A career night from Manhattan High quarterback Keenan Schartz guided the Indians to a 57-0 blowout win over Emporia, the Indians’ fourth shutout of the year, to close the regular season.
The win secures MHS both a share of the Centennial League title and the No. 2 seed in the west region of the Class 6A playoffs.
"It was exactly the way we wanted to end the regular season," head coach Joe Schartz said. "We were performing at a high level."
Schartz first found the endzone on the second play from scrimmage on a 48-yard run.
On the next drive, Schartz threw the first of his single game career-high three touchdown passes, a 36-yard strike to senior wide receiver Joe Hall to push the Indian lead to 13-0.
"They played man all over the field and it took us a couple plays to adjust because it was a different look," Schartz said. "But once we settled in, we were able to use our motion and our sets to get some people wide open in the passing game."
Emporia quarterback Cam Geitz fumbled on the ensuing Spartan drive and sophomore linebacker Tyler Durtschi was there to scoop it up, giving back the ball to Manhattan midway through the first quarter.
On the next play, Schartz threw his second touchdown pass: this one to senior running back Vinny Smith from 25 yards out to push the Manhattan lead to 20-0.
The Indians (7-1) got touchdown No. 4 on a 73-yard run from Smith after a turnover-on-downs following a long Emporia drive that stalled at Manhattan’s 27.
MHS scored its first four touchdowns on just eight plays from scrimmage.
After the third Emporia (1-7) three-and-out of the first half, Manhattan executed its longest drive of the game — to that point — in terms of plays, scoring from 5 yards out on a run from DeAndre Aukland after a six-play drive.
Emporia turned the ball over on downs on its next drive, which put Schartz and Manhattan in position to score again. Junior Jaxon Bowles played a prominent role on the drive. First, he caught a 33-yard pass which then set up Schartz’s third passing touchdown, a 24-yard score to Bowles.
Friday marked the first time in Schartz’s career that he’s thrown multiple touchdown passes in one game. His 138 yards through the air also is a personal best, topping his 109 yards that he threw for two weeks ago in Manhattan’s loss to Washburn Rural.
"He continues to make improvements and learn as we get into the playoffs," Schartz said. "We're going to need him to play like that to continue to play at a high level."
Manhattan High went into the break 42-0. With the game well in-hand, the Indians scored just two times in the second half.
Smith scored his third touchdown of the game — a 90-yard kickoff return to start the second half — extending the MHS lead to 49-0 and trigger a running clock for the remainder of the game.
After stalling deep in Emporia territory on their first possession of the second half — Manhattan’s first drive of the game that didn’t result in points — the Indians forced their third turnover-on-downs, giving them the ball at the Spartans’ 17.
Several plays later, sophomore running back Charles Morgan found the end zone from 4 yards out on a jet sweep, pushing Manhattan’s lead to 57-0 after the two-point conversion.
"We were able to get a lot of kids in the game," Schartz said. "Before every game, I tell them good luck and to do their part. I'm very pleased with all of our players settling into their roles and helping this team succeed. There aren't a lot of kids who get to play on Friday nights, so it's nice when we have a game like this so more kids can get in and get some varsity reps.
"Those kids are vital for us to be able to prepare for our opponents on Friday night. They're unseen by many, but they're very important for the success of our program."
The Indians now have won nine straight regular-season matchups versus Emporia with their last loss coming in 2012 (21-0).
Manhattan now turns its attention to the 6A playoffs. The Indians will host Wichita North (1-7) next week at Bishop Stadium.
"The kids are really excited," Schartz said. "We were watching our phones all of the way home (from Emporia) to see how the scores turned out and when we got off the bus, we knew that we'd be facing Wichita North ... We're also excited about being a No. 2 seed and potentially hosting three rounds at Bishop Stadium. It's a great opportunity."
Manhattan 27 15 7 8
Emporia 0 0 0 0
Manhattan — Schartz 48-yard run (2-point conversion run no good) 9:40
Manhattan — Hall 36-yard catch from Schartz (PAT good) 5:51
Manhattan — Smith 25-yard catch from Schartz (PAT good) 5:34
Manhattan — Smith 73-yard run (PAT good) 1:43
Manhattan — Auckland 5-yard run (2-point conversion good) 8:56
Manhattan — Bowles 24-yard catch from Schartz (PAT good) 1:15
Manhattan — Smith 88-yard kick return (PAT good) 11:46
Manhattan — Morgan 4-yard run point conversion good) 8:15
RUSHING — Manhattan: Schartz 4-163, Smith 5-85, Aukland 4-41, McNabb 4-24, Morgan 4--4, Tolliver 1--1. Emporia: Keys 13-22, Geitz 13-11, Trujillo 4-4, Goodman 1--1.
PASSING — Manhattan: Schartz 5-7-0 139, McNabb 2-5-0 15. Emporia: Geitz 8-15-0 51, Leeds 0-1-0 0.
RECEIVING — Manhattan: Bowles 3-78, Hall 1-36, Smith 1-25, Toliver 1-13, Morgan 1-2. Emporia: Leeds 4-24, Stewart 2-23, Trujillo 2-4.