Manchester Football Wins Home Opener

Junior quarterback Ty Horky scrambles against Grass Lake on Aug. 30. He led the team on Sept. 7 with 231 yards and 4 touchdowns.

By: Seth Kinker, 

The Manchester Flying Dutchmen won their home opener on Friday night, defeating the East Jackson Trojans, 37-22, on the new turf field that was installed during the offseason.

After traveling to Clinton in their season opener and Grass Lake last week, the Dutchmen were finally able to return home to break in their new field. Before the game, former head coach and athletic director Wes Gall and former Manchester football captains took part in the coin toss, walking out on the field with the current captains. At halftime, new Wall of Fame inductees were honored at midfield.

The game started out in just about the worst way possible for the Dutchmen, turning it over on their first play from scrimmage. The Trojans would score on that drive with 10:11 in the first quarter, senior running back Michael Brown would bounce a run outside for a 35-yard touchdown run, then Trojan junior quarterback Deven Varela got the two-point conversion on a draw.

Throughout the night, the Trojans kicked short on kickoffs, avoiding senior wide receiver Tommy Tremblay who has shown his ability on kickoff returns so far this season. The first touchdown drive for the Dutchmen was from their own 41-yard line. Junior running back Colin McCaffrey had two long runs on the drive to get the ball down to the Trojan 12-yard line, and after two more short runs and an incomplete pass it was fourth and goal from the three-yard line. Dutchmen junior quarterback Ty Horky rolled out to his right and found McCaffrey who took it in for the touchdown to make it 8-7 with 7:06 in the first.

Last season against the Trojans the Dutchmen won 42-20, rushing for 210 yards as then senior running back Paul Derheim averaged 17.1 yards per carry in their win with 120 yards.

Now with Derheim graduated, one of the goals at the beginning of this season was to get  McCaffrey going. As a sophomore, he was third on the team in rushing. This year, he is stepping more into the feature back role. Through three games he’s already surpassed his rushing total from last year and showed it on Aug. 7 as well.

Against the Trojans, McCaffrey rushed for a season-high 122-yards.

“ I knew I had good a start because the first two games I had 70-80 combined yards total,” said McCaffrey. “I knew it needed to start getting going for the offense to be successful, Ty’s good but we can’t be successful without a good run game. Tonight was a good start to getting that going in our first home game.”

When the first half ended, the Dutchmen were in the lead 29-8. They scored on three of their four remaining drives in the first half and defensively they forced a punt, recovered an onside kick, forced a turnover on downs, and got a pick.

On their second touchdown drive with 5:09 in the first quarter the Dutchmen drove 80-yards. It ended on a long catch and run from Tremblay; it was a second down from their own 41-yard line, a screen found Tremblay wide open and he outran the whole Trojan defense while stiff-arming one defender on the way. The Dutchmen got a two-point conversion run from McCaffrey to make it 15-8.

The Dutchmen would get the ball back on the next possession, Horky would make a leaping pick on a second down throw at the Dutchmen 34-yard line.

The next drive ended in a familiar connection, Horky found junior tight end Braeden Caszatt on a first down from the Trojan 41-yard line. Caszatt made the catch in a pocket of space around the 15-yard line and then ran it in the rest of the way, making it 22-8 with 11:52 left in the half.

On the ensuing kick-off, senior kicker River Spitler sent a pooch kick into an open patch on the field, no Trojans were in the area and Horky raced down and recovered the ball to make it first down on the Trojan 20-yard line. After a pass to sophomore Hayden Taylor got the ball down to the 1-yard line, Horky snuck it in to make it 29-8 with 11:20 left.

The Dutchmen defense would make a stop before halftime to keep the score 29-8, junior linebacker Nick Phillips sacked Varela on a fourth down.

Defensively the Dutchmen were led by senior Luther Westcott, who had 6.5 tackles. Sophomore Aiden Kelly turned in 5 while Phillips added another 4.5.

“I liked our enthusiasm, we came out stronger than what we did a week ago,” said Dutchmen head coach Mike Blumenauer. “It’s a week by week learning thing, with a lot of young guys, inexperienced guys. Just trying to build on that stuff. I liked our energy, our effort, enthusiasm in the first half. After that first drive, I thought we were good to go.”

After the Dutchmen defense held strong to force a turnover on downs on the opening second-half drive of the Trojans, the Dutchmen would score their last points on the next drive. would leave the game after that opening drive, taking a hard hit and wouldn’t return. Brown would take over at quarterback, running the ball from the wildcat for the remainder of the game.

Brown would rush for 106 yards and 3 touchdowns.

After a McCaffrey run and a pass to Caszatt got the ball to midfield for a first down, Horky found Westcott for the deep touchdown. Horky pump faked and then dropped in a perfect pass to Westcott between the cornerback and the safety for Westcott to take it in. the Dutchmen would score on the two-point conversion to make it 37-8 with 5:54 in the third quarter.

Horky was injured on the next Dutchmen drive and wouldn’t return with the Dutch comfortable in the lead. He finished 12-16 for 231 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception.

Tremblay led the Dutchmen receivers with six catches for 93-yards and a touchdown, Caszatt finished with 3-62 and a touchdown, and Westcott finished 3-57 with a touchdown.

The Trojans would score 14 more points to round out the scoring as the Dutchmen were able to play some younger players in the second half. Despite the production going down when the starters were out, Blumenauer told The Sun Times about what that playing time meant for some of the younger players on the team.

“I wanted to put them on the field,” said Blumenauer. “Now we got film on them, now we can have those guys learn too. Have them realize its not easy out there, I’m not concerned about the difference in scores in the halves. We got to get our guys out there and get film on them. They’re at practice competing too.”

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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