Manual’s defense steps up to shut out Central

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Manual’s defense steps up to shut out Central

Reece Gunther

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Manual’s football team defeated the Central Yellowjackets last night by a score of 7-0. It was the first time a team has shut out the Yellowjackets since 2010.

The Crimsons’ defense fueled the win by stepping up to thwart any of Central’s attempts at scoring along with numerous sacks by Darren Miller (#43, 11) which gave Manual good fielding positions and eventually allowed them to score a touchdown in the second half.

“It was a really rough and tumble game, but it’s really good to see us win games like that because that’s something we haven’t done in the past couple of years, and all is good when you win on Friday,” Manual head coach Scott Carmony said. “I thought our kids played hard — like warriors — tonight; I’m really proud of them.”

First half

Central’s offense was strong from the start. Dayshawn Mucker (#12, 12) was the Yellowjacket’s go-to guy. He carried the ball for about five yards each time he was given it and also caught a few passes along the way.

“I wasn’t happy with the turnovers, but I thought we moved the ball, even though Manual’s defense was physical. We didn’t finish drives but we did move the ball,” Central head coach Marvin Dantzler said.

Manual’s Eli Blakey (#1, 11) forced a Central fumble which Ramont Townsend (#5, 11) was able to recover with five minutes remaining in the first quarter. Although Manual wasn’t able to make any significant offensive moves during this quarter, their defense came through strong.

“Our defense stood up. They said we weren’t going to score, but they didn’t score,” Townsend said. “We gave up one [defensive] play, but we came back with another play, and that’s how we do it.”

Both JuWuan Northington (#22, 11) and Miller made huge strides in pushing the Yellowjackets back, wrapping up the first quarter on third down and 26.

During the second quarter, Manual’s defense continued to prove its strength, even forcing a turnover on downs on fourth and inches.

Halftime

Manual’s Dazzlers performed one of their dance routines during the halftime show, followed by the Crimson Sound.

Second half

Manual’s offense gained some momentum as the second half began. After forcing Central to punt them the ball soon after the kickoff, the Crimson running backs made significant progress down the field.

DeAaron Robinson (#20, 12) made some of the first notable progression down the field, followed up by Northington who ran for 9 yards to put Manual in prime position for a touchdown.

Soon after, he carried four yards to give Manual its one and only touchdown of the night, making the score 7-0 after a successful kick by Patrick Holdener (#88, 11).

“In the second half, me and my team just turned around, came together and did our thing,” Northington said. “I didn’t think I was going to get [the touchdown] but my team had my back and I had their back so we got it in.”

Flags and penalties constantly plagued Central, causing many of their best offensive drives to be voided, giving Manual’s defense even more leeway when attempting to stop the Yellowjackets.

Central’s Mucker made several big carries that were called back by holding flags, something that Central’s coach chalked up to inexperience.

“You can’t simulate Friday nights so you’ve got a lot of first time players out there and even though we do it well in practice, we’ve got to be able to focus under the lights,” Dantzler said.

Towards the middle of the fourth quarter, Manual’s Robinson was able to stop a punted ball at the 1-yard-line, giving Central very limited control of moving the ball down the field while still attempting to avoid a safety.

Even so, some of Central’s bigger offensive plays like Joshua Ware’s (#25, 10) 25-yard throw to Deondre Howard (#7, 12) weren’t enough to overcome Manual’s powerhouse defense.

Manual’s first away game is next week at Fern Creek (1-0) at 7:30 p.m.