
With the “fastest game on two feet” making its way through Sussex County, the Indian River School District Community Education program is offering local players a way to get involved early, with its upcoming lacrosse clinics.
While sessions for both boys and girls of all ages and skill levels will be offered by the Community Education program throughout the winter, things will get under way with the first clinic, starting Nov. 28.
Held at the G.W. Carver Academy in Frankford on Monday nights from Nov. 28 through Dec. 19, the initial clinic will be offered to girls at both the middle school and high school levels.
Former NCAA Division I standouts Kelsea Ayers and Maddy Hess will be teaming up to run the camp, helping players with passing, catching and cradling basics, stick work and advanced instruction in shooting, cutting and dodging.
Tripple Overtime: Can the NFL stop bogarting Instant Replay now because we could kind of use some for field hockey
As a journalist, you’re not allowed to have a rooting interest, specific team-wise, when you’re covering games or writing features or enduring presidential elections, or whatever else.
IR seniors bring home third HAC soccer title
Head coach Steve Kilby’s “short list” keeps getting shorter.
After checking off the first item on that list with a Henlopen Southern division championship, the Indian River High School boys’ soccer team checked off item number 2 with 3-0 win over Sussex Central in the Henlopen Conference Championship game on Monday, Nov. 7.
Despite the game’s convincing final, however, in the midst of one of their most successful seasons in recent history, the North champion Golden Knights challenged early on.
“We prepared for the pace that they play,” said Kilby of a fast-paced Sussex Central squad. “We focused on speed of play and attacking the flanks.”