The Old Rivalry Returns


Ofelia Mattingly

Students look on as the 2021 Male/Manual game begins. Photo by Ofelia Mattingly.

Morgan Schmidt

The Old Rivalry is here; this Friday, October 28th, Manual will travel to the Bulldogs’ territory and the two teams will compete for the infamous barrel. I got to sit down and talk with Coach Donnie Stoner to discuss the game. Here’s a preview.

The Male/Manual game is the game of the year for both schools. This game defines the season for some, and gives one team bragging rights until the following year.

“The Male game is, you know what it is, obviously being the oldest rivalry in the nation, we want to put a lot into that game and come away with a victory. But we have a lot of other things that we have to take care of first before we get to Friday,” said Coach Stoner about the team being prepared. 

Many of the team’s starters, including Zeek Washburn (RB, JR), set out during last Friday’s game against Butler to prepare for weeks to come, especially this upcoming week. 

“For us this time of year, you know we’re all about trying to make sure we keep guys healthy, so you know we can be a good football team late in the season as we enter into the playoffs,” Stoner expressed. 

Male has abilities and talent; Daniel Swinney (RB, SR) has an average of 107 YDS rushing per game, Antonio Harris (CB, SO) an average of 70 receiving YDS per game, and their quarterbacks Kolter Smith (QB, JR) and Lucas Cobler (QB, SR) having an accumulative of 1072 Passing YDS.  

To minimize Male’s offensive talent, Stoner explained, “In order for us to be successful defensively, we just gotta be able to take those guys away, and we’ve been loving how our defense is all year long so we just gonna continuing counting on those guys to get the job done on that side of the ball. We gotta contain their good receivers and their athletes who they try to get the ball too and we get that done, I think we’ll be okay.” 

Male isn’t the only team with the talent and athletes. Zeek Washburn (RB, JR) holds an average of 123 rushing YDS per game, receiver Jeremiah Blakey averages 40 YDS per game and receiver Aiden Blakey has a 44 YD average. Manual quarterbacks have an accumulation of 1052 passing YDS.

“We got to put our best 11 guys out there at all times to give ourselves the best opportunity to walk away with this victory. We’ve been relying on our run game a lot with Zeek Washburn and we plan to carry the load with him, we resting this week you know just to heal up a little bit and he’ll be back ready to go on Monday, hopefully, to get it done,” said Stoner on Manual’s offensive abilities. 

With the biggest game of the season comes many challenges and in Stoner’s opinion, this will be a mental challenge for his team. 

“I think the overall hype of the game, that game is always one that’s real high, intense, and you know I think we got to go in and get our guys calmed down so that we can focus up and play and operate on the football,” Stoner said. 

Coach Stoner is a Manual Football Alumni, who graduated in 2002. I decided to discuss further how his intensive knowledge and firsthand experience playing in the game has affected his coaching leading up to the game for his players. 

“My senior year when I played we actually beat Male, and we hadn’t beat them in 13 years at that point, so we were able to bring the barrel home. You know, in fact I haven’t seen it since then so there’s some emotional attachment to that, wanting to get that barrel back home, in its rightful owners’ environment, and just to be able to use my experiences as a player on how to prepare for a really good football team like Male, and then continue to do what we do as coaches.” 

No statistics can determine the outcome of a sports game, so we now wait until Friday night under the lights for the Old Rivalry to commence and see who will take home the barrel.

The game is at Louisville Male High School, and game time is set for 7 pm.