Manhattan Football thrashes Topeka West 59-0

Advith Natarajan, Staff Writer

After a sour defeat last week, Manhattan High football bounced back to beat Topeka West on Friday, improving their record to 6-1. 

“We played a lot better this week,” head coach Joe Schartz said. “We just harped on the fact that we wanted the kids to really tap into how they felt after they lost [to Washburn], and obviously that feeling was not comfortable. It wasn’t a fun experience so we had to get back to work and do everything we could in preparation, to make sure that we can avoid that feeling.”

The Indians offense was led by running back Vinny Smith, who ran for four touchdowns, including a 48-yard scamper on the first play of Manhattan’s first offensive drive. Smith has totaled 15 touchdowns so far this season. Senior Fullback Da’Shawn Edwards and junior running back DeAndre Aukland also found the endzone.

“We started out a little slower defensively,” Schartz said. “But once we got the ball we scored on the first play and were able to get a two point conversion, go up eight to nothing. And from that point forward, I think we handled them on both sides of the ball.”

The Manhattan defense, despite its slow start, was just as dominant. The defense compiled stop after stop, bottling up the Topeka West offense. Late in the first half, senior wide receiver and defensive back Joe Hall intercepted a pass but fumbled the ball as he fell to the ground. Luckily, senior defensive back Zach Hirschey was right there to scoop the ball up and take it to the endzone for a Manhattan touchdown. The defense continued their momentum into the second half, pitching their third shutout of the season.

“Their quarterback Malikai Berg was notable,” Schartz said. “He was able to get loose a few times, scrambling, but other than that, you know, we really shut down their run game and their passing game.”

Manhattan will be back on the road to take on Emporia next Friday to conclude the regular season.