Titans score early, often on way to 59-0 romp over Manchester –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
It is no secret that to win football games, all three facets of the game have to be in sync- offense, defense, and special teams. Last Friday night in Portsmouth the Manchester Greyhounds found out the hard way what can happen when that is not the case. The Greyhound’s offense, defense, and special teams all had forgettable games and the opponent, the Portsmouth Notre Dame Titans, took complete advantage and rolled from the opening kickoff on in posting a 59-0 shutout win over the visiting Hounds.
After giving up over 500 yards rushing in a season opening defeat at Green, the Manchester defense was gouged again by Notre Dame, as the Titans put up 300 yards on the ground and six rushing touchdowns. The Manchester special teams gave up two returns for touchdowns in the game’s first nine minutes and the blue and gold offense struggled all night, producing just four first downs and less than 50 yards of offense.
With the wild and crazy 55-54 Titans win from last year still fresh in the minds of both teams, it was fairly obvious from the game’s first play, the Hounds were in for a tough night. Notre Dame received the opening kickoff and their outstanding running back Sam Kayser took the kick 65 yards to the house. The Titans have another crucial weapon in kicker Drew Cassidy, who booted the first of his eight consecutive extra points in the game to make it 7-0.
On their opening possession of the game, the Greyhounds were forced to punt and Notre Dame took over on the Manchester 48 and drove quickly into the red zone, where running back Isiah Johnson fumbled near the goal line and it was recovered by the Hounds for a touchback. A holding penalty put the Greyhounds in a hole when they took over and they were again forced to punt and unfortunately kicked the ball right into Kayser’s hands and he proceeded to race 47 yards into the end zone and after the extra point, the Titans led 14-0 with still 6: 55 left in the opening period.
When three offensive plays produced a negative 21 yards, the Hounds punted again and one play later it was 21-0 as Kayser took a handoff, cut left, cut right, and went untouched to the house. To add insult to injury, the Hounds fumbled the ball away on their next possession and Notre Dame, after one scoring run was called back by a penalty, got a 13-yard scoring jaunt from Johnson to stretch their lead out to 28-0.
Again, the Greyhounds played generous football and fumbled it away and again the Titans capitalized, getting a 16-yard touchdown run around the right end from Ben Mader and with Cassidy’s extra point, Notre Dame ended a dominating first quarter with a 35-0 lead.
The Greyhounds got a break early in the second stanza when Shaun Gould recovered a Notre Dame fumble, but the Manchester offense did not take advantage, turning the ball over on downs when Marcus Neeley was dropped for a loss on a fourth down play. That gave the Titans the ball at their own 23 and overcoming a pair of holding penalties, drove 77 yards, culminating in an 18-yard run by Johnson that left the Hounds in a 42-0 halftime hole.
The rules of the Ohio High School Athletic Association call for a running clock in the second half when a team has a lead of 30 plus points, and that may have been the only thing that could slow down the Notre Dame onslaught. On their only possession of a rapid third period, Cassidy split the uprights on a 43-yard field goal that made it 45-0 after three.
Early in the fourth quarter, and for the second week in a row, the Hounds botched a punt snap deep in their own territory, with the Titans recovering the ball at the Manchester 3 and getting a TD run from Johnson to give his team a 52-0 advantage with 10:25 to play. The scoring for the night concluded with just 1:39 top lay when Johnson scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the game, galloping in from 52 yards away and the clock then mercifully ran out as Notre Dame picked up their first win of the year by the final count of 59-0.
The victorious Titans had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the game, Johnson going for 108 on six carries and Kayser getting 120 on seven carries. The Hounds were led by James Arias with 24 yards on eight carries.
With a week to practice and regroup, the 0-2 Greyhounds will host their home opener on Friday, Sept. 9 in the newly remodeled Greyhound Stadium, welcoming Cincinnati College Prep Academy to town for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
MHS 0 0 0 0 –0
NDHS 35 7 3 14 –59
ND- Kayser 74 yd. kickoff return (Cassidy kick)
ND- Kayser 47 yd. punt return (Cassidy kick)
ND- Kayser 55 yd. Run (Cassidy kick)
ND- Johnson 13 yd. Run (Cassidy kick)
ND- Mader 16 yd. Run (Cassidy kick)
ND- Johnson 18 yd. Run (Cassidy kick)
ND- Cassidy 43 yd. Field goal
ND- Johnson 3 yd. Run (Cassidy kick)
ND- Johnson 52 yd. Run (Cassidy kick)