Crimsons survive against the Tigers

Photo+by+Roshan+Duggieni+

Photo by Roshan Duggieni

Kate Hatter

Photo by Roshan Duggieni
Photo by Roshan Duggineni

After a messy game, the Crimsons came out on top Friday night against the Fern Creek Tigers 28-18.

The Manual offense got off to the same lethargic start that they did during last Friday’s game against Central. A mix between holes in Manual’s  defensive line and the Tigers’ consistent offense repeatedly gave Fern Creek opportunities to run the ball.

IMG_5830-800x533
Fern Creek’s DJ Brown (12, #3) picks up the ball and runs to give the Tigers a touchdown. Photo by Kate Hatter

“I think some of our largest weaknesses were starting off slow,” Troy Henderson (10, #29) said. “We tend to start off slow in the first half. We need to find that steam to keep going, beginning in the first half and ending in the second half.”

Manual missed some key offensive opportunities early in the ballgame.

Fern Creek scored first when DJ Brown (12, #4) blocked Nick Kopp’s (10, #9) field goal attempt and returned the ball for a touchdown to give the Tigers an early 6-0 lead.

With pressure on the offense to match Fern Creek’s early lead, the Crimsons were forced to punt. Quarterback Tim Comstock (12, #3) found wide receiver Eric Niemann (12, #84) at the end of the first quarter to score a 26 yard touchdown.

IMG_5928
Eric Niemann (12, #84) scores a 26 yard touchdown. Photo by Kate Hatter

“All we need to do is practice executing all the blocks,” Henderson said. “Our blocks tend to be a little sloppy at first but when we have the right power going, everybody starts clicking and nothing can stop us.”

Andre Teague (11, #6) scored a one yard touchdown with a little over two minutes left in the third quarter to give the Crimsons a 14-12 lead. 

Henderson ran the ball 50 yards with less than two minutes left in the game to seal the deal on a Manual victory. Henderson rushed for 131 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown.

A fight between Fern Creek and Manual broke out in the fourth quarter around Fern Creek’s twenty yard line after a Fern Creek player supposedly punched one of the Manual players, instigating reactions from both teams. The fight resulted in a couple personal fouls and the ejection of a Fern Creek player.

“I was in on that play. They hit our player after the play which started stuff between them. Some guy actually pushed me, and I pushed him back which started a big conflict,” said Antonio Hassell (12, #19).

IMG_3150
Troy Henderson (10, #29) had 138 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown. “I think we played pretty hard,” Henderson said. “I think we have to keep a cool head most of the time. Other than that, we pursued well on offense and we did good on defense.”Photo by Roshan Duggineni

“Our kids need to do a better job with keeping their head about them and not letting those types of things happen,” offensive coordinator Russell Rigdon said. “I thought losing themselves, they were a little out of character there. A fight has not happened since I’ve been here. We don’t have kids leave the sideline.”

Tensions were high throughout the game. Both student sections continued to yell chants at one another.

“It was a sloppy victory but a sloppy victory is better than a great loss,” head coach Oliver Lucas said.

The Crimsons are looking to gain a faster offensive tempo for the rest of the season. Henderson commented that he believes the pace of the team depends on the mental state of the team.

“Maybe it’s something we are doing in pregame where we just aren’t in it, we’re going to look at that,” Rigdon said. “It’s not physical because we play hard.”

Manual will face off against Seneca on Friday, Sept. 4 at Seneca at 7:30 p.m.