Central Yellowjackets swarm the Crimsons in season opener

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Reece Gunther

The Central High School Yellowjackets defeated the Manual Crimsons by a score of 18-0 in the season opener due to a strong offense, allowing several plays of over 40-yards.

Manual’s main quarterback, Zach Recktenwald (11, #17) is injured and will be out for most of the season so Manual was forced to use freshman quarterback Luke Fields (#27).

Manual Head Coach Scott Carmony said that Central played their best and Manual was unable to do the same.

“We got beat by a better football team, that’s for sure,” Carmony said. “Plus, we have a freshman quarterback and he’s still learning.”

First quarter

Manual kicked off to Central first, following the coin toss. Central’s U’Kari Baker (#14) was able to catch and carry the ball 96-yards to score a touchdown from that initial kickoff. This made the score 6-0 for Central with less than a minute elapsed in the game. Manual, however, was able to block the Yellowjackets’ extra point.

The Crimsons attempted to make progress during the first quarter, getting the ball all the way to Central’s six-yard line. Central, however, called a timeout and the strong defense forced a turnover on downs.

Manual was only able to complete one successful pass during the entire first half of the game, which happened during the first quarter.

The Yellowjackets are about to attempt a pass with the Crimsons hoping to block it early in the first quarter, soon after the first touchdown. Photo by Reece Gunther.

Second quarter

Most of the second quarter consisted of both teams handing possession back and forth, but Central was able to carry the ball 49-yards for a touchdown, making the score 12-0 for the Yellowjackets.

“There should’ve been a better effort. We just have to push our team harder and I want to keep pushing myself,” runningback DeAaron Robinson (11, #20) said.

Both the Crimsons’ and Yellowjackets’ special teams were anything but special during the first and second halves. Manual flubbed four of five kicks and Central could not score any after-touchdown points.

Third quarter

Manual’s momentum began to build after halftime, especially when Central had a fumble giving the Crimsons possession of the ball just 32-yards away from a touchdown.

Manual was unable to move the ball further down the field and eventually gave back possession with a turnover just four downs later.

Manual’s Jayden Rausch (10, #67) and Nathan Coulter (10, #37) watch their defense in action during the third quarter. Photo by Reece Gunther.

Linebacker Brody Fawver (11, #18) was able to block a punt attempt from Central, giving Manual possession of the ball at Central’s 24-yard line.

“Overall, our defense was pretty good. If we focus on our timing with better calls and better plays, we could do better,” Fawver said.

Eventually, Manual again gave possession back to Central with a turnover on downs.

“We couldn’t run the ball like we needed to and we just couldn’t get it moving,” Carmony said.

Fourth quarter

Central’s Deondre Howard (#7) was able to carry for 61-yards to score a touchdown as a result of Manual giving up possession and losing motivation, making the score 18-0 for the Yellowjackets.

The Yellowjackets tried two conversions in the second and third touchdowns after the Crimsons originally blocked their extra point kick, but both failed.

By this point, Manual’s offense seemed to have given up. The Crimsons mostly tried to carry the ball but only gained two or three yards each time and eventually punting the ball back to Central.

“We could’ve done a lot better, but next week, we are coming better and harder. I guarantee it,” Robinson said.

Manual’s first home game of the season is next week against Fern Creek (1-0) at Manual Stadium at 7:30 p.m.