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By Mike Capshaw
Special to the Citizen
When starters are being pulled midway through the first quarter, it’s a positive sign. Chiefland dominated Taylor Pierson from the opening whistle en route to a 48-0 victory in the 2013 season opener.
The Indians (1-0) led 34-0 at the end of the first quarter and added two more touchdowns in the second quarter before shutting it down. Winning so handedly can have its drawbacks. For one, it’s difficult to get starters experience without looking like you’re trying to run up the score. It’s also easy for a team to get overly confident after cruising to such an easy win.
“That was definitely one of the talks we had,” said second-year coach Aaron Richardson. “I hope that with us being a senior-heavy team, that hopefully they’ll have the character and the ability to understand that not every week is going to be like this.
“Don’t get satisfied. Because when you get satisfied, you get beat. Stay hungry and keep playing hard.”
With such a huge early advantage, Richardson replaced starting quarterback Shaquille Patterson with essentially his fourth-stringer.
“It got out of hand so fast that I didn’t put James (Corbin) in or even our emergency quarterback, DeShawn (Roland),” Richardson said. “We went right to our emergency back-up Mike Laroque, a young guy who did a nice job.”
The game plan was to incorporate more passing into the Indians’ Wing-T offense, but only four pass attempts were made due to the quickly widening lead. Patterson was 2 of 4 passing with two touchdowns covering 116 yards. Roland caught one for 63 yards (he also had a 60-yarder nullified by a penalty) while the other went for 53 yards to GiGi McClendon.
While CHS will be a run-first team behind the trio of Alphonso Timmons, Roland and Corbin, showing the ability to pass early may help loosen up opposing defenses down the road.
“It was (clicking) running and throwing,” Richardson said. “And we were going to throw the ball more.”
Defensively, Chiefland was aggressive and tenacious. The starters allowed negative-6 yards of total offense in the first half. It was the third shutout in the past two seasons for defensive coordinator Cody Montgomery’s bunch, which blanked PK Yonge (48-0) and Crescent City (34-0) last season.
“They were pretty stingy,” Richardson said. “We could have named our score. It was just one of those things that they weren’t that bad, but I think it was just like when you get on a team and it rolls on them.
“They had one of those nights where they shot themselves in the foot a little bit and our kids were just good enough to take advantage of some of their miscues.”
The Indians shot themselves in the foot as well and they were far from perfect despite the lopsided final score. Richardson and his staff saw several areas they need to improve upon and the team began working on those things with a practice on Labor Day.
“We’ve got to get better every week at what we do,” Richardson said. “We had a few missed assignments and a few lapses in focus. Some of that stuff can be explained because the competition wasn’t there. We lost focus a couple of times and there were a couple of penalties that I didn’t feel like we should have had.
“They need to get it cleaned up and keep getting better every week.”
One thing Richardson had no complaints about was the turnout by the CHS faithful. More fans than he and his wife expected made the two-hour, 100-plus mile drive from Chiefland to Pierson.
“We appreciate any time the community comes out and supports us, especially that far away from home,” Richardson said. “We probably had as many, if not more fans, than they did. My wife made the comment and I remember looking up there at halftime and noticing the visitors’ stands were pretty packed. She said at halftime when everyone went to the concession stand it wasn’t so bad, but it was packed.
“There was no room. Some of our fans were even standing on the side of the bleachers.”
Richardson hopes to see the support at home at 7:30 p.m. on Friday when the Indians host Eagle’s View, a team that should offer a little more of a challenge, especially for the Indians’ defense.
“From the film that I’ve watched, they’re a well-disciplined team,” Richardson said. “They execute their offense. They’re not blazing fast, but technically they’re real sound. They are not going to make a whole lot mistakes. They’re not going to put the ball on the ground or throw interceptions.
“They are going to throw it around a lot, though. In every film that we’ve watched of them they’ve thrown it about 25 times a game.”
The Warriors, which finished runner-up in their district a year ago to reach the state playoffs, dropped their season opener 50-14 against Episcopal.