Symmes Valley snaps Manchester winning streak –
Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
Riding a two-game winning streak, the Manchester Greyhounds were back on their home turf last Friday night hosting the 5-2 Vikings from Symmes Valley. The Hounds were looking to reach the .500 mark for the season while the Vikes needed the win to make a move up in the state playoff rankings.
The night, though, belonged to the visiting Vikings as they controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, scored on their first seven offensive possessions, and rolled to a 49-14 win over the Greyhounds.
“We knew coming in that Symmes Valley was typically a playoff team and they showed that tonight,” said Manchester head coach Dustin Cook. “We have a lot of respect for them and we knew we would have to play perfect football and things didn’t go our way tonight.”
“They did a decent job of controlling the line of scrimmage. Every time we seemed to make a play, we than made a mistake or two, but we’ll clean that up before next week.”
The story of the opening quarter was field position and the Vikings took full advantage. A Manchester punt after their failed first offensive series traveled only about 15 yards, giving Symmes Valley the ball at the Greyhound 30. One play later, the Vikes were on the board as quarterback Keifer Wilson scrambled 30 yards for a score and kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
The Hounds bounced right back and it took them just one play as quarterback Shaun Gould tucked it in on a keeper and rambled 60 yards down the sideline for the touchdown. The extra point attempt was blocked and les than two minutes into the game, both teams had touchdowns and Symmes Valley had a 7-6 lead.
That advantage began to extend with the next Viking possession wen they traversed 62 yards in seven plays, getting a four-yard scoring run from Layken Gothard and a Wilson extra point to lead 14-6. After another shanked Manchester punt gave them the ball at the Hounds’ 36, the Vikings again capitalized, getting a three-yard scoring run from Derik Brace on the second play of the second quarter. The extra point gave the visitors a 21-6 lead.
“Sometimes you just don’t get the bounces and things don’t go your way,” said Coach Cook. “We have to put those mistakes behind us and move ahead.”
The Hounds got a nice kickoff return from Nick Woolard out to their own 45, but could go nowhere and were forced to punt once again, and once again the punt proved disastrous as Gothard fielded the kick, broke numerous tackles, and scampered 75 yards for the touchdown. The Wilson extra point gave the Vikings a commanding 28-6 advantage with 9:46 left in the first half.
The next Manchester drive was their best of the game as they held the ball for over five minutes, running nine plays and marching 63 yards, culminating in a Gould pass to a wide-open Marcus Neeley in the end zone from eight yards away. Gould took in the two-point conversion run and the Hounds again had life, cutting the deficit to 28-14.
That life didn’t last long, however, as the Vikings made it five for five on offense, going 65 yards on two passes and three runs, with Brace going in from two yards out and Wilson kicking the extra point, sending the two teams to the halftime break with Symmes Valley leading 35-14.
The break did nothing to slow down the Viking offense as they took the second half opening kickoff and went 57 yards in 10 running plays, with Gothard taking a handoff on a well-designed counter play and raced 18 yards untouched for the score. Another Wilson extra point put Symmes Valley on top 42-14 with 6:14 left in the third quarter.
After another Manchester punt, the Symmes Valley offense hit pay dirt for the seventh consecutive time, this time getting a 20-yard touchdown run from Brace, that combined with the extra point kick, made it 49-14 and with that score differential, instituted the OHSAA running clock rule late in the third period.
The Greyhounds had a golden opportunity to score again when Avery Reed fielded the kickoff after the last Viking’s TD and took it 88 yards before being hauled down at the Symmes Valley two-yard line. With a first and goal at the 2, the Hounds got a scoring run from Mason Bilyeu that was nullified by a block in the back, then a false start penalty and a run by Gould where he was hauled down for a 10-yard loss. An incomplete pass on fourth down ended a possession that lost a combined 23 yards on five snaps.
With the clock running, the Vikings took over and proceeded to run out the rest of the game, 14 plays on the ground to secure their sixth win against just two losses by the final count of 49-14.
The Greyhounds will be back in action on Friday night, looking to pick up their fourth win of the season as they host the Portsmouth Notre Dame Titans, a team they have never beaten. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“It’s important that we get back after it this week in practice with two games left,” said Coach Cook. “We’ve never beaten Notre Dame so we need to have a very short memory about tonight and get ready for the next one.”
14 21 14 0 –49
6 8 0 0 –14
SV- Wilson 30-yd run (Wilson kick)
MHS- Gould 60-yd. run (kick blocked)
SV- Gothard 4-yd. run (Wilson kick)
SV- Brace 3-yd. run (Wilson kick)
SV- Gothard 75-yd. punt return (Wilson kick)
MHS- Neeley 8-yd. pass from Gould (Gould run)
SV- Brace 2-yd. run (Wilson kick)
SV- Gothard 18-yd. run (Wilson kick)
SV- Brace 20-yd. run (Wilson kick)