Last-minute score thwarts Black and Gold comeback
HANOVER, IND. – Freshman wide receiver Dakota Nelson (Fairland, Ind.) added his name to an impressive list on the Manchester University annals with his performance against Hanover College Saturday, Nov. 9.
Nelson hauled in 10 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown to aid the Spartans in a hard-fought 24-21 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference loss at L.S. Ayres Stadium. His double-digit catch total marked the 18th time a Spartan receiver has pulled in 10-receptions-or-more in a game.
Nelson, who moved into seventh on the all-time single season reception list (53), was the benefactor of a strong outing from sophomore quarterback Logan Haston (Avon, Ind.) as well as the arm of senior signal caller Nick Williams (Fort Wayne, Ind.) Haston, who ended nine-for-12 with 161 yards and a touchdown toss as well as a rushing score, came off the bench in the second half to assist the Black and Gold (2-7 overall, 2-5 HCAC) on three scoring marches to overturn an early 17-0 deficit.
Hanover (5-4 overall, 5-2 HCAC) broke open a scoreless tie late in the first quarter on the legs of senior quarterback Dexter Britt. After MU held the ball for over 10 minutes in the first period before two drives ended in Panther territory, Britt broke loose for a 62-yard touchdown scamper and a 7-0 lead. The hosts added 10 more points in the second frame off two Black and Gold turnovers to lead 17-0 at the break.
Enter Haston and the Spartans with 21 straight points before Hanover, as it did throughout the day, went to Britt in the final minute. He broke away down the right side and cut back to the middle for a 28-yard scoring run on fourth down and the eventual game-winning score to wrap up a 155-yard rushing contest. Manchester University managed to move the ball into Hanover territory in the closing seconds. However, a long field try fell short to close the game.
Williams, who threw for 83 yards, also rushed for 59 to lead the Spartans' ground game. The senior linebacking duo of Zach Dashner (South Bend, Ind.) and Dylin Kennedy (North Manchester, Ind.) led the defense. Dashner had a unit-best six-and-a-half tackles, while Kennedy ended with five solo hits. MU concluded the game with three takeaways and three sacks.
The Spartans go into their 2013 season and home finale Saturday, Nov. 16. Anderson University visits Carl W. Burt Memorial Field for a 1 p.m. kickoff to continue the Bronze Ball series.