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St. Elizabeth High School football’s comeback bid falls just short vs. Indian River: Photo gallery

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The Indians' Robert Ribinsky (9) and Collin King team up to bring down the Vikings' Jihad Brown. Dialog photo/Jason Winchell

WILMINGTON — St. Elizabeth’s football team started at their own 26 yard line with 3:51 remaining and Indian River holding a 20-14 lead. With seven seconds to go, a pass on fourth and goal fell to the Abessinio Stadium turf, and the Indians were able to head home to Dagsboro with a hard-fought win.

It was a tough setback for the Vikings, although the way they battled Indian River — ranked second in Class 1A by Delaware Live Sports — had to be encouraging.

The game was tied, 14-14, after Jihad Brown’s second touchdown of the evening and a two-point conversion by quarterback Cole Andrews with 6:09 left in the third quarter. The Indians took over after a St. Elizabeth punt with 10:17 to go in the game, and they embarked on a drive that covered 71 yards and more than six minutes that resulted in the eventual game-winning score.

Running backs Jayvion Chandler, who had a big night, carried the ball 38 yards on first down to get to the Vikings’ 33. The defense stiffened, and IR soon found itself facing a fourth down and 10. Quarterback Dylan Grise found Darnell Stokes down the right side at the St. E 17. From there, it took the Indians six more plays to reach the end zone. It was Grise who did the honors, going in from the 1 on another fourth down conversion.

The fifrh-ranked Vikings, as mentioned above, started at their own 26. They moved quickly. Gavin Andrews carried for five yards, then caught a pass over the middle for 17 more. A play-action pass from Cole Andrews to Brown went for 23 yards to the Indian River 29. After an offside call on the Indians, Brown ran for 11 yards to the 13. Brown got another eight on first down, but in the next two plays, the Vikings were held to just a yard. Cole Andrews’ rolled right on fourth down but had no room to run. His throw appeanred to bounce off some hands before falling to the turf.

That ended another entertaining matchup between the two programs. They played twice last season, with the Vikings winning both, including a tournament quarterfinal at Abessinio.

Chandler began the scoring with a 17-yard scamper over the right side early in the second quarter. The Vikings tied it up on their first drive of the second half. Brown, on the second play of the drive, went up the gut and raced 73 yards. The two-point conversion was not good, and the IR lead was one.

It didn’t take Indian River long to answer. They started after the Vikings’ kickoff at their own 48, Four rushes later, Davon Handy scored from 11 yards to make it 14-6. St. Elizabeth took note. They began their next drive at their own 20, and on third down and 7, Cole Andrews hit a running Gavin Andrews over the middle for a 56-yard catch and run.. Brown eventually scored the tying touchdown.

No statistics were available late Friday night. Indian River (2-0) hosts Polytech on Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. The Vikings (0-2) visit McKean on the same day and time.

All photos by Jason Winchell.