By Brittany Llorente
VERO BEACH - For Jason Pierre and the rest of his Vero Beach High School football teammates, their bye week came at the best and worst time.
Experiencing their first loss of the season two weeks ago to Fort Pierce Central, the Indians were forced to cool their heels and wait to get back on the field.
"It has been a long two weeks," said Pierre. "We were ready to get back on the field. When I get the football I love it, I love this atmosphere and I love the contact. I love to play football."
Whether it was the homecoming festivities, the fireworks that greeted the team onto the field, the packed house or the news cameras, the Indians put away the game early and fast against the East Lee County High School Jaguars 39-8.
The first hits of the game came swift and hard. The Indian's offense relied heavily on quarterback Dalton Stokes' arm, which passed for more than 350 yards for the night.
With a 15-yard connection from Stokes, Jimmy Williamson made the Indian's presence known on the board. With the extra point from kicker Karson Dietrich, the Indians put up a lead and didn't let go.
"We were really motivated to come out here and get the job done," Stokes said. "We wanted to come out and have a great game. My offensive line made it a lot easier on me. When you've got guys like I do, it makes my job easier and allows for big wins like this. The great weather and all the anticipation, this win is exciting."
During the first quarter, Indian defensive back Sean Paul, swept in for an interception and returned the ball 21 yards. On a 50- yard pass to Will Dawkins, the Indians capitalized on the interception with a field goal and ended the first quarter 10-0.
The Indians did well with their passing game, but had a harder time rushing through the Jaguar defense. Stokes' precision with the ball became the key to gaining yards.
"From an offensive standpoint, we have to stay away from their strengths and go after their weaknesses," said Indian head Coach Lenny Jankowski.
Then, the touchdowns started rolling for the Indians.
A touchdown at 6:32 in the second quarter would be the first of two for Pierre. A second interception, recovered by Andrew Stirrat, turned into another Indian touchdown by Jamario Lambert.
After Jaguar quarterback Winfred Ward was intercepted a third time, this time by Jaimie Giampietro, Ward's night looked grim.
With at 25-0 lead at halftime, the Indian's top priority was to close out the game.
After a long first half of interceptions and being sacked, Ward ran a quarterback sneak, rushing down the field for 45 yards and a touchdown, the Jaguars first and only for the night. With a two-point conversion, caught by Sheldon Fleming, the Jaguars didn't go quietly into the night.
"They were stronger, bigger and I think we were as fast as they were, but we had no strength to pull it out, but my team didn't quit," said Jaguar Coach Scott Jones. "They manned up a little bit in the second half."
Williamson's second touchdown closed out the game.
"Everyone involved was excited to get out here and I was proud of the urgency we played at," Coach Jankowski said. "(The Jaguars are) a good football team with a lot of good players."