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Manhattan running back Jaxon Bowles (2) celebrates a rushing touchdown from teammate Vinny Smith in the first quarter against Wichita North on Friday night. The Indians won, 64-6, and advanced to the next round of the Class 6A playoffs.

Manhattan High couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the Class 6A football playoffs Friday, cruising to a 64-6 win over Wichita North.

"I told the senior before they left the locker room that the only thing that we're guaranteed is tonight," Schartz said. "We needed to take care of business and did that." 

The win marks the seventh straight first-round playoff win for the Indians, which entered the postseason as the No. 2 seed in the west.

Offensively, the first half belonged to senior running back Vinny Smith.

Smith put up 144 yards and four touchdowns in the first two quarters, including touchdowns of 20, 16 and 35 yards on consecutive drives in the opening period.

Smith capped his day with a 44-yard score with 5:47 to play in the half.

Smith now has 21 total touchdowns this season, 19 of which have come on the ground.

"We executed well upfront," Schartz said. "Once (Vinny) got past the linebackers, it was all over. They played us with two high safeties so they were pretty light in the box so he was able to get going and once he gets going, you're not going stop him." 

MHS quarterback Keenan Schartz added a touchdown in the middle of all of that, scoring from a yard out following a fumble from Joe Hall (his first of two in the first half) that rolled out of the back of the end zone for a touchback. However, a face mask penalty by Wichita North erased the fumble and set the Indians up at the 1-yard line.

Manhattan (8-1) started to put in second- and third-string players in the second quarter, and backup quarterback Ian McNabb scored the final two touchdowns of the first half, both of which came on runs inside the 10-yard line.

The game would have running clock for the entire second half. 

The Indians led 52-0 at the break, which marked the most points they scored in a half this season. (They put 49 on the board in the first half of their win over Highland Park on Sept. 17.)

Wichita North (1-8) turned over the ball four times — including three interceptions — in the first half.

Junior cornerback Dante Walters snagged two picks, both of which set up Indian touchdowns. The two interceptions were the first of Walters’ career.

"We have to make improvements because people are definitely going to test us through the air but it was nice to see Dante have success," Schartz said. "He was able to run and break on those balls. Hopefully he can continue to make those types of play."

Sophomore defensive back Chris Dunnigan had the third MHS pick, his first at the varsity level, to close out the first half.

Wichita North finally found offensive success in the third quarter after successfully executing an onside kick. North drove 39 yards and connected on a 15-yard touchdown from quarterback DJ Fowler to wide receiver Jamarion Edwards. After an unsuccessful two-point conversion, Manhattan led 52-6.

The touchdown snapped a streak of 12 consecutive scoreless quarters for the MHS defense dating back to the third quarter of its 21-14 loss to Washburn Rural on Oct. 8.

The Indians responded on a 45-yard run by McNabb with two minutes to play in the third quarter. A botched snap led to a blocked extra point; still, the Indians led 58-6.

Sophomore fullback Otto Huff finished the scoring for the Indians, pounding the ball into the end zone from a yard out after multiple tries. The touchdown was his first at the varsity level.

"Everybody played," Schartz said. "It's great to see them contribute on Friday nights, especially in the playoffs. That's what our program is all about is playing football in November so they got a taste of that and hopefully it will pay dividends in the future."

With the win, Manhattan moves on to face Gardner-Edgerton (4-5) next week. The 10th-seeded Trailblazers upset seventh-seeded Dodge City 41-20 on Friday.

"They run the flexbone and triple option," Schartz said. "It's definitely going to be a physical football game," 

MHS will host the regional-round game versus Gardner-Edgerton.

MANHATTAN 64,

WICHITA NORTH 6

Wichita N. 0 0 6 0

Manhattan 23 29 6 6

Scoring

First quarter

Manhattan — Smith 20-yard run (PAT good) 9:43

Manhattan — Smith 16-yard run (2-point conversion good) 5:14

Manhattan — Smith 35-yard run (2-point conversion good) 0:24

Second quarter

Manhattan — Schartz 1-yard run (PAT good) 11:30

Manhattan — Smith 44-yard run (2-point conversion) 5:47

Manhattan — McNabb 7-yard run (PAT good) 4:16

Manhattan — McNabb 4-yard run (PAT good) 1:09

Third quarter

Wichita North — Edwards 15-yard catch from Fowler (2-point conversion no good) 4:45

Manhattan — McNabb 45-yard run (PAT no good) 2:00

Fourth quarter

Manhattan — Huff 1-yard run (PAT no good) 3:15

Individual Statistics

RUSHING — Manhattan: Smith 7-144, McNabb 6-130, Aukland 4-71, Schartz 3-61, Hall 1--2, Huff 5--7. Wichita North: Kaspar 1-8, Guiterrez 2-6, Fowler 1--2, Wassall 3--9, Alvarado 11--11.

PASSING — Manhattan: Schartz 2-2-0 25, McNabb 2-2-0 21. Wichita North: Fowler 11-32-3 110.

RECEIVING — Manhattan: Newby 2-21, Hall 1-18, Frey 1-7. Emporia: Wassall 6-79, Edwards 2-27, Alvarado 2-4, Dimit 1-0.