The Manual football team won 20-19 against Ballard High School on the night of homecoming, ending the game with a buzzer beating field goal kicked by Nick Kopp (#9, 12) in the last six seconds of the game.
The first two quarters of Manual’s fourth game of the season lacked much action, mostly consisting of the teams feeling each other out and moving the ball around.
The Crimsons could not seem to keep possession of the ball very long and were starting to seem slightly lethargic when, with 45 seconds left in the first half, Ballard scored a touchdown.
The Crimsons perked right up and, with two seconds left before halftime, Marcis Floyd (#2, 12) scored a touchdown for Manual, bringing the score up to 7-7.
The Crimsons came out into the third quarter energized and ready to truly ruin the Bruins.
They received possession of the ball and, quite literally, ran with it. On their fourth down with six minutes left in the third quarter, Kopp was called in to kick the first field goal of the game, bringing the score to 10-7 for Manual.
After the field goal, a well-executed interception made by Jalen Riley (#6, 11) brought possession of the ball back to the Crimsons.
Not long after, however, Ballard managed another touchdown, carried by Jerald Smith (#21, 12).
Smith said, “As an individual, I feel like I had a great game. I played every down, I gave it my all, and I feel like I was a go-to guy in the game. We gave it all, all four quarters. We just came up short. A lesson lived is a lesson learned with losing every loss. I just learn a lesson every game.”
The fourth quarter started with the Crimsons at the eight yard line, and within the first two downs, Manual’s team had pushed it to the one yard line before managing to get a touchdown carried by Aidan Robbins (#7, 11) which brought the score to 17-13 with 10 minutes left in the game.
Robbins said, “It felt good to get into the endzone in front of my home crowd on homecoming.”
From that point, victory seemed assured, and though the two teams moved the ball back and forth across the field, it did not seem like there was much that could be done.
With 55 seconds left on the clock, Ballard scored yet another touchdown, shifting the score to 19-17 in their favor.
The Crimsons scrambled and resumed playing in earnest. Manual moved down the field remarkably quick, with Floyd catching a long pass and running the ball to the 38 yard line with 21 seconds left in the game. Floyd came up with another big catch a few plays later to put the Crimsons on the four yard line with six seconds left.
Manual Coach Scott Carmony then called the field goal unit onto the field, and with six seconds left, Kopp kicked a final field goal, ending the game at 20-19 and marking Manual’s homecoming game as the second win of the season.
Robbins said, “I don’t think we’re going to lose another game this season. We’re getting better every week, we’re practicing hard, and we’re just taking things step by step, game by game.”
“I felt like we worked hard, it came down to the final seconds and we pulled it out,” Riley said.
However, as Riley pointed out, there are still improvements to be made. “We had too many flags. They had a lot, but we want to minimize ours,” Riley said.
The game ended with a total of 33 flags, most of which the referees awarded in the third quarter.
Manual Head Coach, Scott Carmony was very proud of his team, saying, “They just fought, and they fought, and they fought and they just never gave up. It’s just the age-old thing: you have to play all four quarters, and in this one, [we] had to play every bit of it.”
“There’s always stuff to improve; that’s sort of our theme,” Carmony said. “What we say is to never be satisfied: let’s get better next week, let’s get better the week after, and that’s what we’ve always preached.”
The Crimsons will be on the road next week as the team faces off against Seneca High School on Friday, Sept. 22 at 7 pm.