Flashes break into win column

Published 1:41 am Saturday, October 8, 2016

In the final minutes Friday night, Manchester Academy fought to move the ball up the field, force overtime, and give St. Aloysius another tough loss.

This time, the Flashes held on.

Manchester quarterback Kinkead Dent threw incomplete on fourth-and-1 from the St. Al 12-yard line with a minute and a half left, giving the ball — and the win — to St. Al. The Flashes escaped with a 28-21 homecoming victory, their first of the season.

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“Everybody did their assignments and did their job. That’s all we’ve been needing to do all season,” St. Al senior defensive back Brandon Teller said. “Everybody finally did it. I’m proud of everybody tonight stepping up and doing their jobs.”

St. Al quarterback Antonio Thompson ran for two long touchdowns — of 41 and 96 yards — and also threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jake Pierce. Thompson finished with 204 rushing yards.

St. Al coach BJ Smithhart was proud of his team and said they got the job done by simply playing better. He said getting back injured players like Landon Middleton and Garrett Vincent helped tremendously.

St. Al (1-7, 1-1 District 3-AAA) also kept its slim playoff hopes alive by beating first-place Manchester. St. Al now needs to win its last two games to have a chance at taking the district championship and an automatic berth in the MAIS Class AAA playoffs.

Manchester (5-3, 3-1) missed a chance to clinch the district championship, but can still do so with one more loss by St. Al.

“They did a good job all week focusing. We can possibly still win the district championship,” Smithhart said. “They really played hard, played with so much emotion. I’m so excited for them.”

The Flashes led 28-7 going into the fourth quarter and looked confident, but the Mavericks soon roared back. With 11:06 left in the game, Dent threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Reese Singleton to cap a seven-play drive that started at the Manchester 27-yard line. The first six plays of the drive were runs.
Two plays later, St. Al fumbled the ball and the Mavericks recovered it on the St. Al 9-yard line. On the very next play Manchester’s Singleton fumbled and the Flashes recovered on their own 8.

St. Al held on to the ball for a running play that gained no yards and a threw 9-yard pass before Thompson threw an interception with 8:37 left in the game.

The net result of the turnover exchange was Manchester ball at the St. Al 9-yard line. After a motion penalty pushed the Mavericks back, Dent threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Will Fouche’ to bring the score to 28-21. The Flashes were then able to hold Manchester from scoring again with help from the loud crowd in the last 7:29 of the game.

“We really needed that win. They were playing to win district, and we just stopped them from doing that. That was huge,” Teller said.