Indees fall to Highland in weather-shortened game

Defeating Highland was a difficult enough task for the Independence/Gilmanton football team. Beating Highland and the weather proved too much last Friday.

Coming off of an undefeated 2020 season and a convincing Week One win, Highland was as advertised. The Cardinals scored 22 points in the first quarter and led 28-0 with the ball in I/G territory before a flash of lightning caused the referees to delay the game. That flash was just one of many as the initial 30-minute delay was extended to the point where the rest of the game was cancelled.

For I/G, the 0-2 start comes against two teams that combined for one loss in 2020 and so far have two convincing wins to start the 2021 season. It may not get much easier this week, however, as the Indees open Dairyland Conference play with 2-0 team coming to Independence in Augusta. The Beavers are coming off of a 22-18 win in Fall Creek after beating Pittsville 28-0 in Week One. 

Next week, the Indees will play the defending Dairyland Conference champion Blair-Taylor on the road.

Highland 28 I/G 0

I/G’s offense never really got going, while Highland’s never really stopped.

The Cardinals scored on all four possessions before lightning led to the cancellation of the rest of the game. 

Their first possession came after the Indees received the opening kick, but went three-and-out. Highland started at its own 35 and gained four yards on the first play before Cal Dorota broke free for a 61-yard touchdown on the next play. Brett McGuire ran in the two-point conversion, making the score 8-0 with 9:25 left in the first quarter.

Another I/G three-and-out gave Highland the ball back at their own 40. They picked up a first down to the I/G 44 before McGuire ran for 15 yards and Dorata gained 12 to get to the I/G 17. The drive was finished through the air as Max Oleson connected with Drew Nankey for a 17-yard touchdown. The two-point run was stopped short.

I/G’s next driver never got started as a fumble on the first play gave Highland the ball back at the I/G 37.

It took just one play for the Cardinals to strike again. McGuire found the open field for a touchdown and then ran in the two-point conversion, making the score 22-0 with 4:37 left in the first quarter. 

The Indees picked up a first down on their next possession as Hunter Guenther passed to Mason Gierok for eight yards on a first down play and Connor Smieja picked up two on second to give the Indee a fresh set of downs at their own 37. The drive would stall from there, however as the Indees failed to gain another yard and punted back to Highland. 

The Indees had a chance to stop Highland on their next possession. The Cardinals faced a fourth-and-seven on the first play of the second quarter, but Dorata broke free for a 26-yard gain. McGuire later ran for five yards on third-and-one and Oleson passed to Nankey for an 11-yard touchdown on third-and-10. The two-point try was short, but the Cardinals led 28-0.

The Indees again failed to gain a yard on their next drive, punting back to Highland after three plays. 

McGuire had runs of 16 and 14 yards, carrying down to the I/G 25 before a flash of lightning ended the game.

Dorata averaged 21.6 yards per carry as he ran for 108 yards in the game. McGuire added 93 yards on seven rushes — 13.3 per carry. Not to be outdone, Oleson was perfect on the day, going four-for-four for 49 yards and two touchdowns. 

The Indees gained eight yards in the game. Smieja ran for six yards on five attempts and Guenther completed one-of-six passes for eight yards. 

                        HIG         I/G

Rushing          17/210      9/1

Passing            4/49        6/8

Total                21/259    15/9

First downs         12         1

Turnovers            0          1

Penalties           3/25       2/15



Rushing (att./yds.) — Smieja 5/6 Guenther 1/0 Kuerschner 3/-5

Receiving (rec./yds.) — Gierok 1/8

Passing (comp./att./yds.) — Guenther 1/6/8

Tackles (total/solo) — Kuerschner 6/5 Smieja 4/3 Bragger 2.5/1 Pyka 2/2 Montalvo 2/1 Rieck 1.5/1 Guenther 1/1 Marsolek 1/1 Santillan 1/1

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