NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – After every home game on Carl W. Burt Memorial Field, fans see the Manchester University football team circle up in front of the home stand and sing the school fight song. On Saturday, Oct. 29, the rendition was different.
Loudly and proudly the Black and Gold belted out the tune … this time it happened on the heels of a victory.
MU played host to a struggling Earlham College team, executing almost flawlessly in all areas in route to a 65-13 final. The victory, occurring in front of better than 1,000 happy Black and Gold fans, was not only the first win for the Spartans this year but also the first for Coach Nate Jensen. Jensen showed obvious relief post-game remarking “Finally … we’ve been so stinking close in so many games. We were due for an explosion.”
There was no denying MU found that explosion. Offensively, the Spartans rushed for 450 yards being spread between multiple backs with sophomore Lucas Lorian (Reelsville, Ind.) and senior Brenner Cruce (North Judson, Ind.) leading the way with 138 yards and 123 yards, respectively. Freshman Donovan Henderson (Hollywood, Fla.) chipped in with 51 yards. Manchester University had success passing the ball as well. Freshman Alex Downard(Indianapolis, Ind.) started the game and finished with 94 yards throwing as part of an afternoon in which he compiled better than 150 yards of total offense.
On the defensive side, the Spartans didn’t allow Earlham much headway on the ground although the Quakers did throw for 266 yards. Junior Jack Kay (Williamsport, Ind.) led the way with six tackles, while senior Dan Heim (Goshen, Ind.) led the way in the sacks category with three. Heim attributed the success to the defensive backs, remarking “the guys behind us gave us time to get after the quarterback.”
Although Earlham only put up 13 points, they did have some offensive highlights. Junior quarterback Wes Hundley had a strong performance, throwing for 194 yards, rushing for 42, and even returning kicks for 88 yards. “Playing quarterback, I know where everyone goes,” he said. “It’s a different perspective in other areas, but we have plenty of guys that aren’t playing their normal positions. We all love it and work for it.”
EC coach Nick Johnson was proud of his squad and its effort.
“Sometimes when it gets that bleak, teams will play to the scoreboard,” he added. “Our team didn’t do that, evident by this guy (Wes Hundley) throwing a touchdown pass at the end.” Johnson, in his second year at the helm added he’s looking forward to growing the program in coming years.
The Spartans look to carry the momentum gained from the victory into next week as Burt Field will play host to Hanover College Saturday, Nov. 5. The home finale is spotlighted by Senior Day 2016 festivities.