NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. - Despite a 45-24 loss to Franklin College, Manchester University saw some light after recognizing senior football players, athletic trainers, dance team members, and a cheerleader on Saturday, Oct. 27.
In the first two minutes of play at Burt Field, the Grizzlies found themselves on the board first after FC's standout quarterback Braden Smith connected with wide receiver Brad Bonomini for 77 yards for a touchdown. Following Franklin's score, Manchester responded offensively. With the rushing combination of junior running back Donovan Henderson, Jr. (Hollywood, Fla.), and classmate quarterback Austin Roberts (Indianapolis, Ind.), the Spartans found themselves on Franklin's one yard line. The Spartans knocked almost seven minutes off the clock before Roberts rushed for one yard into the endzone. Andrew Kibler (Coral Gables, Fla.) followed with a good PAT with seven minutes left in the first quarter. The Grizzlies would find themselves on the board again during their second possesion when Smith and Bonomini would find eachother again for a 29 yard touchdown. Going into the second quarter, Franklin scored seven more points within the first three minutes of the game to put the Grizzlies up, 21-7. On Manchester's next possesion, Roberts would find freshman wide receiver Darren Lathrop (Lafayette, Ind.) for 54 yards, making the score 21-13 with 10 minutes left in the half. With two minutes left before halftime, Manchester's offense put Kibler on the 27 yard line for a good field goal attempt bringing game within five points, before FC would score again in the next possesion pushing Franklin's lead to 28-16 over Manchester. In the second half, Franklin scored two more touchdowns and a field goal before Henderson, Jr. rushed 44 yards with eight minutes left in the game for another Spartan score. Junior place holder Alex Downard (Indianapolis, Ind.) followed with a two-point conversion rush to make the final score at Burt field, 45-24.
Three Spartans finished with 100-plus yardage on the day. Henderson, Jr. led the offense with 168 yards, and a touchdown on 26 carries; classmate Roberts finished the game with 182 yards, completing 11-19 passes, including a passing and rushing touchdown; and Lathrop ended the day with 113 receiving yards and a touchdown. Defensively, senior defensive back Dillon Nelson (Fairland, Ind.) collected 8 tackles and one pass breakup; junior linebacker Justin Thomas (Lowell, Ind.) joined Nelson with tackles (eight), and had two breakups, and junior linebacker Conner Sherwin (Pierceton, Ind.) also finished with eight tackles and had one sack. Senior Austin Coughlin (Fairland, Ind.) also added to the defense with an interception.
SPARTAN SHORTS: Running back Donovan Henderson, Jr. continued to prove he's one of the top running backs in the league during Saturday's contest. The junior finished with 168 rushing yards, which lead him to reach the 1,000 yard mark for the season. He is the fifth Spartan in Manchester football history to reach the milestone in a season. He is nationally ranked this season in rushing touchdowns (seventh), rushing yards (T-ninth), and rushing yards per game (22nd). He now has 2,094 career rushing yards to go with 30 career touchdowns.