Keys to the game: Manual gets a rematch with Ballard

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Jailen Carter (11, #11) catches a 46 yard pass on fourth down with 3:15 left in the game. Photo by Kate Hatter.

Luke Carns

Jailen Carter (11, #11) catches a 46 yard pass on fourth down with 3:15 left in the game. Photo by Kate Hatter.
Jailen Carter (11, #11) catches a 46 yard pass on fourth down against Ballard. The Crimsons overcame a 19-7 third quarter deficit to knock off the Bruins 24-19 on Sept. 18. Photo by Kate Hatter.

1. Defense wins championships

With the playoffs finally here, it will be the defense that has to step up and lead the Crimsons to victory. The Crimsons have relied on their defense heavily this year because of offensive inconsistency throughout the season. If the defense can dig in and stop the Bruin offense, it will give the Crimson offense an opportunity to win the game and move on to the next round.

2. Unique quarterback situation

In last week’s victory over Eastern, both Alex Conlin (9, #46) and Will Britt (11, #17) took most of the snaps as the quarterback while regular starter Tim Comstock (12, #3) played mostly wide receiver and safety. Comstock did come in at quarterback in the final minutes of the ball game.

Against Ballard, Britt said if everything goes as planned this week, he will be the starting quarterback. Nothing will be clear until kickoff, but if Britt gets the start and plays well, the Crimsons should pull it out.

3. The Lucas factor

With Head Coach Dr. Oliver Lucas stepping down after the playoffs, many wonder how the team will respond. If the Crimsons can use the news as motivation to finish strong for their coach, a deep run might be in the making. If Manual takes it as an excuse to slack off, an early exit looms.

Prediction: The Crimsons will be fired up and ready to show the state what they got. They’ll grind out a low scoring game by a final score of 13-10 and most likely get a rematch with Male.

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday night at Ballard High School. Stay tuned to RedEye and follow @theCSPNsports and @Jack_E_Grossman on Twitter for live coverage.