Manual falls to Ballard during second round of the playoffs

A Ballard defensiveman attempts to block a throw.
A Ballard defensiveman attempts to block a throw.
Katie Dikes

On Friday, the Crimsons lost to the Ballard Bruins, 48-42 during the second round of the Class 6A Championship. 

First Half:

The Crimsons were first on offense, but a quick three and out prevented them from doing much damage. With a short punt, Ballard then got the ball with good field position near Manual territory. The Bruins went for it on 4th down during their opening drive, but were stopped by Manual’s defense. 

Manual then got the ball back, and 2 big catches by Charlie Flowers (12, #15) and Zeek Washburn (12, #22) helped the Crimsons advance down the field. However, penalties against the Crimsons’ offense set them back. That is, until Willis Nofsinger (11, #5) caught a long, downfield pass. Though Nofsingers’ pass gained a Crimson first down, they continued to struggle against Ballard’s defense. Yet, on fourth and one, the Crimson offense went for it, and got it. Shortly after, Washburn caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Eli Creech (12,#10) to put the Crimsons on the board first. The extra point by Parker Friedman (11, #53) was good. Manual led Ballard 7-0 with about four and a half minutes left in the first quarter.

Ballard then got the ball back, but the Crimsons’ defense prevented the Bruins from getting a first down. Manual offense regained possession with a hope to extend their lead, but on an attempted pass, Ballard defensiveman, Montel Campbell (12, #10) intercepted. Campbell ultimately had a pick six play, running back down the field for 99 yards. The score was then tied, 7-7, with only a couple of seconds left to go in the first quarter.

Within only a minute during the second quarter, Manual responded with Redha Fresneau (#88) catching a 54-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was good again by Friedman. Manual led Ballard 14-7 with a little under 11 minutes left in the second quarter.

Ballard then got the ball, but Manual’s defense was impenetrable; a tipped ball by a Manual defensive lineman allowed Manuals’ Jeremiah Stephens (9,#43) to intercept the ball. The Crimsons offense then came on the field, but not for long as Creech threw another interception, caught by Connor Johnson (11, #8). Ballard capitalized off of the turnover with a 54-yard touchdown pass from Ballard quarterback Larry Irvin (#2) to Maurice Stephens (11, #7). The extra point for Ballard was no good. Manual led 14-13 with a little under three minutes to go in the second quarter. 

During the kickoff following Ballard’s second touchdown, Manual fumbled the ball, allowing the Bruins another opportunity to score. And score they did. Irvin threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Stephens again. The extra point for Ballard was good, and the Bruins now led the Crimsons 20-14 with about a minute left in the first half. 

Manual, undeterred, got the ball back and quickly ran down the field with Cameron Jessee (11, #19) catching a 17-yard touchdown pass from Creech. The extra point was good. Manual taking back the lead, 21-20 with only 20 seconds left in the first half. 

Ballard was able to gain good field position during the kickoff following Manuals’ third touchdown, but time ran out and halftime was called. 

Second Half: 

Ballard received the ball at the start of the third quarter and a quick trip down the field, with Journey Wyche (12, #21) scoring a touchdown, allowed Ballard to again take the lead. The extra point was good. The Bruins leading the Crimsons 27-21. 

Not even a minute later, Manual scored their fourth touchdown of the night. A 73-yard touchdown pass and run from Creech to Washburn put Manual right back on top. The extra point was good. Manual led Ballard 28-27 with about nine minutes left in the third quarter. 

Not much action came after that, as both teams did not score again during the third quarter. 

The first half of the fourth quarter started the same way. That is until Washburn ran for 54 yards to the endzone for Manual’s fifth touchdown. A holding call against the Crimsons, however, brought the ball back. Though a big penalty against Manual, Coryon Alston (12, #3) then caught a 26-yard pass, helping Manual get back into Bruins territory. Shortly afterwards, Gerian Traynor (10, #34) ran 5 yards into the end zone for a touchdown. Manual then led Ballard 35-27. 

Ballard then got the ball back and quickly came within Manual territory. Later, Irvin ran 25 yards for the Bruins’ fifth touchdown of the night. Ballard then went for a 2-point attempt, and were successful, tying Manual, 35-35, with a little under 3 minutes left in the game. 

Manual got the ball back, but punted shortly after. Ballard later did the same thing, their punt short, though. A couple plays later, a big run by Traynor allowed Manual good field position in Ballard territory. With time running out, the Crimsons called a timeout with 1.5 seconds left for a game-winning field goal. Unfortunately, the field goal by Friedman was no good. 

And so, the game went to overtime. Each team has three chances to score a touchdown and kick an extra point, with the ball being placed at the 10-yard line. If the first team is successful in doing so, the second team must match their score for the overtime to continue. If the first team isn’t successful in doing so, and the second team is, the second team wins. Here is the full KHSAA listed overtime procedures. 

Ballard was first to attempt this, and after only two tries, they scored. The extra point was good. Ballard led Manual 42-35. 

Manual’s turn was up, and only after one try was Manual able to score a touchdown of their own. The extra point was good. The score was now tied 42-42. 

After switching endzones, Manual was first to go this time. They were unsuccessful in scoring a touchdown, and had to revert to a field goal attempt. The field goal was blocked, though, by the Ballard defensive/special team. 

Ballard was next, and ultimately the Bruins were able to score a touchdown, winning the game, with a final score of 48-42. 

“Being a senior is definitely not the ending that we wanted but everyone has had so much adversity this season and everyone has pushed for many wins this season and laid it on the field. So i’m proud of the team and the season overall, the game was a crazy game, many missed calls and opportunities that we missed out on. Hopefully next season the team will make it past the second round. Hope to see what they can do,” Senior Aenias McGilbra (12,#55) said after the game.

The Crimsons have now ended their season with an overall record of 9-3 and 3-0 in district.

About the Contributor
Katie Dikes
Katie Dikes, Staffer
Katie Dikes is a staffer on Manual RedEye. She loves to write about all things sports, as well as covering Manual athletic events. In her spare time, she loves to listen to 80's music, watch any and everything sports-related, bake, binge Netflix, and read cheesy romance novels. You can contact her at [email protected].
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