Manchester rolls by Green 40-8 –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
The “nice to be back home” victory tour continued last Friday night for the Manchester Greyhound football squad as they made it two weeks in a row of putting up at least 40 points and two victories in a row as they dominated the visiting Green Bobcats to the tune of a 40-8 victory. The second consecutive win at Greyhound Stadium inched the Hounds a little closer to the .500 mark on the season, with a record now of three wins against four defeats.
Fueled by a first quarter pick six by Mason Bilyeu, the Hounds grabbed an early lead and never looked back, using a pounding ground game behind their big offensive line to control the clock and line of scrimmage in claiming their third win of 2017.
“I thought we did a good job and I think our weight program is really beginning to show in the battle in the trenches,” said Manchester head coach Dustin Cook after the win. “I feel like we were able to control the line of scrimmage all night. When you are up against a stacked box and we were still able to do the things that we want to do, as opposed to having to come up with new schemes on the fly.”
“We were able to dictate the pace of the game and do the things we wanted to do which is a huge testament to the work we have done in the weight room.”
After their defense forced a Bobcat punt on the game’s first offensive series, the Greyhounds looked poised to make their first possession a scoring one but a Nick Woolard fumble in the red zone was covered by a Green defender. Starting at their own five-yard line, Green faced a third and eight play and when quarterback Trevor Darnell dropped back and looked for a receiver in the flat, the only person he found was Manchester’s Bilyeu, who snagged the pass out of the air and took it six yards into the end zone for the touchdown. Kicker Trent Dryden added the point after giving the home team a 7-0 advantage.
After the teams swapped punts, the Manchester “D” forced the Bobcats into a turnover on downs, giving their offense that ball at the Green 39. One play later, the Hounds were on the board again as their only pass play of the entire game ended in a scoring pass from quarterback Shaun Gould to Woolard, who broke numerous tackles on his way to the goal line on the final play of the first quarter. Dryden tacked on another extra point to make it 14-0.
Gould, who has adapted quite well to a new position as quarterback, was happy with how his team played in the win.
“This was another big win for us,” said the Manchester signal-caller. “Everyone played as a team and we got that ‘W’. Quarterback was definitely something new for me this year but I took it as a challenge that they needed me to step up and be a leader.”
“Shaun has done an amazing job adjusting to the quarterback spot,” added Coach Cook. “I call in a play and it’s actually a combination of about three plays and he picks the one that looks the best, but it all starts with the guys up front.”
It didn’t take long for the home side to light up the scoreboard again. After another Bobcat punt, the Hounds went 55 yards in five plays, getting a 19-yard run from Bilyeu, a 17-yard run from Luke Thompson, and finally a 10-yard scoring run from Gould to make it 21-0 with the Dryden extra point. The Bobcats then put together their first decent drive of the night, holding the ball for 10 plays and moving inside the Manchester 30, but again the Greyhound defense held, forcing another turnover on downs.
Taking possession at their own 38, the Hounds got a 62-yard touchdown run from Woolard on their first snap, only to see the play called back by a holding penalty. No problem, the Manchester offense then proceeded to run seven consecutive running plays with Woolard getting redemption with a two-yard scoring run with just 10.9 seconds left in the first half, sending the home team to the intermission with a commanding 27-0 lead.
When the two teams returned from the break, the Hounds took the opening kickoff and wasted no time in putting the game into the OHSAA running clock situation as Woolard took a handoff and exploded right through the center of the Bobcat line, racing 54 yards for the score, that combined with a Dryden extra point, extended the lead to 34-0.
The Greyhound defense continued their domination of the trenches, forcing a Green fumble and recovering, setting up the offense again for new quarterback Marcus Neeley to score from 12 yards out. The extra point was no good, but the Manchester lead was now 40-0.
With the clock on the move and Coach Cook getting a lot of his back-ups some valuable playing time, the Bobcats put together their only scoring drive of the game, starting at their own 12 and marching 88 yards in 14 plays, culminating in a two-yard scoring run by Ricky Nash. A two-point run by Cornell made it 40-8 with 10:40 to play. A punt by the Greyhounds and yet another turnover on downs, the clock was nearly exhausted and a couple of kneel downs sent a jubilant gang of Greyhounds into a celebration of win number three.
“Anyone who has seen us play this year has seen that the running game has been our bread and butter,” said Coach Cook. “It’s something we have done very well and we have done a great job up front.”
“We always want to win the turnover battle and Mason’s interception early was big. Defensively we were outstanding again, getting 11 helmets to the football and gang-tackling and not giving up big plays. It’s also very important to allow our back-up guys to get that playing time because those guys work extremely hard every week and I thought we saw a lot of good things from them tonight. Overall, it was a good team win.
The Greyhounds will look to reach the .500 mark for the season on Friday night when they will be at home again, hosting Symmes Valley in a scheduled 7 p.m. kickoff.
“Symmes Valley will be another game in the trenches and we will have to figure out a way to make sure we win that battle,” said Cook.
0 0 0 8 –8
14 13 13 0 –40
MHS- Bilyeu 6-yd. interception return (Dryden kick)
MHS- Woolard 39-yd. pass from Gould (Dryden kick)
MHS- Gould 10-yd. run (Dryden kick)
MHS- Woolard 2-yd. run (conversion failed)
MHS- Woolard 54-yd. run (Dryden kick)
MHS- Neeley 12-yd. run (kick failed)
GHS- Nash 2-yd. run (Cornell run)