Football team falls to Bowling Green in preseason scrimmage

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Running back Troy Henderson (10, #29) rushes for a first down against Bowling Green. Photo by Kate Hatter

Jack Grossman

Running back Troy Henderson (10, #29) rushes for a first down. Photo by Kate Hatter
Running back Troy Henderson (10, #29) rushes for a first down. Photo by Kate Hatter

The Manual football team struggled to a 27-9 loss in their preseason scrimmage against Bowling Green on Friday night. The Crimson offense had problems scoring in the redzone, scoring only one touchdown on four chances inside the Bowling Green 20-yard line.

“We have to focus on [finishing drives] at practice,” offensive coordinator Russell Rigdon said. “We’ll have a long week of practice next week and we’ll try to punch it in and score more next week.”

Manual had a chance to strike first in the first quarter by quickly pushing into the Bowling Green redzone. Then, with the ball inside of the five yard line, quarterback Tim Comstock (12, #3) missed an open receiver in Eric Niemann (12, #84) on a corner route that likely would have resulted in a touchdown if the pass was thrown on time. Instead, Comstock’s throw was late, and the pass resulted in his first of two interceptions on the night.

 

“I threw it late,” Comstock said. “I threw the ball at the wrong time. I should have thrown it right when I saw [Niemann] open, but we’re going to fix mistakes like that in practice.”

Aside from the two interceptions, Comstock had a solid performance, completing seven of 14 pass attempts and throwing for 66 yards before sitting for the majority of the second half. Comstock seemed to be more poised in the pocket, and for the most part made strong, accurate throws.


“I’ve just been working on my pocket presence with my trainer, Stefan LeFors,” Comstock said. “He’s been teaching me a lot about pocket presence. I just practice, practice, practice, and I’m getting better and better every day.”

Tim Comstock (12, #3) fights off a defender to try to avoid a sack. Photo by Kate Hatter
Tim Comstock (12, #3) fights off a defender to try to avoid a sack. Photo by Kate Hatter

“He just needs to continue growing; get some confidence,” Rigdon said. “He has to work on his timing. He’s got some new receivers because we graduated three receivers last year that played a lot. He’s doing a great job this year. He has to limit the mistakes and capitalize on our opportunities.”

Despite Comstock’s first interception, Manual was eventually able to strike when Troy Henderson (10, #29) used a 21-yard rush to set up a five-yard touchdown run.

“Troy did a great job,” Rigdon said. “Troy played well, made some good plays, ran hard. He has to make the most of his opportunities going forward.”

After a missed PAT, the Crimsons led 6-0 at the end of the first quarter; however, the Purples would go on to score 21 unanswered points by running a combination of counter run plays and screens to the running backs, including a screen pass that resulted in a 49-yard touchdown.

“We definitely need to improve on defending counters and screens,” tight end and defensive end Chase Gavin (12, #44) said. “We just have to tighten up some bolts; work on it in practice to fix that up.”

Bowling Green would cruise in the fourth quarter to easily beat Manual 27-9.

“Its going to be a big learning process come Monday when we get back to practice,” Gavin said. “We definitely need to improve on a lot of things. There are going to be some changes for sure on defense and on offense. We learned a lot.”

Even though the Crimsons lost in such a lopsided manner, Rigdon thought that the team didn’t play as bad as the score indicated.

“We were average. I’d probably give us a C plus or a B minus,” Rigdon said. “They did good in parts, they did really good in stretches, but we didn’t finish drives. We just have to work on finishing our drives and work on fixing our mistakes. We should be okay.”

Reece West (12, #1) runs for a 49 yard kickoff return to give Manual good starting field position in the third quarter. Photo by Kate Hatter
Reece West (12, #1) runs for a 49 yard kickoff return to give Manual good starting field position in the third quarter. Photo by Kate Hatter

Rigdon also added that the experience gained from the scrimmage was valuable for younger players.

“We wanted to get our young guys some experience against a good team,” Rigdon said. “[Bowling Green] has won four out of the last five state titles in their class. They always give us a good test. It’s just a good barometer stick to tell us where we are, and we know that we got work to do.”

The Crimsons will now prepare to officially open the season next Friday against Central. Gavin expects his team to give a better showing when Manual takes the field during the regular season.

“We definitely foresee a better future come season time,” Gavin said.

The Crimsons and the Yellow Jackets will kickoff at 7:30pm at Manual Stadium on Friday, August 21.

Head Coach Oliver Lucas (Science) declined to be interviewed for this article.