Scottsburg Warrior football came off of a 31 year hiatus Friday night with a 12-0 win against Switzerland County. Hundreds of students and community members gathered to see the team “Plant the Spear.” A cannon fired as the players took the field. There was wild applause and then students and parents alike turned their arms into tomahawks, chopping in a rhythm with the Band of Warriors. Rain and bad weather couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm.
Switzerland County started with the ball, but an early sack-fumble by Tristan McKinney allowed the Warriors’ offense to take the field. On the first offensive play in over three decades, #40 Ethan Richey ran the ball into the end zone for six points. The crowd exploded.
“The fast start was everything on a sloppy field,” said Head Coach Kyle Mullins. “I was just thinking ‘we are going to win the first home opener in 31 years with that type of start.’”
“I laughed when Richey scored because I told coach beforehand in the locker room the play that was gonna score it. It was an overwhelming feeling. I know that touchdown meant a lot to the community and a lot to the team,” said Ben Bennington, the team’s linebacker coach.
“For the first play to be a touchdown was unreal. The field got so loud I couldn’t even hear myself think. That touchdown was the best way to get Scottsburg football going again!” said Brandon Boswell, pep club president and leader of the cheer block.
As the game went on, the Warriors’ defense proved to be quite dominant. They forced three fumbles and allowed Switzerland County to gain positive yards on only two plays the entire game.
Offensively, the team faltered in the second half. After a TD by Myers in the second quarter, the game went scoreless until it was ended halfway through the fourth quarter due to encroaching storms.
“I thought defensively we did really well. Obviously it was muddy so the offense wasn’t going on either side, but we locked it up with our defense,” said Zach Hoard, one of the team’s captains and a defensive back.
“For our first game, I think we did great. At the end of the game, the scoreboard said 12-0 and that’s really all that matters,” said Quarterback Bradley Whitler.
For Coach Mullins, the most exciting part of the game was what was happening off of the field.
“I most enjoyed having the opportunity for our young men to perform for the community. The atmosphere was electric. I would love to see crowds that size and larger at every one of our games. I was very proud of the student section, band, cheerleaders, and fans,” said Mullins.
Josh Mihalik echoed the Coach’s feelings on the community reaction.
“It was amazing. It was overwhelming. It was actually pretty terrifying. The whole game was just so exciting, it went by like a blur,” said Mihalik.
The Band of Warriors took the field at halftime to provide entertainment by performing their 2014 show “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.” Mickey Hall, the percussion section leader, summed up how they felt about their first football performance in recent memory.
“The game was a ton of fun. Taking the field in front of that big crowd was great, and getting to show my classmates and the community what we have been working on was really cool,” said Hall.
Players from years gone by were present to offer support for the new team. Coach Sam Chattin and several of the players from the 1971 team were applauded at halftime. After the third quarter, players from the 1983 team were given applause before their immediate successors, the 2014 team, took the field to finish the game.
Despite the excitement surrounding the opener, coaches and players for the warriors’ are already focusing on what they need to work on to make improvements.
“We need to have a seamless snap exchange. We have to allow Bradley Whiter more time to operate in the backfield. We have to fix our FG/PAT team as well. There was no reason for missing two extra points,” said Coach Mullins.
“Overall, I’m pleased. This was the first time in 31 years we’ve had a game situation. After every game, you’ve got something you can work on. We’ve got a lot of things to figure out,” said Coach Bennington.
The Warriors’ play at Paoli on Monday, Sept. 1 at Paoli and at Providence on Sept. 8. They will return home to play Salem on Sept. 15.
AS SEEN IN THE SCOTT COUNTY GIVEAWAY