Hayden Shelton threw for 177 yards and two scores, and the Bulldogs’ rushing attack pounded out another 234 yards to lead the Bulldogs to a 43-7 victory over host Manual in the 133rd edition of the Old Rivalry.
In doing so, it gave Wolfe his first win at historic Manual Stadium.
“This place has been a house of horrors for me over here,” said Wolfe after the game. “I wasn’t satisfied until we got that running clock. I’m just glad to get out of here with a win.”
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The Bulldogs (9-0, 4-0 Class 6-A, District Three), the top-ranked team in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings, jumped out to a big lead early thanks to some quick scoring drives. After forcing a punt from Manual (7-2, 2-2) on the game’s opening drive, they needed just 1:27 to go 74 yards, capping the six-play drive with a 15-yard touchdown run by Devin Gentry.
After forcing a three-and-out, Male would double its lead when Shelton, with pressure coming, lobbed a short pass to Gentry, who turned it into a 38-yard scoring play, capping a seven-play, 55-yard drive that took just 1:46. On its next drive, the Bulldogs needed just 1:53 to go up 21-0, as Dayveon Higgs capped a six-play, 65-yard drive with a 38-yard run.
Manual, No. 17 in the Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings would try to get back in the game midway through the second quarter, when Bryce Cosby picked off a Shelton pass and returned it 47 yards to make it 21-7. After having a 58-yard touchdown run negated by a penalty and another likely pick-six going through Cosby’s hands earlier in the game, it appeared that the Crimsons went into the half down but not out.
Manual coach Oliver Lucas said he thought the defensive score gave his team a “puncher’s chance” in the second half.
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But it was the Male defense that applied the knockout blow. They picked off two passes that gave the offense short fields for the final two scores of the night. In addition, they held the Crimsons to just one yard of offense in the second half and 92 yards total.
“That’s a great team,” Lucas said. “From top to bottom, there’s no weakness in them.”
Without the services of Keion Wakefield, whom the coaches decided to sit prior to the game because he wasn’t healthy enough, Male still found a way to pound out 411 yards of offense. For seniors like Ethan Britt, who caught Shelton’s second touchdown pass of the night, winning on their rival’s turf was special.
“This is a huge win for us,” he said.
“There’s definitely some pressure (about starting in a rivalry game), but my teammates were very supportive,” he said. “The coaches were really supportive of me. We got it done tonight. This is awesome.”