WINDIANS! SM North beats first district opponent since 2011 with victory over SM South

SM North players and fans gathered on the field to celebrate a season-opening win over SM South, breaking a four year drought against district opponents.
SM North players and fans gathered on the field to celebrate a season-opening win over SM South, breaking a four year drought against district opponents.

The look of on Will Schneider’s face Friday night was unmistakable: Pure joy.

After two full years in the starting quarterback role for SM North, the junior had piloted his team to its first win over a district rival since 2011. And the Indians team that looked so close to being a competitor last season but couldn’t manage to find a way to finish games looked decidedly bullish as it knocked off SM South 22-8 in its 2015 opener.

“It’s the best feeling in the world for us,” Schneider said as Indians fans celebrated around him on the field after the win. “It shows what we put in all summer. I loved it the whole time. Everybody was firing.”

Schneider notched two of the team’s touchdowns himself, with sophomore running back Reese Sila scoring the third. Coach Ben Bartlett said the emergence of Sila as a legitimate running threat — a weapon that the Indians had been sorely lacking the past two seasons — boded well.

“He’s a bit of a beast as you saw out there,” Bartlett said. “Last year we threw the ball and didn’t have a true running back emerge. Looks like we’ve got a little something maybe.”

Bartlett, who was coaching his first game as the official head coach after serving in an interim role last season, credited his team and coaches with giving the program a new look.

“I’ve got an awesome coaching staff that is super energetic and is coaching an exciting brand of football that these kids are eager to play. We still made mistakes out there, but the kids were eager to correct them and get better,” he said.

Of note, the Indians attempted onside kicks on every kickoff attempt they had.

“The onside kick for us is going to be our normal. That’s not a special play for us,” he said. “It’s one more thing that people got to prepare for.”

SM North will see if it can keep its momentum going next week against another district rival when it takes on SM Northwest, which fell 27-62 to Blue Valley on Friday.

Running back Reece Sila established himself as a key part of the Indians' offense, taking some of the defense's focus away from quarterback Will Schneider.
Running back Reece Sila established himself as a key part of the Indians’ offense, taking some of the defense’s focus away from quarterback Will Schneider.
Senior running back Parker Williamson barreled down the field in the third quarter.
Senior running back Parker Williamson barreled down the field in the third quarter.
SM North fans had plenty of reason to smile on Friday.
SM North fans had plenty of reason to smile on Friday.
After three years of working together, Bartlett and Schneider have developed a strong rapport.
After three years of working together, Bartlett and Schneider have developed a strong rapport.
Bartlett told his team to enjoy the win Friday — but to stay hungry for more starting with SM Northwest next week.
Bartlett told his team to enjoy the win Friday — but to stay hungry for more starting with SM Northwest next week.