It's been 12 years since Manning football last won a region title, and the Monarchs hope to put an end to that streak when they travel to Charleston to face Bishop England on Friday night.
Manning improved to 4-0 in Region 3A-VII play with a 53-6 …
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Manning improved to 4-0 in Region 3A-VII play with a 53-6 victory over Hanahan last Friday. Aaron Smith enjoyed his second consecutive 200-yard rushing game, and Trent Brown recorded 10 tackles, a sack, and returned an interception for a touchdown in the Monarchs' victory.
Smith has ran for nearly 500 yards and scored seven touchdowns in Manning's past two games.
"That's a big win for us," said Manning head coach Reggie Kennedy. "We wanted to stay on track to win a region championship, and we knew that was going to be a big game for us this past Friday. The kids came out and did a great job for us."
Meanwhile, Bishop England defeated Georgetown 37-14 on Friday to improve to 4-0 in region action as well. The Battling Bishops have outscored their Region 3A-VII opponents 168-41 in their four victories.
"They're a well-coached team," said Kennedy. "One of the things I noticed on film is that they are fundamentally sound in all three phases of the game. They do a lot on offense, and they have a quarterback that has a big arm. They also have a strong kicking game."
Manning will look to their offensive line to lead the way again this week. The unit has helped the Monarchs dominate on the ground regardless of who they line up in the backfield. First it was Caleb Wright, but when Wright went down with an injury two weeks ago Smith -- who usually lines up at wide receiver -- stepped in at running back and the Monarchs have yet to miss a beat.
"Our offensive line is playing really well up front right now," said Kennedy. "Our offensive line play has improved tremendously over the last four weeks."
If they can handle BE the way they've handled the rest of the region then the Monarchs may get to cross off one of their big goals coming into the season; something that seemed very unlikely before region play began.
"When we were kinda down, I just told the kids to keep their eyes on the big prize, that's region play," said Kennedy. "We felt like we could win the region, and the way the bracket falls for the playoffs, it gives us home field advantage all the way through. So, it was a kinda top goal, but our number one goal is to win the state championship, and we felt like this was a major part of that process."
Manning has lost in the first round of the playoffs each of the past three seasons. A win on Friday ensures a home game against a weaker opponent, and gives Kennedy and the seniors on the team a chance to experience a new kind of success.
"It will mean a whole lot to our team, and mean a whole lot more to our seniors," said Kennedy. "Just to have the opportunity, at this level, to compete for a region championship. That's one of the things that I set out each year, that I want my kids to experience success, and hopefully if they experience success now it will carry over into everyday life."
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