Senior staff writer
Manual’s football team has the opportunity to have its best season in 12 years even though the Redskins are caught in a three-game losing skid.
By winning its last two regular-season games, Manual (3-4) can equal its five-win season in 2004 even after Scottsburg (4-2) handed the Redskins a disappointing homecoming loss 25-13 Friday night at Ray Schultz Field.
“Our kids have to believe,” said second-year Manual coach Robert Ordman. “The challenge is to get our kids to understand that we have hit a roadblock; we can get on a two-game winning streak and continue to change the culture.”
The Redskins (3-4), as Ordman noted, are trying to find their football identity.
They discovered it during the first half against the visiting Warriors as their offense scored two touchdowns and held Scottsburg to 52 yards of offense. The Redskins rushed for 111 yards in the half.
Manual scored first when senior Richard Markle intercepted a pass on the 25 and returned it for a touchdown. Later in the first quarter Manual senior linebacker Domonic Halbert blocked a punt to set up the Redskins’ second TD four plays later. Sophomore Keshawn Range scored on a 26-yard pass play for a 13-0 lead.
Scottsburg cut the lead to 13-10 by halftime; the Redskins were in control until the second half.
The Warriors took the lead on a 22-yard TD pass in the third period and extended their winning margin with a safety and TD run in the fourth stanza.
Scottsburg controlled the football for 14 of 24 minutes in the second half. The Redskins were plagued with 115 yards in penalties in the game.
“That’s been our Achilles’ heel all year,” Ordman said. “We would move the ball but then we would do something to move the ball backwards. We are starting to see improvement in our run game … we still haven’t found our identity yet.”
Ordman and the Redskins were disappointed that they didn’t bring home a win during homecoming.
“This hurts because it was homecoming,” he said. “Two years ago we had low attendance and the alumni got behind the program. The alumni are starting to enliven our football program, and we kind of feel we disappointed them.”
Ordman said he believes that junior quarterback Coadie Barnett continues to improve, which allows the running game with Range and D’Angelo Dean to improve. Defensively, Rodman said a couple of blown coverages helped Scottsburg’s passing game, which resulted in two touchdowns and 153 yards in the air.
Thirty-six players were suited up Friday, including seven seniors, giving rise for an experienced squad in 2017.