Manual’s football season ended Friday night in a 12-7 loss to St X.
After falling behind 3-0, quarterback Tim Comstock (11, #3) found William Blackford (12, #6) for a nine yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter to give the Crimsons a 7-3 lead. After a St. X field goal, Manual lead the Tigers 7-6 at halftime, and also had all of the momentum.
“Our attitude changed from in the beginning,” receiver Eric Niemann (11, #84) said. “Earlier in the season we didn’t have a swagger about ourselves, but in this game we knew we could do it, especially coming off scoring 35 points in 14 minutes against McCracken County.”
Manual still had all the momentum early in the third quarter when Noah Houk’s pass was intercepted by Antonio Hassell (11, #17) for Manual; however, on the interception return, Hassell fumbled the ball and was recovered by Blake Roshkowski of St. X and was returned for a 56 yard touchdown to give the Tigers the lead for good at 12-7.
“Our cornerback Antonio (Hassell) made a great play on the ball, he’s a great athlete and when he was returning it, St. X made a great play to strip the ball and get the ball,” Niemann said. “If that play didn’t happen, we would have had that game sealed.”
The Crimsons had a couple of chances in the fourth quarter but a drive that went into the red zone early in the fourth quarter but ended with a Comstock interception. Manual had one final chance when they had the ball on its own ten yard line with 1:36 left, but another Comstock pick sealed the game for St. X.
“I played bad, I made too many mistakes and that cost us,” Comstock said.
In the game, Comstock’s inconsistent playing continued. Comstock threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, but did throw the one touchdown pass. In the game, Manual committed five total turnovers.
“We just lost, that’s it,” Head Coach Oliver Lucas (Science) said.
“Both teams played a great game, the ball just bounced their way on a couple plays and that’s how they got in the lead and nothing changed from there,” Niemann said.
Manual finished the season 9-4, but did not meet expectations.
“I feel like we got better each and every game,” Niemann said. “Our expectations are always to win state and we didn’t reach those, but that leaves us lots of motivation for our underclassmen to work hard all offseason to get better and get back to this point right now, and then exceed our expectations and win state next year.”
“I feel sorry for the seniors,” Comstock said. “I didn’t want it to end like this.”