Iron Horses hit obstacles in football home opener
Football, like life, can teach lessons.
The Philip Simmons High School Football team learned a lesson the hard way in its first varsity game in the school’s brief history when the Iron Horses dropped a 39-6 decision to the visiting St. John’s Islanders Friday night. It was the season-opener for both schools.
“Our kids now realize what it’s like to compete at the varsity level, and the physicality it takes to compete at this level,” coach Eric Bending said. “They learned really quick they are no longer at the junior varsity level and they have to step up both physically and mentally to play at the varsity level.”
The Iron Horses learned how physical life at the varsity level is on the second play of the game when quarterback Omaro Asby went down with an injury. That forced Bendig to move tight end Tripp Williams to quarterback and that had a ripple effect on the team.
“We moved our tight end to quarterback and had to bring in another player to play tight end. We also had to fill in at middle linebacker,” Bendig said. “We didn’t want to take any chances with Tripp on defense. We needed him on offense. The injury happened so early in the game that I think it got into our players’ heads. It was going to be a physical football game and they had to step up.”
Asby apparently suffered a bruised knee and had it examined over the weekend. Bendig said he should know his status for this week’s game in a few days.
Bendig said one of the positives of Friday night’s game was that it is on film, and the Iron Horses will be able to watch – and learn from their mistakes.
“The one thing I know as a coach is that the eye in the sky does not lie,” Bendig said. The guys with the self-inflated opinions of themselves will get to see what it takes to win.”
The passing attack struggled against the Islanders. Williams completed 5 of 15 passes for only 15 yards. Javier Collins-Smith led the running game with 57 yards on four carries. He scored the first TD in the school’s varsity history with a 44-yard run.
Solly Bess carried 15 times for 38 yards. Philip Simmons gave up 255 yards in total offense, including 200 on the ground.
“I don’t make excuses, but we have all the guys coming back for the next game and the next season,” Bendig said of his young team, a squad with no seniors on the roster.
“We saw that we need to improve in all phases of the game, and we saw a team trying to run up the score. I told our guys to remember that because we play them next year,” Bendig said.
The Iron Horses travel to Georgetown on Friday. It will be the Bulldogs’ season-opener.
“This will be our first road game as a varsity team,” Bending said. “I’ve never played or coached on their field, so this will be a new experience. It’s definitely going to be a tough game. We just have to get off the bus and make things happen.”