West Ashley hands PSHS first loss of season
As a first-year head football coach at a brand new high school, Eric Bendig has had many opportunities to teach his team. Bendig, coach at Philip Simmons High School, has taught his players to work hard, play with dignity, and to balance success on the gridiron with achievement in the classroom.
Thursday night, Bendig had another opportunity to teach. The Iron Horse junior varsity team sported a perfect record heading into the game against the West Ashley High School JV squad. But the Wildcats handed The Iron Horses a 46-28 defeat. Now Bendig will teach his team about bouncing back from adversity. How the team responds will determine if it learned its lesson well.
“We played them for a half in the preseason and we hung with them,” Bendig said. “West Ashley is fast, well-coached and is big. West Ashley has a good future with the players they have on their junior varsity team.”
“We had a big challenge,” Bendig added. “We have to learn from our mistakes. We didn’t play fundamental football. We had some breakdowns on defense and special teams. We have to handle adversity for 24 hours and then it’s time to move on and prepare for Woodland.”
West Ashley took control early, taking a 13-7 lead after one quarter and expanded the lead to 25-14 at halftime as PSHS dropped to 5-1 on the season.
The defense, which was parsimonious in the first five games, allowing only a combined 70 points, was porous against the Wildcats.
“Not the best night defensively,” Bendig said. “We had a tough time stopping them.”
The offense, however, continued to show signs of improvement. Solomon Bess had his best game of the season, rushing 17 times for 193 yards and a TD. His longest run of the game went for 73 yards. He now has 461 yards and six touchdowns rushing.
Quarterback Omaro Asby completed 6 of 12 for 88 yards. He hooked up with R. Watson for a 60-yard catch-and-run that resulted in a touchdown. Asby also had a touchdown run. He carried 13 times for 47 yards.
Javier Collins-Smith led the Iron Horse defense with four tackles. Tripp Williams had three tackles and a fumble recovery.
The Iron Horses play another athletic team when they face the Woodland Wolverines. The school is located in Dorchester County. Bendig knows about the team’s history because he coached in Dorchester County as a member of the Ashley Ridge coaching staff.
“They run the ball and have some athletes,” Bendig said. “They have had a history of success.”
The team faces Andrews in what could be the season finale. The team was scheduled to play Whale Branch, but the school didn’t field a JV team this fall.
“It’s hard to believe the season is almost over,” Bendig said. “We worked and worked for months and months, and now, in the blink of an eye, it’s almost over. The kids need to cherish the moment and prepare for next season or the next sport because we don’t have a playoff game.”