Swango, Ferverda runs for TDs, but Manchester beats Zebras
Squire back Ream runs for 306 yards, 4 TDs
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
NORTH MANCHESTER –- On the first play from scrimmage during their game against Rochester Friday, Manchester junior running back Braxton Ream found a crease on the right side of the line and accelerated once he reached the sideline.
Just 19 seconds into the game, Ream had a 65-yard touchdown run, and Manchester had a 7-0 lead.
It might have typified the night for a young Zebra defense in a 41-14 loss.
They were trying to chase something they couldn’t quite catch.
Ream finished with 306 yards and four touchdowns rushing, and Brock Casper threw two touchdown passes for the Squires. Dylan Stroud and Seth Gaerte each had a touchdown reception.
Sophomore Aaron Swango had an 11-yard scoring run on a counter in the second quarter, and freshman Colton Ferverda had a 63-yard touchdown run down the right sideline in the fourth quarter. It was the first career touchdown for each player.
Kaleb Shaffer converted both of his extra point tries.
Ferverda was one of three freshman running backs RHS coach Sean Kelly used during the game. Alex Deming and Dakota Palmer were the other two. Ferverda’s touchdown run was another glimpse in what Kelly hopes is a promising future. Once Manchester brought in players with a similar level of experience as the young Zebras, the game looked different.
“We’re trying to play a football game with 15, 16 year-olds against guys that are 17 and 18,” Kelly said.
A 36-yard Ream touchdown run with 3 seconds to go in the first quarter gave Manchester a 13-0 lead, but RHS countered. Swango returned the ensuing kickoff 37 yards to the Manchester 48. Reece Renie found Palmer for a 20-yard reception. A 5-yard Swango reception on third-and-5 gave RHS a first down.
Two plays later, Swango took a counter from the left side up the middle for a touchdown to make it 13-7.
Manchester had a fourth-and-6 from their own 47 on the ensuing drive when coach Alyx Brandewie decided to go for it.
Gaerte ran a slant pattern, and Casper threw it slightly behind Gaerte, who snared it and ran down the middle of the field for a 53-yard touchdown.
After Manchester freshman Coleman Sulkey picked off Renie, Casper found Gaerte along the right side on a flare pattern for 27 yards and Stroud for 15 more and another touchdown.
In less than three minutes, RHS had gone from trailing 13-7 and being one play away from taking over in Manchester territory to being down 27-7.
“We talked about it all week,” Brandewie said. “We started slow last week in the first quarter and the third quarter. … This week, it was a huge focus to start fast. You know, you say that, but you never anticipate 19 seconds in (that) you’re going to score.”
Ream had touchdown runs of 60 and 12 yards in the third quarter as the lead reached 41-7.
“We don’t really have that type of athlete right now,” Kelly said. “If he did get in the open field, we weren’t swarming and getting him stopped before he got to that point. Then it was very tough for us to run him down. Because his speed is a different speed than we have on the football field right now.”
Manchester also blitzed often to try and stop the RHS rushing attack.
“The middle linebackers were blitzing, but I don’t think they really showed us a lot that we weren’t prepared for,” Kelly said. “Their nose man played really well tonight, and we’ve got some young kids playing out there and some young kids starting at tackle also. We had some growing pains tonight.”
Despite the loss, Kelly is not disparaging his team. The learning process continues.
“We want the kids to stay positive,” Kelly said. “We want them to improve. We’re going to work at getting them better. And they’re going to grow.”
Sophomore running back Gavin McKee left with a leg injury and did not return.
“I told coach Kelly before the game that I know you’ve got a young group, but you can see it on film, and we saw it again tonight: Those kids play really hard. They play really, really hard,” Brandewie said.
Manchester 41, Rochester 14
Rochester 0 7 0 7 – 14
Manchester 13 14 14 0 – 41
MAN – Braxton Ream 65 run (A.J. Fortman kick)
MAN – Ream 36 run (kick blocked)
RHS – Aaron Swango 11 run (Kaleb Shaffer kick)
MAN – Seth Gaerte 53 pass from Brock Casper (Fortman kick)
MAN – Dylan Stroud 15 pass from Casper (Fortman kick)
MAN – Ream 60 run (Fortman kick)
MAN – Ream 12 run (Fortman kick)
RHS – Colton Ferverda 63 run (Shaffer kick)