Crimsons hold out against PRP in overtime

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Sean Cleasant (11, #52) and Anthony Kyser (12, #42) take down PRP’s Daniel Parker (12, #21). Photo by Kate Hatter

Kate Hatter

Sean Cleasant (11, #52) and Anthony Kyser (12, #42) take down PRP's Daniel Parker (12, #21). Photo by Kate Hatter
Sean Cleasant (11, #52) and Anthony Kyser (12, #42) take down PRP’s Daniel Parker (12, #21). Photo by Kate Hatter

The Crimsons fought down to the wire in tonight’s game, going into overtime against the Pleasure Ridge Park (PRP) Panthers to pull through a 24 to 21 win.

Neither team was able to score in the first quarter.

“The fact that we get off to slow starts really kills us,” quarterback Will Britt (11, #17) said. “We need to learn to fight back, somehow dig deep and find a way to make plays and use our coach’s game plan.”

Within seconds of the second quarter, Chris Roussell (12, #31) converted a field goal to give Manual their start in the game, 3-0.

“We’re always a little rusty coming out of the first half,” Roussell said. “We especially did better in the second half.”

The Crimsons lead did not last for long due to sloppy offense. PRP’s back-to-back touchdowns shut Manual down for the rest of the half. Two flags in a row, a personal foul and a false start, left holes in the defensive line for preceding plays.

Quarterback Tim Comstock played safety for a portion of this game once again. He was in and out all game long. “I’m used to it because I used to play defense my sophomore year, that’s what I’m probably going to play in college so I’ve been working at it a lot,” Comstock said.

PRP quarterback Donyell Bronaugh (12, #17) threw a 37 yard pass to Montae Robinson (11, #1) to put the Panthers in the red zone.

Matthew Motley (11, #5) fumbled the kickoff return which PRP scooped up to regain possession. Bronaugh found one of his receivers for PRP’s second touchdown in minutes.  The half ended with the Panthers up 14-3.

“The pressure from our coaches in the first half when we were down 14-3 motivated us,” Britt said. “We thought we were the better team and we knew we could come out and execute during this game.”

The Crimsons struggled the first three quarters to gain momentum and push past the Panthers’ defensive line. Turnovers killed offensive efforts after initially scoring following halftime.

After the half, Comstock returned to his quarterback position. At the beginning of the third, Comstock hit Britt with a 39 yard touchdown pass, closing in the lead 14-10. A fumble on the Manual 44 yard line on third and 11 allowed PRP linemen Marcel Kilgore (12, #7) a 50 yard run. The Panthers continued to lead going into the fourth 21-10. 

Tim Comstock (12, #3) prepares to throw to Troy Henderson (10, #29) at the end of the fourth quarter. "We decided to go back to the basics. I did my reads and my offense blocked for me," Comstock said. "Troy ran well and receivers ran great routes."
Tim Comstock (12, #3) prepares to throw to Troy Henderson (10, #29) at the end of the fourth quarter. “We decided to go back to the basics. I did my reads and my offense blocked for me,” Comstock said. “Troy ran well and receivers ran great routes.”

Manual shut out PRP in the fourth quarter. Comstock hit Eric Niemann (12, #84) for a two point conversion to tie the game at 21. Immediately following, Manual recovered an onside kick at PRP’s 40 yard line. The Panthers answered back by sacking Comstock, which was the second sack of the game.

Britt explains the final push in the fourth quarter as a battle back from adversity. “I think the way my team falled back was strong,” he said. “We persevere through tough times. Any loss is tough but a win like this is very good for our composure. Hopefully, this game will help us next week and then in the playoffs.”

Roussell attempted a field goal with zero seconds left in the fourth quarter. He missed the 35 yard kick and sent the teams into overtime with 21 points each.

“One of the things I have learned about being a kicker is short-term memory. There is really no such thing as pressure, you get nervous but there is no pressure,” Roussell said. “Everyone on the team is really supportive and thank you to coach for keeping me in there after missing a few. One the last one, I pretty much knew I was going to make it. The situation was I make this shot or I let everyone on the team down.”

In overtime, a repeat of the Crimsons’ first quarter field goal sealed the win. Once again, Roussell kicked a field goal, this time at the Manual 27 to put the Crimsons ahead 24-21. After two incomplete passes, PRP missed their opportunity to walk away victorious. Manual made the final push to win the game.

“We finally executed plays the last moments of the game. We went ninety-something yards even though we shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times,” Head Coach Oliver Lucas said. “We were able to put ourselves in position,  then we got a penalty, and we took a sack. Here again, things you can trip on are in front of you, not behind you.”

As the team looks toward The Old Rivalry game next week, they plan to focus on improving defense. Lucas, Britt, Comstock and Roussell all agreed a defensive advantage will be an extremely important aspect in defeating Male.

“I feel like it’s going to be a defensive game because we are going to lock down Male, but we are going to try to get our points as well,” Comstock said. “Even though they can score a lot, we can lock them down. We’re going to stay on them all week.”

The Crimsons will face-off against the Male Bulldogs on Friday, October 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Manual Stadium.