MANNING - Any concerns about Manning High School's football team being distracted by Senior Night activities or a look ahead to a region title tilt next Friday at Bishop England were squashed early on Friday. The Monarchs built a 27-0 lead after one …
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MANNING - Any concerns about Manning High School's football team being distracted by Senior Night activities or a look ahead to a region title tilt next Friday at Bishop England were squashed early on Friday. The Monarchs built a 27-0 lead after one quarter and thrashed Hanahan 53-6 at Ramsey Stadium.
The win pushed Manning's Region VIII-3A record to 4-0 and overall record to 5-3, while Hanahan dropped to 1-7 and 1-3.
The tone was set on the game's opening play as Hanahan quarterback Johnathan Shelton put the ball on the turf. Bobby Allen came away with the recovery, setting the Monarchs up at the Hawks' 27-yard line. Aaron Smith began what would be another big night on the ground with a 17-yard run to open the drive and closed the drive four plays later with a 2-yard touchdown run. Don Hilton added a 16-yard run to help set up Smith's score after a penalty had pushed Manning back to the 22.
Other first-quarter scores came on a 5-yard Marlik Davis run, a 7-yard Justin Daniels run and a 30-yard Trent Brown interception return, which came with 2:45 to go in the period.
"We just felt like we needed to get off to a good start, and that's one of the things we've been talking about for the past couple of weeks," said Manning head coach Reggie Kennedy. "We've been able to do that for the last three weeks, and it's good to get out front and make the other team play from behind. That's good for us, especially playing at home, and that's one of the things we kind of dwelt on last week (after a 47-22 Homecoming victory over Waccamaw), learning how to win at home. We didn't win at home earlier in the season, but we're starting to do that here now."
Manning's offense continued to click on all cylinders in the second quarter, putting up points on a 4-yard Davis run, a 48-yard Smith run and a 7-yard Daniels run. Smith closed the half, and his night, with 223 yards on 11 carries, adding rushes of 51, 38, and 22 yards twice to his 48-yard scoring run.
"He made some good runs there early for us," Kennedy said. "The last couple of weeks, to be honest with you, he's been kind of like our fourth-string tailback. When you've got your fourth-string tailback doing that, that means your O-line is doing a pretty good job up front. I can't forget about the guys up front. They've continued to develop all season, and they're getting a lot better now than they were four weeks ago."
The second half was contested in 10-minute quarters with a running clock, limiting the teams to two possessions apiece. Manning took the opening kickoff and drove 63 yards in 11 plays, with Davis rushing six times for 33 yards to help set up a 6-yard Jaleel Myers touchdown run, stretching the Monarch lead to 53-0 after a Marquise Cubit point-after kick.
Cubit connected on five of his eight conversion kicks but made up for the misses with a 55-yard punt in the first half. The clutch punt came after Daniels was forced to fall on the ball at his 5 after a high snap on a third-down play.
The only drama left was whether or not the defense could maintain the shutout. With the Hakws driving late, a Hanahan timeout with 35 seconds on the clock proved to be the difference. Stopping the clock gave Hanahan just enough time to get Josh Shaw into the end zone on a 3-yard run just seconds before the final gun.
"Our motto is defense wins championships, and we kind of said that all week," Kennedy said. "We didn't really like the way we played last week (giving up 22 points after building a 34-0 lead). We felt like last week we bent, and we didn't feel like we played our best defensive football last week, so we wanted to come out and redeem ourselves this week. I just want our kids to play well. You just want to be playing well this time of year, and you want the kids to still be having fun this time of year."
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