By EMILY R. WEST Photos by DOUG HOSLER
While the intensity for the cross-county game between Independence and Summit High Schools remained strong, the Eagles swept in Friday night to win the Border Battle.
Indy (5-0) is now on a 20-game win streak after a 35-14 victory at Summit (3-2). The string of success trickling in from last season shone on the field during this mid-season game.
“Offensively we are still going through some growing pains, but I am proud of our defense,” Eagles head coach Scott Blade said. “They are keeping us in it, and keeping us going. We are glad we made it to this point in the season where we got a bye week, and a time to get healthy.”
“But the [winning streak] becomes heavy on the shoulder. The kids know the expectations are real high, and we are trying to fill some big shoes. But we are just trying to get better.”
Indy demonstrated its dominance on the first drive of the game. Quarterback Brandon Hines connected with Landon Guidry for a 24-yard touchdown in the first three minutes. Later in the quarter, Hines threw a 10-yard touchdown strike to Kendrell Scurry for a 14-0 advantage.
Hines found T.J. Sheffield on an 18-yard touchdown to increase the lead to 21 just over four minutes into the second quarter.
“The offensive line is busting their tails,” Blade said. “We have a lot of guys quietly doing their jobs very well.”
But Summit showed some fight, capitalizing on an Indy turnover to score on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Michael Zakrzewski to Dalton Fisher with one second left in the first half.
Both teams looked sluggish coming back on the field for the third quarter, neither posting any points on the scoreboard.
Summit cut Indy’s lead to 21-14 with three minutes left in the game on a 50-yard touchdown strike from Zakrzewski to Tai Carter.
“We had to have more of the passing game tonight,” Spartan head coach Brian Coleman said. “A team like that is going to shut down the run game. We are going to have to the ability to throw it around a little bit.”
Indy made the most of the final three minutes of the game, as Landon Guidry scored on a 15-yard run and Troy Henderson scored on a 5-yard rush.
“The kids kept fighting, and they fought hard,” Coleman said. “Against a good team, a great team like that on a winning streak, they are winning for a reason. We can’t make that many mistakes or give up big plays. There are a lot of things we need to work on.”