Standing on the field at Bishop Stadium after Thursday’s game, Hunter French while trying to figure out how many career goals he had for Manhattan High. The Indians (6-5) were fresh off a 5-1 win over Topeka High and French, a senior, recorded a hat trick to claim the all-time scoring record at Manhattan.
French looked to his head coach, Mike Sanchez, for the answer.
“Hey Mike,” French yelled. “How many goals do I have now?”
Sanchez, who was 40 yards downfield, didn’t know yet.
The answer is 47. French was informed minutes later, and now his name is stamped in the program’s record book.
Manhattan dominated the game from the start, and it only took about seven minutes to get on the board. Senior Brendan Mummert sent the ball toward the middle of the box to an open French, who put it in the net for his first score of the night.
The flood gates opened for Manhattan after that, so it kept the pressure going.
Senior Carter Wiens was fouled in the box at 25:38 and scored the penalty kick. French and junior Connor Turner added a goal each ls to put the Indians up 4-0 at the half.
“I think the adjustments we’ve made and adapting to some of the style of play has helped,” Sanchez said. “I think Carter has really helped take some pressure off of Hunter and they are able to combine really well together up top and create. I think earlier in the year we might have lacked that.”
French broke the school record with his third goal of the game, a mere three minutes into the second half, on an assist from Wiens.
“I knew I had to get three more for the record,” French said. “And I had a gut feeling that I was going to do that tonight.”
The most adversity Manhattan faced in the match came with 35 minutes left in the second half. Junior Danny Tamura got his second yellow card, earning him a red and forcing Manhattan to play down a man for the remainder of the match. Topeka High scored off the penalty on a goal from senior Jose Lopez Medina.
Manhattan recovered, and kept the pressure going after an adjustment.
“We went to a 3-4-2, which I think a lot of teams might go a little more defensive being a man down, but we decided not to,” Sanchez said. “We wanted to play true to ourselves and look to build out of the back. It gives them a lot of confidence showing what we are capable of doing, even when we are a man down.”
Since moving Wiens up to play with French, the Indians’ level of play has risen. French said the two have a lot of chemistry together, making for smooth and quick transitions that lead to scoring plays.
Sanchez added that Turner has proved to be a quality asset in the midfield with his ability to manage the game and make crafty plays as the ball handler.
The Indians’ next matchup against Wichita South on Monday, a game that was postponed because of inclement weather last week. Manhattan has high-hopes for the remainder of the season.
“We have the goal of finishing out the year strong and hopefully going 11-5 to make a run for the postseason,” Sanchez said. “Hopefully the teams that we face overlook us, because earlier in the year we had some bumps and bruises. Now we are ready to rock and roll.”
Topeka High 1
MHS — French from Mummert, 33:01
MHS — Wiens penalty kick, 25:38
MHS — French, 14:54
MHS — Turner 14:27
MHS — French from Wiens, 37:18
TH — Medina, 35:17