Manchester pushes past the Flashes

Published 12:25 am Saturday, September 30, 2017

St. Aloysius’s two-game win streak came to a halt Friday night as Manchester Academy scored 35 unanswered points on the way to a 35-7 non-district win over the Flashes in a penalty-marred ballgame.

There were 30 accepted penalties during the contest — 13 for St. Al and 17 for Manchester.

“A lot of penalties,” St. Al coach Michael Fields said. “But they just wore us down with those big linemen up front. They just wore us down.”

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The Flashes (2-5) recovered a pooch kick on the opening kickoff and moved within field goal range, where backup kicker Ryan Theriot was roughed on the attempt to give St. Al an automatic first down at the Manchester 3. But a couple of penalties found the Flashes back at the Manchester 27, and Antonio Thompson’s pass attempt on third down was picked off.

It was an indication of the night to come.

The St. Al defense did hold the Mavericks on downs and forced a fumble that was recovered at midfield. Two plays later, Thompson heaved a pass for Theriot, who outjumped a pair of defenders near the Manchester 25 and raced untouched into the end zone. Theriot, filling in for the injured Connor Smith, added the extra point to put the Flashes up 7-0 with 1:56 to play in the opening quarter.

The Mavericks were able to finally put together a sustained drive late in the second quarter, going 68 yards in nine plays. A personal foul on St. Al during a fake punt aided the drive, with tailback Will Fouche` scoring from 12 yards out with four minutes to play in the half.

St. Al had a punt blocked on its next drive and Manchester took advantage with quarterback Upton Hitt covering the final four yards to paydirt on the 25-yard drive with 39 seconds remaining in the half.

The Flashes got a 19-yard run from Thompson and, on the next play, the signal caller hit Theriot with a short pass. The junior pitched the ball to Connor Bottin on the hook-and-lateral play for a 27-yard gain to put St. Al in field goal range. However, a bad snap snuffed out Theriot’s attempt and Manchester led 14-7 at the half.

Manchester (6-1) scored on its first three drives of the second half. Blayke Dendy had a 13-yard run to cap an eight-play, 57-yard drive to open the third quarter. The Mavs capitalized on a St. Al fumble and went the final 34 yards in nine plays, with Hitt scoring his second TD of the night from 3 yards out. Manchester added its final touchdown with 10:58 left in the fourth quarter when Dendy bowled his way in from the 2-yard line to cap a 45-yard drive.

“They were just more physical than us,” said Fields. “We just have to get more physical. That’s the bottom line.”

Thompson finished the night 16-of-28 passing for 160 yards and an interception. He also led the St. Al ground game with 79 yards on 13 carries. Theriot had five receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown.

St. Aloysius will entertain Cathedral in another non-district game next Friday for homecoming.