The Iron Horses stop the Riptides with 45-8 victory
The Philip Simmons High School football team picked up its first varsity football victory in the school’s brief history with a 45-8 decision over Charleston Charter School of Math and Science on Friday night.
The Iron Horses lost their first two games of the season by a combined 85-13 margin. But they ran the ball well and the defense responded with a big effort as the team improved its record to 1-2.
“We had a great week of practice,” coach Eric Bendig said. “We had a sense of urgency. We focused on practice and we focused on the game. I had a family issue and missed school Thursday and most of Friday. It was nice to come back and be a part of the first-ever win. It’s something to build on. I wanted them to experience success and that’s something they had Friday night.”
The Iron Horses jumped to a 13-8 lead over the Riptides after one quarter and pushed the margin to 32-8 at halftime as the Iron Horses used the 1-2 running punch of Javier Collins-Smith and Nathan Newman.
Collins-Smith carried 21 times for 278 yards and scored four touchdowns while Newman carried 21 times for 153 yards and a toucdown.
The Iron Horses tallied 540 yards in total offense, with 498 yards on the ground. Bendig praised freshman quarterback Tripp Williams for guiding the offense. He passed only four times, completing two for 42 yards. But he showed leadership and that helped the Iron Horses move the chains. They converted 9 of 11 third-down conversions.
“Offensively, we planned to run the football and we were able to establish our running game early,” Bendig said. “We weren’t in many second- and third-and-long situations. It’s probably the only time in my (coaching) career that we were 90 percent run, but we’ll do whatever it takes to win.”
It was Collins-Smith’s second straight game that he topped at least 100 yards. He’s big, fast and powerful and had help from Newman, who also played well on defense.
The defense held the Riptides to less than two yards per play. The Riptides ran 51 plays and tallied 96 yards with 50 coming in the air. The Iron Horses kept the pressure on in key situations as Charleston Charter converted only 1 of 11 third-down situations.
The Iron Horses has played the last two games without Solly Bess, the team’s leading rusher last year at the junior varsity level. He’s been battling nagging injuries and could return this week when the Iron Horses play at Bishop England in a game for Daniel Island supremacy. But Bendig isn’t going to risk him if he’s not 100 percent.
“One of the fun facts about my family is that we’re a house divided.” Bendig said. “My wife went to Bishop England and graduated in 2002. But she will be rooting for the Iron Horses on Friday night. It’s a big rivalry although we haven’t played them in a varsity game. I’ve always loved BE, and I’ve always enjoyed following them. They have a storied program and have had great success.”