PHILADELPHIA — Indian River enjoyed another terrific season in 2013.
The Warriors won eight games, captured the Section 3 Class A National crown and made an appearance in the sectional finals.
But the way in which the season ended for Cory Marsell’s team — a final-minute, one-point loss to rival Carthage in the Carrier Dome championship game — made it almost feel like a disappointing campaign.
“That loss hurt, and it still does,” said Indian River senior quarterback Densel Barnes. “But we’re ready to move on and use that defeat as motivation for this year.”
The nucleus of last year’s squad returns intact on both sides of the ball. So Marsell expects his Warriors to be competitive again, perhaps a little more consistent on the offensive side of the ball and as good defensively when all the right personnel is in place.
Indian River features one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in all of Section 3 in Barnes. Marsell also has some other major offensive weapons in fullback Dustin Sharritt, tailback Connor Brown, wideout Elijah Franklin and newcomer Rommel Washington.
Up front, senior Tyler Wright will anchor a mostly veteran group.
A knee injury to returning all-state and Times All-North linebacker Daquan Brown will keep him out for the season.
Indian River Warriors
2013 record: 8-2, 5-0 Class A National champs, Section 3 runner-up.
Coach: Cory Marsell (9th year, 66-14).
Players to watch: Densel Barnes (Sr., QB/DB, 726 yds rushing, 14 TD, 628 yds. passing, 5 TD); Connor Brown (Sr., RB/S); Tyler Sloley (Sr.); Elijah Franklin (Sr., WR/DB); Jonah Raydo (Sr., OL/DE, 41 tackles, 6 sacks); Zach Stone (Sr., OL/DL); Dustin Sharritt (Jr., FB); Tyler Wright (Sr., OL/DL); Tyler Sloley (Sr., LB); Gary Ruckman (Sr., WR/LB); Rommel Washington (Jr., RB/DB).