By Seth Kinker, email@example.com
The Manchester Flying Dutchmen Football team fell to the Grass Lake Warriors on Thursday, August 30. The Dutchmen couldn’t overcome a slow start, allowing two rushing touchdowns in the first five minutes as the Warriors won 34-16.
In last week’s lost to Clinton, the Dutchmen couldn’t overcome their own mistakes, they dropped three or four passes that could have been touchdowns. This week, the Dutchmen couldn’t overcome themselves once again.
After their first two drives ended in punts, the Dutchmen defense forced a Warrior punt, getting the ball back with 1:45 remaining in the first quarter on their own 14-yard line. They got to the Warrior 25-yard line but couldn’t convert a fourth and one play that ended with junior quarterback Ty Horky getting sacked.
The Dutchmen got on the board with 5:23 remaining in the first half. After the defense forced a three and out, a facemask penalty on the punt gave them excellent field position on their own 48-yard line. A Horky scramble took the ball to the Warrior 29-yard line. A pass to senior tight end Braeden Caszatt moved them to the Grass Lake 16-yard line. A run from junior running back Colin McCaffrey with a strong second effort moved the ball to the one-yard line and Horky snuck it in on the next play to make it 14-7.
Horky finished 21-36 for 272 yards and an interception, he also added 37 yards rushing and one touchdown.
On the following possession, the Warriors marched right down the field, culminating in a 25-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Sean Hickey to senior wide receiver Donovan Beach to make it 21-7 Warriors.
Last season, Hickey threw for 231 yards and no scores, this year, he threw for only 135 yards but had three touchdowns through the air.
With 3:30 remaining in the half the Dutchmen looked to score after senior wide receiver Tommy Tremblay returned the ball to their own 44-yard line. Tremblay almost broke free on a couple occasions on kick-off returns, averaging 22-yards a return on three kick returns.
After getting the ball down to the Warrior eight-yard line, a pick was thrown with 21 seconds remaining to end the threat before halftime to keep the score at 21-7 in favor of the Warriors.
“We can’t make mistakes in the red zone, that’s what it boils down to,” said Manchester head coach Mike Blumenauer.
In the third quarter, after punting then forcing a punt, the Dutchmen took over with 6:56 on their own 47-yard line. Junior wide receiver Luther Westcott made a double move and Horky found him on the sideline down to the Warrior 24-yard line. A Horky run on the next play would move the ball to the five-yard line, but the Dutchmen would hurt themselves again. A hold moved them back and they had to settle for a field goal with 5:19 left in the third by senior kicker River Spitler to make the score 21-10.
Hickey hit junior wide receiver Winston Higgins for another long pass touchdown, a 38-yard strike down the seam on the next drive to make it 28:10 with 3:51 remaining in the third quarter.
After a Manchester fumble that gave the Warriors the ball on the Dutchmen 45-yard line, the defense held stout, ending with a Tremblay pass breakup on a deep pass to force a punt with 1:29 in the third. Westcott was able to block the punt, blowing past his man to give the Dutchmen the ball at the Grass Lake 38-yard line.
The Dutchmen converted a fourth down on that drive and McCaffrey was able to punch it in from close, the Dutchmen wanted to attempt a two-point conversion, but two consecutive penalties moved the ball backwards, forcing an extra point attempt instead that was no good. The Warriors still led 28-16 early in the fourth quarter.
A comeback attempt was put to bed late in the fourth. The Dutchmen defense forced another three and out, taking over at their own 15-yard line with 8:14 remaining. Horky sold a pass to the flat before finding Westcott over the top to move the ball to their own 49-yard line. Later in the drive Horky found Tremblay for a 29-yard pass down to the Warrior eight-yard line. The drive ended in the red zone with a turnover once again – this time on a mishandled snap on third and goal that the Warriors recovered
Grass Lake would add one more late touchdown as they won 34-16.
“We started off really slow,” said Blumenauer. “Gave up those two quick scores and felt like we weren’t even really playing at that point. Once we got that drive going when it was 14-6 we started playing and battling, we need to do that from the git go. That’s what were gonna focus on this upcoming week and try and put it together.”
Turnovers and penalties were key in this contest, the Dutchmen had two fumbles and the pick along with 11 penalties for 90 yards.
Despite the mistakes, the Dutchmen outgained the Warriors in total yardage, 361-262 and won the time of possession battle.
McCaffrey led the Dutchmen in rushing with 52 yards and a touchdown. Tremblay led the Dutch with nine catches and 91 yards, Westcott finished with three catches for 69 yards, Caszatt had six catches for 57 yards, and sophomore wide receiver Hayden Taylor had three catches for 55 yards.
Defensively, junior linebacker Nick Phillips led the Dutchmen with nine tackles, Westcott added four, and senior defensive end Nikolai Rovenko added four tackles with two sacks.
The Dutchmen have their home opener next Friday against East Jackson.