Manual football experiments with new lineup in victory over Eastern

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Luke Carns

The Manual football team rebounded strongly this week against Eastern after last week’s dismal loss to Male. The Crimsons took control of the game early on and never looked back, dominating the Eagles by a final score of 35-16.

Behind a strong performance from the offensive line, the dynamic duo of running backs Troy Henderson (10, #29) and Andre Teague (11, #6) combined for 240 rushing yards and four of the five Crimson touchdowns. Henderson finished with 123 yards and one touchdown, while Teague had 117 yards and three touchdowns.

“The offensive line opened up enormous holes,” Teague said. “I hit [the Eastern secondary] one time and they were scared to tackle me, so I ran forward and got as much as I can.”

Bryce Cosby (11, #7) intercepts the ball for a 55 yard return for a touchdown. Photo by Kate Hatter
Bryce Cosby (11, #7) intercepts the ball for a 55 yard return for a touchdown in Manual’s Sept. 4 game against Seneca. Photo by Kate Hatter

Defensively, the Crimsons displayed the same consistency that they’ve exhibited all season. This was especially evident in the defensive secondary, with Bryce Cosby (11, #7) and Omari Alexander (12, #2) picking off two passes each to finish the regular season with a strong showing.

The Crimsons kept the Eagles off balance throughout the game by utilizing a three quarterback rotation consisting of Alex Conlin (9, #46), Will Britt (11, #17) and usual starting quarterback Tim Comstock (12, #3), who also saw time at both safety and receiver. Britt completed nine of his 20 passes on the night, with one of those passes being a touchdown to Comstock.

“We just wanted to give them an opportunity to play, see what they could do and get some varsity experience,” Offensive Coordinator Mr. Russell Rigdon said.

With the regular season now behind them, Manual’s focus quickly shifts to next week’s playoff matchup, where they will face the Ballard team that gave the Crimsons all they could handle during a nail-biting 24-19 Manual victory earlier in the year.

“I think as a team on offense, [we need to] start out from the gun blazing, and on defense [we need to] just try to get [Ballard] off the field on third down, get those three-and-outs and do not let them convert,” Britt said. “We need to keep the ball in our offense’s hands and out of the other team’s hands.”

Rigdon also sees some areas where the Manual offense can improve.

“We’ve really got to just tighten down our passing game. I  think we still miss some opportunities there. Either it’s protection or we’re missing a throw,” Rigdon said. “We just can’t run on everybody, so we are going to have to get better at throwing the ball going forward and give us our best chance to win.”

The Crimsons will start the playoffs with a road game at Ballard next Friday, Nov. 6. The kickoff time is to be determined.