Manhattan High only needed 50 seconds to score an offensive touchdown in the team’s 62-0 win over Topeka West on Friday night at Bishop Stadium.
An important detail is that No. 7 Manhattan (6-1, 5-1 Centennial League) kicked-off to start the game, which served as senior night.
Topeka West muffed its second offensive snap and Manhattan recovered on the Chargers’ 6-yard line. Senior running back BJ Young scored a touchdown on first down.
“It was a total team victory,” Manhattan head coach Joe Schartz said. “The defense made plays.The offense made plays and we made plays on special teams as well.”
Manhattan gashed Topeka West on special teams, with two touchdowns coming from junior return specialist Ty’Zhaun Jackson. Jackson had a 75-yard punt return for a score in the second quarter and a 74-yard kickoff return to start the second half.
While Manhattan entered the game as heavy favorites and carried out the game plan, Schartz still wanted to see clear signs of his team’s improvement. He got that with the special teams unit.
“I was pleased with our special teams,” Schartz said. “Hopefully we can gain a little confidence with that. We are going to have to make plays on special teams if we are going to advance in the playoffs.”
A few seniors had some special moments, too. Senior wide receiver Tyler Higgins caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Dayne Aschenbrenner in the second quarter.
Senior defensive back Nate Hanson had a “perfect” end to his senior night, too. The running clock began in the third quarter after Manhattan took a 49-0 lead, so when the final minute came, Hanson’s time on the Bishop Stadium turf was waning.
Hanson got himself an interception and returned it 36 yards to the end zone.
“They had been running that play back and forth, so once I saw it set up, I just jumped the route,” Hanson said. “I thought I was going to get a punt return, but that happened. As soon as I caught it, I knew I was gone, though. It was crazy. It was the best thing I could have done for my senior year.”
Young, a consistent contributor to the high-powered Indians offense, ran for two touchdowns in the first half. He finished with 11 carries for 76 yards, as his services weren’t required to maintain control in the second half.
That’s where junior Mason Reid came in. Aschenbrenner and Young didn’t play in the second half, so Reid was under center and providing big run plays, including touchdowns of 49 and 21 yards.
“Mason is an unselfish player,” Schartz said. “He’s been playing H-back for us and doing a lot of blocking, and it was nice to see him get some touchdowns tonight. He’s a heck of a football player.”
Getting to rest key contributors was important for Manhattan, as the team has aspirations of advancing in the playoffs. The Indians play Highland Park on Thursday, and will be a heavy favorite again, so the games could mirror each other.
“We have a lot of guys that are a little bit sore,” Schartz said. “That’s not uncommon this time of year, but we did what we had to do tonight to get the victory. Hopefully we can get some guys a couple days off and see how we respond and get our legs back underneath us before we start the playoffs.”
Topeka West 0
Topeka West 0 0 0 0 — 0
Manhattan 21 14 14 13 — 62
MHS — Young 6 rush (kick good), 11:50
MHS — Young 32 rush (2pt try GOOD), 7:35
MHS — Florez 1 rush (2pt try no good), 4:06
MHS -Higgins 25 pass from Aschenbrenner (kick good), 6:20
MHS- Jackson 75 punt return (kick good), 4:54
MHS — Jackson 74 kick return (kick good), 11:47
MHS — Reid 49 rush (kick good), 9:48
MHS — Ried 21 rush (kick no good), 10:17
MHS — Hanson 36 interception (kick good), :45
RUSHING — Manhattan: Young 11-76, Reid 5-83, Smith 2-35, Florez 3-3, Newby 3-4 // Topeka West: Jones-Washington 12-(-4), Helmick 14-11, Williams 3-(-12)
PASSING — Manhattan: Aschenbrenner 3-3-0-74, Topeka West: Williams 3-13-1-23
RECEIVING — Manhattan: Higgins 2-37, Reid 1-37 // Topeka West: Irby 2-21, Beine 1-7