Hobbled by an injury much of the season – like many of his teammates – Manual High School defensive lineman Chase Gavin made the play that helped keep the Crimsons’ season alive Friday night.
With Ballard threatening to drive for the tying score, Gavin picked off a pass Terrance May and rumbled for a 10-yard touchdown that put the game away for the visiting Crimsons in a 30-23 victory during the first round of the Class 6-A playoffs.
“They’re going to have to put me with the (defensive backs) now,” joked Gavin, a 6-foot-2, 255-pound lineman.
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Manual (9-2) – No. 18 in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings – built a 24-0 lead early in the third quarter and withstood a furious Ballard rally to advance to the second round of the playoffs. Up next will be a meeting at No. 1 Male (11-0), which defeated the Crimsons 43-7 on Oct. 23.
“We’re not going to forfeit the game; we’re going to show up,” said Manual coach Oliver Lucas, who will coach at least one more week after announcing Monday he would step down when the playoffs end. “(Male) is a great team. We have to play a perfect game in order to beat them. But, hey, we’re yet to play our best game.”
Manual quarterback Will Britt rushed for 79 yards on 16 carries and also threw two touchdown passes to lead the offense. Andre Teague added 47 yards on 17 carries and also had an 18-yard touchdown reception.
Manual took a 24-0 lead on the third play of the third quarter when Britt hit former quarterback T.J. Comstock for a 16-yard completion. Comstock fumbled into the end zone, where Jaelin Carter recovered for a touchdown.
But Ballard rallied behind quarterback Terrance May, who finished with 207 passing yards and three touchdowns passes. His second – a 19-yarder to Jordan Gunter – pulled the Bruins (6-5) within 24-16 with 11:29 remaining.
The Bruins had two possessions with a chance to tie, but May was intercepted on both. The second was returned by Gavin for a score that gave Manual a 30-16 lead.
May’s 53-yard touchdown pass to David Daniels pulled the Bruins within 30-23 with 35 seconds left, but Manual recovered the onside kick that followed and ran out the clock.
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org
MANUAL 30, BALLARD 23
M – Chris Roussell 40 FG; M – Jaelin Carter 28 pass from Will Britt (Roussell kick); M – Andre Teague 18 pass from Britt (Roussell kick); M – Carter fumble recovery in end zone (Roussell kick); B – Jordan Gunter 43 pass from Terrance May (Jody Osborne run); B – Gunter 19 pass from May (Gunter pass from Kyle Wolfe); M – Chase Gavin 10 interception return (kick failed); B – David Daniels 53 pass from May (Ethan Goldberg kick).