Nero, Manual run over Central 41-7 in football opener

Nero, Manual run over Central 41-7 in football opener

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Nero, Manual run over Central 41-7 in football opener

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DuPont Manual High School Running Back Michael Nero slides into the end zone for a touchdown against Central High School.

Manual High School football coach Oliver Lucas says his team’s road to success “starts and ends with No. 27, Michael Nero. We’re taking the route he takes us on.”

Nero, a senior running back, who was a third-team Courier-Journal All-State pick last year, ran for 160 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries to spark Manual to a 41-7 victory over host Central on Sunday night in the season opener for both teams.

Asked how he felt about having the game postponed on both Friday and Saturday because of thunderstorms, Nero said: “I was just anxious to play, and so was our whole team. It felt different playing on Sunday.”

Manual showed its superiority early, tackling Central runners for losses totaling 13 yards on the first three plays of the game. After that, the Crimsons’ offense — led this year by junior quarterback Tim Comstock — took over and roared to leads of 24-0 at halftime and 31-0 after three quarters.

“We’ve got to count on our defense all year long,” Lucas said, pointing out TyRon Horton, D. J. Smith and Chris Dyer plus others on a unit that kept Central out of four-down territory until the last 2:l5 of the game. Then quarterback James Simpson scrambled for a 23-yard TD run against the Manual reserves.

“Manual was bigger and stronger than we were, and it showed,” Central coach Ty Scroggins said. “We’re going to take our knocks this year because we’re so young and small. Manual’s a good team.”

The game officials battled the heat by allowing a water break for both teams after the seven-minute mark of each 12-minute quarter, then between quarters.

“The heat was on both of us, and we had to play through it,” Lucas said. “Both teams did a good job keeping the kids from getting dehydrated.”

Manual scored on its first possession. Nero ran for 12 yards on second down, then Comstock hit end Jake Rist on a 32-yard scoring pass with 7:52 left in the first quarter. On the Crimsons’ second series, Nero broke loose for a 62-yard TD run with 3:25 left in the first period.

“The play got busted, but I made two moves and shifted over, then outran everybody to the end zone,” said Nero, who had 119 yards on 10 carries by halftime. “Comstock is filling in well at quarterback. He’s coachable and doesn’t get rattled. He got the job done.”

His 3-yard TD run made it 20-0, then the Crimsons’ defense accounted for two safeties late in the first half.

Defensive back Omari Alexander tackled Central’s punter in the end zone with 1:42 left in the half. That was set up by Rist’s 49-yard punt that buried Central on its 2.

Horton and Hayden Vinegar teamed up to tackle a Central runner in the end zone with only seconds left in the half.

Nero, after getting off a 22-yard run, scored from three yards out for a 31-0 lead with 4:53 left in the third quarter.

“Our defense played well,” Nero said. “I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for my offensive line.”

Trae Gordon scored on a three-yard run to raise Manual’s lead to 38-0 before Chris Rousell kicked a 44-yard field goal for a 41-0 lead.

Manual

14

10

7

10

41

Central

0

0

0

7

7

M—Jake Rist 32 pass from Tim Comstock (Chris Rousell kick); M—Michael Nero 62 run (Chris Rousell kick); M—Nero 3 run (pass failed); M—Safety, Omari Alexander tackled Central punter in end zone); M—Safety, TyRon Horton and Hayden Vinegar tackled Central runner in end zone; M—Nero 3 run (Rounsell kick); M—Trae Gordon 3 run (Rousell kick); M—Rousell 44 FG; C—James Simpson 23 run (Sebastian Francisco kick).

M

C

Total yards

332

85

First downs

13

8

Rushes-yds.

33-249

31-39

Comp-Att-Int

8-17-0

4-13-0

Passing yards

83

46

Fumbles-lost

1-1

1-1

Penalties-yds.

6-78

9-90

Punts-avg.

2-43

6-27.5

DuPont Manual High School Running Back Michael Nero slides into the end zone for a touchdown against Central High School.

DuPont Manual High School Running Back Michael Nero slides into the end zone for a touchdown against Central High School.

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Nero, Manual run over Central 41-7 in football opener

Manual 41, Central 7

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