Coming into Friday’s game against Highland Park, Manhattan High coach Joe Schartz expected the Scots’ defense to stack the box and force his team to throw.
With 432 rushing yards and just four pass attempts, the fourth-year coach was happy to be wrong.
“Highland Park looked pretty good on film against some other teams, so I was very pleased with the way our team performed tonight,” Schartz said. “After seeing their performance against some other teams, I was surprised.”
The Indians rushed at will all night long, scoring 20 points in each of the first two quarters before calling off the dogs in the second half en route to a 61-6 romp over the Scots.
The biggest issue for Manhattan was starting quarterback Jacob Holloway had to come out of the game in the second quarter after enduring what looked like an injury to his right foot. His status for next week is uncertain.
“He’s real sore and we’ll have to see how he’s doing in the morning,” Schartz said. “It’s hard to speculate right now. I think he’ll be alright, but it just takes some time.”
In his place was tailback Darian Taylor, who was 0-for-2 through the air but ran for 88 yards and three touchdowns. Taylor, who went from primarily a defensive player in the first two weeks to the starting running back in Week 3, is now in line to possibly start at quarterback against Topeka West next Friday, though Kellen Myers will also get a look if Holloway can’t go.
“Darian is our No. 2 quarterback,” Schartz said. “But obviously he’s a busy man in other areas, so it’s difficult to get him reps. Kellen Myers is a good quarterback too. We’re kind of blessed in that area right now, but we’ll have to get those guys some more reps in practice this week.”
The game certainly got started well for the Indians, with returner Devin Cossman running back the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown to set the tone for Manhattan’s special teams. The Indians also got a punt block and another kickoff return for a touchdown, the second coming in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, an 86-yard return for Henry Bieber.
“I was pleased that we performed in all three facets of the ballgame,” Schartz said. “The special teams obviously did a good job there, the defense created turnovers and the offense was able to run the football at will.”
Holloway finished with 99 yards on seven carries despite his injury, while Logan Clark and Josh Mullin helped carry the load on the ground, each scoring a touchdown.
Cossman scored in the first quarter on a 40-yard pass from Holloway for the only Indian completion of the night, but obviously, Manhattan didn’t need much of an aerial attack.
Highland Park wasn’t able to get much going on either side of the ball, but did manage to score with less than a minute to play against Manhattan’s second-team defense. Quarterback Jamon Fulton connected with Shaffee Clark on a 20-yard pass to score six, but couldn’t convert the two-point conversion. Fulton had 17 carries but only managed 74 yards, 45 of which came on his last three carries against Manhattan’s reserves.
“I don’t think our kids came to play tonight, and it showed,” Scots coach Nick Cummings said. “You can’t tell me that Manhattan’s offense is better than Emporia’s, and we stopped Emporia’s running game. Tonight we couldn’t do it.”
Highland Park amassed just 199 yards all night, and was especially hampered by turnovers. In addition to three lost fumbles, the Scots muffed a squib kickoff that gave Manhattan an extra possession with excellent field position.