Football advances on blocked PAT

Cole Schmitt, Online Editor-and-Chief

The Manhattan High football team defeated Garden City in the first round of the playoffs Friday night 21-20. The Indians secured the win after blocking a point after touchdown in the closing moments.

“We did see [the opportunity to block] on film,” head coach Joe Schartz said. “I had a premonition that it would come down to something like that. We needed to block that extra point. Basically, it just comes down to guts. The kids have got to get off and you’ve got to lay out.”

Senior quarterback Dayne Aschenbrenner was huge on the night. From carrying the team to a go ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, to blocking the PAT himself and playing safety on defense, he was in the majority of the game and making plays.

“He’s just a courageous leader and football player,” Schartz said. “He’s got a ton of experience, starting ever since he was a sophomore at quarterback and it’s a guy that we needed on the field at that time and he stepped up.”

The team was successful offensively when they were on the ground. Junior running back Vinny Smith and Ashenbrenner contributed to the big running standout. Smith, who just returned from injury, was ready to go for this matchup.

“It felt really good,” Smith said. “I was super excited being out there playing the sport I love and doing it with my brothers. Honestly, I was just fighting for every extra yard I could get. Some plays they had good opportunities at stopping us for short gain but I like to fight til I can’t go no more.” 

Manhattan will head South for round two this Friday to face off with Wichita East. In what could be their last game, or could be the game they receive a plaque for Regional Champions. A lot is on the line.

“We got to stay focused day in and day out and play for one another and not just ourselves,” Smith said. “As long as we can do that and everyone does their role, there’s no reason we can’t go far.”