Iron Horses' football team practices hard, plays hard
Labor Day 2017 just might as well have been a labor of love for the Philip Simmons High School junior varsity football team.
The team was on the field at 8 a.m. for a practice, followed by time in the weight and film rooms. Getting young players to do the required work is a lot easier when success is involved.
The first-year team at the new school has had success with a 2-0 record after last week’s 28-6 victory over the Bishop England JV squad. Philip Simmons coach Eric Bendig won’t let his team gloat. After all, the two teams will battle again on Sept. 21. The Iron Horses were scheduled to play Oceanside Academy in Week 2, but the game never materialized and Bishop England stepped up.
“We have to show improvement because Bishop England will be much improved,” Bendig said. “We can’t take anything for granted because a team will know your tendencies the second time you play them. Sometimes you see a team come out flat after they have already defeated a team.”
Monday’s practice was typical for the Iron Horses. Bendig tells his squad to practice hard.
“That makes the game easier,” he said. “I tell the kids that all the time. Sometimes it can be tough for eighth- ninth- and 10th-graders, but it’s exciting to see the work pay off. It’s Labor Day and most of the other students got to sleep in. But we practiced with a purpose.”
The Iron Horses had some impressive individual performances against the Bishops in a game called early in the fourth quarter because of bad weather, including lightning. But what Bendig liked most was the team effort. The Iron Horses broke up six passes and held the Bishop to only 87 yards on offense.
Iron Horse running back Solomon Best carried nine times for 106 yards and a score, while quarterback Omaro Asby added a pair of rushing TDs. He finished with 41 yards on the ground and completed 5 of 10 passing for 45 yards. Bendig had praise for Felix Fryman, who was 4 of 4 on PATs while also shining as a punter. He could be the deciding factor in a close game.
Outside linebacker Tyler Harper led the team with eight tackles, including a sack. Cornerback Peyton Woolridge had an interception and four tackles.
“To get a win is good,” Bendig said. “But at this stage, we are about development. But it is nice to have that success because the players have worked hard. The kids have performed well in front of their classmates, the parents and the community.”
“We want to teach the kids to do it the right way, whether if it’s on the football field or in the classroom,” Bendig added. “We make them accountable for their actions.”
The Iron Horse team will host Waccamaw at 7 p.m. Thursday in a game that will feature a “blackout” as Iron Horse fans are encouraged to wear black to support the team.