PHILADELPHIA — Indian River has built quite a tradition over the past decade by simply running the football.
Now a pair of cousins are helping to keep that success alive, with Brady Lynch leading the way as a blocker on the offensive line and Kane Lynch following on the ground.
So far both Lynchs, in their respective ways and as team captains, are at the heart of the Warriors’ unbeaten start to this season.
“I mean Kane’s getting hit pretty hard every game and he gets back up and keeps plugging away and Brady’s in the same boat,” Indian River coach Cory Marsell said. “He doesn’t get hit like that, but Brady is going to fire off the ball and he’s going to give you everything he has on every single play.
“So they’re good leaders for our team as far as role models go and they do a nice job in school, too. They’re very respectful and they’re real hard workers.”
Kane Lynch is off to an impressive start this season as heading into Friday night’s home game against South Jefferson, he had already totaled 578 rushing yards on 55 carries, as well as scoring four touchdowns in just three games.
“I’ve been running pretty good, but it’s all about the (offensive) line and stuff,” said Kane Lynch, who is listed at 5-foot-5 and 140 pounds. “They open up the holes and I find them.”
“Kane’s been doing his thing since we played modified,” Brady Lynch said. “The line’s just got to get him some space and he’ll be gone. It’s always been fun watching him play.”
And Brady Lynch, who stands at 6 feet and 160 pounds, takes pride in not only blocking for his cousin, but for any Indian River runner.
“It’s always fun,” said Brady Lynch, who starts at tight end, of blocking. “You just know that running backs always get the yards, but they always praise us. We know it’s a team effort.”
Said Kane: “Brady’s doing great, I mean there’s nothing else to say about it. He’s one of the biggest leaders on the team, he pretty much runs the defense and really, he helps out on the offensive line quite a bit, you can depend on him.”
Also through three games, Ethan Hattori had rushed for 306 yards and four touchdowns and fellow junior running back Azhari Berroa-Prensa had totaled 240 rushing yards and a pair of scores.
“I really like the way we’re looking right now, we’re starting to get the physicality that we need and our offensive line is starting to get there,” Kane Lynch said. “And our defense is definitely getting up there and the younger kids are stepping up and looking good.”
“I think we’re good, I think we’re just starting to find our groove, though, I think we’re only going to be getting better as the season goes on,” Brady Lynch said.
Overall, Indian River has already recorded an impressive start offensively as heading into Friday, it had collectively amassed 1,223 yards on the ground on 152 touches — for an average of eight yards a carry — and had scored 13 touchdowns.
“We’ve got some talented running backs, but in the same breath it’s all what our offensive line does,” Marsell said. “So we’ve had some good running backs at Indian River, we’ve been fortunate, but a lot of their yards come because their offensive line is getting off the ball, they’re just being physical and they’re doing their jobs.”
“The o-line does it’s job and running backs do their jobs,” Brady Lynch said. “We’ve just got to open up the holes and Kane and Ethan will find them.”
“We have a lot of seniors there,” Marsell continued. “We’ve got Davin Dewaine, who is also a middle linebacker, he’s doing a fantastic job on the offensive line, he’s really big and physical. Anthony Acevedo, he’s a two-year starter on the offensive line, he’s doing a nice job, and Sawyer Honeywell, he started last year and he’s doing a great job, too.”
Both Kane and Brady also start on the other side of the ball as defensive backs for the Warriors.
“It’s always fun to play defense, it’s fun hitting people, really,” Brady Lynch said.
“Both of them really communicate on defense and they kind of set our coverages up, they try and get us aligned correctly,” Marsell said. “And they’re flying all over the place, both of them. Brady didn’t play defense last year, but he’s starting this year and is doing a nice job. And Kane played safety for us last year and he’s also doing a great job.
“So both of them just on the defensive side of the ball, they’re good tacklers, they’re in the right spot, they’re aggressive.”
Both Lynchs are, in a sense, following in the footsteps of their older brothers who played for the Warriors last season before graduating.
Kane’s older sibling Gabe excelled as a fullback for Indian River last season, rushing for 694 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“I try and get around people more and try and get to the outside,” Kane Lynch said. “Gabe just likes to run through people.”
“Gabe was really strong runner, he was bigger than Kane, he was a downhill runner.” Marsell said. “Kane is a little bit more of he’s going to make you miss and he has just really good feet.”
And last year’s Brady’s older brother Gannon helped anchor the Warriors’ powerful and efficient offensive line, a role he’s attempting to help fill this season.
“He was a guard,” Brady Lynch said of Gannon. “Definitely, it’s always been fun, he’s always been making me better and I’ve always been just looking up to him and trying to being like him, I guess.”
Both are now hoping to help extend the program’s legacy as a potent offensive force, particularly in the ground game.
“Definitely, a lot of teams we play don’t take their line as seriously as we do, the line is just as important as your running backs,” Brady Lynch said.
ADJUSTING TO CLASS B
This season is also a new venture for the Warriors as it marks the first time they’re playing in Class B since before the team moved to Section 3 from Section 10 back in 2009.
“Physicality is like the No. 1 thing at Indian River, they kind of drive that into us from the first day on modified all the way up through,” Kane Lynch said.
Indian River, which won its first game in Class B by defeating Beekmantown, 30-15, in a nonleague game on Sept. 3, went on to win at rival Carthage, 36-14, also in a nonleague game on Sept. 10.
The Warriors made their debut in Class B in Section 3 a successful one with another road win by rolling past Syracuse ITC, on Sept. 16.
“We’re so-to-speak road warriors, it seems like we’re on the road all the time,” Marsell said. “Unfortunately we only have three home games this year, with this week being one of them, so we’ve really got to cherish these three games. Hopefully we can set ourselves up to have some home playoff games if we can keep playing well, take care of the football and play together as one and get better.”
As a team, Indian River went 6-1 last year, with the team’s only loss coming in the Section 3 Class A championship game in a 61-26 setback to Christian Brothers Academy at the Carrier Dome.
Now a potential road back to the Dome this year will be in Class B, but first the team is focused on winning the Class B North-East Division.
“We just keep getting better every week,” Kane Lynch said.
Looking forward, the Warriors will play at Central Valley Academy next Friday before hosting Homer and Camden in consecutive weeks.
“We don’t really buy into expectations as much as we want to get better, we’re never satisfied, we’re always working,” Brady Lynch said.