Coach Scott Carmony may not win many beauty pageants with his smash-mouth style on offense and defense, but Manual High School’s 4-0 record sure is looking good these days.
The Crimsons scored the only points of the first half, attempted just one pass in the second half and held host Ballard to minus-36 rushing yards in a 13-0 victory Friday night.
Manual posted its second shutout this season and is allowing just 6.5 points per game under Carmony, who is in his first season with the Crimsons after employing a similar style for years at Butler.
“We’re always going to be about defense first here, and we’re always going to put our best and fastest and guys who can shut you down on defense,” Carmony said. “It’s hard to lose when you give up zero points, especially to a big-play team like that.
“They have some dudes who can go, but we were able to stop those big plays.”
The Crimsons rushed for 189 yards on 51 carries (3.7 yards per attempt) and were led by senior fullback John Riley, whose 14-yard touchdown run made it 13-0 with 2:48 remaining in the third quarter.
Riley had just one carry for 11 yards this season before Friday night.
“Mostly I just do a lot of blocking at fullback, but I get the ball a little bit, too,” Riley said. “It was my day. I came out and played hard.”
Senior Andre Teague added 65 yards on 14 carries for Manual, which is off to a 4-0 start for the fourth straight season.
Ballard quarterback Terrance May completed 17 of 35 passes for 173 yards, with Jordan Gunter hauling in nine catches for 98 yards. But the Bruins’ running game was manhandled by the Crimsons, as nine of their 15 rushing attempts resulted in negative yardage.
Bruins coach Mike Copley said the Crimsons’ size advantage on both sides of the ball was too much to overcome. Led by senior center Joe Gressette (6-2, 360 pounds), Manual’s five offensive linemen average 297.6 pounds.
“Man, those are some big kids,” Copley said. “That’s one of the bigger high school lines I’ve seen in a long time, and I’ve been playing down there in Tennessee for a while. They came off the bus, and I was like, ‘Whoa!’”
Nick Kopp’s two field goals – a 31-yarder in the first quarter and a 30-yarder in the second quarter – provided the only scoring in a first half that featured twice as many penalties (12) and just as many punts (six) as points.
Manual’s second drive of the second half broke open the game, as the Crimsons went to the ground and pounded out 57 rushing yards on 10 attempts. Riley’s touchdown run right up the gut capped the six-minute drive for a 13-0 advantage.
“They leaned on us pretty heavy right there, and we didn’t respond like we needed to,” Copley said.
Ballard twice drove inside the Manual 10-yard line but couldn’t come away with points. In the first quarter, the Bruins had a second-and-goal at the 5 but May lost a fumble that was recovered by the Crimsons. Ballard had a first-and-goal at the 10 on its final drive of the game, but a fourth-down pass from May was batted down by Keon Farris to end the threat.
The Crimsons ran out the clock from there.
Senior defensive back Bryce Cosby said Carmony has inspired the defense to be more cohesive this season.
“We don’t believe that we’re just defensive backs or just linebackers or just defensive line,” Cosby said. “Everybody’s involved, and we have great communication. We’re a lot more physical and a lot more aggressive than last year.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
MANUAL 3 3 7 0 – 13
BALLARD 0 0 0 0 – 0
M – Nick Kopp 31 FG, M – Kopp 30 FG, M – John Riley 14 run (Kopp kick).
First downs 15 10
Total yards 218 137
Rushes-yards 51-189 15-(-36)
Comp-Att-Int 4-10-0 17-35-0
Passing yards 29 173
Fumbles-lost 2-0 1-1
Punts-avg 5-38 6-21.3
Penalties-yards 9-97 11-90