The Indian Land Warriors are going through an up and down season. A week after some drama surrounding student conduct and getting knocked around by Chesterfield, the team rebounded with an emotional 14-6 Region 3-A victory at McBee.
The Warriors rallied around coach Mike Mayer, whose mother suffered a stroke earlier in the week. Their defense made two crucial stands against the Panthers at the end of the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Against Chesterfield the prior week, a depleted Indian Land squad lost 53-0. Seven starters were missing, however, after it was decided they violated team rules prior to the game and were not allowed to play. Another player was suspended from school and also missed the game.
Mayer said he put his foot down and made a decision that was probably the best for the team in the long run.
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"I believe part of my responsibility as head coach is to teach the kids discipline, responsibility and accountability," Mayer said. "We believe in Dean Smith's philosophy of play hard, play smart and play together."
The eight players who missed the game against Chesterfield all suited up against McBee.
The Warriors also experienced injury problems against Chesterfield. Five players, including one starter, Luke Lambert, missed the game. Those players are experiencing a variety of injuries and should be back in the next couple of weeks.
Although injuries are to be expected in football, Mayer said, bad behavior won't be tolerated.
"We played many young players [against Chesterfield] and we had to play some of our normal starters out of position due to the suspensions," Mayer said. "The kids who played, played hard [and] showed a lot of character and I am proud of their effort. The suspensions and injuries are just some adversity that our team must work together to overcome and get better."
On Friday, McBee had two chances to try and tie the score at the end of the fourth quarter. The Warriors' defense stopped them twice on fourth down inside the 20, once on downs and the second on a Justin Gordon's interception.
"They (Indian Land ) came to play," said interim Indian Land coach David Sweem, who filled in for Mayer. "We played real physical and played as a team.
The Warriors are now 3-4 on the season and still hope to finish the season with a winning record and make it to the playoffs. To finish with a winning season, the Warriors must run the table with three games remaining.
-- Lee McManus contributed.