‘Complete’ Lancers smash Skyhawks
All phases click as unbeaten Manchester adds Bird to victims list
Manchester High football coach Tom Hall had to watch his team play Friday night on YouTube after undergoing emergency surgery for an infection in his leg this week.
Like the previous six games, he must have liked what he saw.
The No. 2 Lancers didn’t miss a beat while destroying No. 5 and previously unbeaten L.C. Bird 55-7 with a complete game.
Manchester (7-0) previously pounded Riverbend 75-0, Cosby 49-6, Monacan 62-9, Midlothian 47-3, James River 79-0 and Huguenot 51-0.
“It’s definitely the most complete team — I’ve been here 11 years at Manchester — in all three phases,” said offensive coordinator Sidney Chappell, who took over for Hall. “We saw it tonight.”
The Lancers have plenty of weapons. They got 196 yards passing and three touchdowns from quarterback Brendon Clark, including a next-level throw and next-level catch for a 24-yard TD to Alston Robinson. They got 115 yards rushing from Isaiah Todd and 103 from Roemell Garcia while racking up 490 yards of offense and scoring the most points on a Bird team since at least 2008, when the Skyhawks (6-1) beat Clover Hill 55-53.
“Very explosive,” said Clark, who spread the ball to six receivers. “We’re really strong up front. They opened up huge holes for Isaiah, and I don’t think I got touched in the backfield once. It definitely revolves around the offensive line. And we’ve got 10 or 12 guys we can throw the ball to who can make plays with it.”
The defense was equally impressive. It bottled up Bird running back Tre Mason, who came in averaging 211.2 yards. He had 72. The Lancers had several sacks, batted down passes and intercepted two.
They got a 94-yard punt return for a touchdown from
Tre Clark, who tracked the ball down after it sailed over his head, shook off a tackler and weaved his way to the end zone. He also had an interception.
“Both sides of the ball are great,” said defensive lineman Andre Crawley Jr., who along with fellow linemen Hakeem Beamon, Anthony Gary and Christian Williams made life miserable for the Skyhawks.
“Our defensive line, we’re just hectic. The linebackers, we all come together as one unit. … I like our chemistry a lot.”
With Clark (Notre Dame) and Beamon (Penn State) headed to big-time college programs, plus several other players who probably will play in Division I, Manchester has its best shot at a state championship. Class 6, though, has plenty of heavyweights, including three-time defending champ Westfield.
Conventional thinking is that a team needs to be challenged at some point in order to know how to react when it finds itself in a tight playoff game. On the unconventional hand, there’s nothing saying you can’t win every game by comfortable margins and never have to find out.
The Lancers know that most likely won’t be the case, especially with nemesis Colonial Forge potentially waiting in the Class 6, Region B playoffs. Colonial Forge has ended the Lancers’ season each of the past two years: 27-19 in 2016 and 48-27 last season.
“We’re going to [find] ourselves in [a close game] at some point,” Chappell said, “but I’m not going to ask for one.”
The game had a somber moment late in the first half when Bird’s Malik Randall was injured. He was immobilized and taken by ambulance to a hospital.
Manchester’s Isaiah Todd rushed 14 times for 115 yards in the Lancers’ 55-7 romp over visiting L.C. Bird.
NO. 2 MANCHESTER 55, NO. 5 L.C. BIRD 7