MHS football set for quarterfinal matchup

Snowden’s game-winner kick seals Regional Championship


Advith Natarajan, Staff Writer

After a game-tying score by Gardner Edgerton late in the fourth quarter, the Manhattan offense had three minutes to drive down the field and win the game. With strong and consistent running gains from both junior Keenan Schartz and senior Vinny Smith, the Indians moved the chains play after play, burning clock in the process. The offense was able to get all the way down to Edgerton’s 5-yard line with 30 seconds remaining. However, after failing to score on two straight plays from inside the five, head coach Joe Schartz called timeout with 8.7 seconds remaining and called on senior kicker Grant Snowden. With the game on the line, Snowden stepped up to the occasion and split the uprights, winning the game 38-35 for Manhattan. 

“We’re down at the one, two-yard line and from that point it’s just a PAT,” Snowden said. “It’s just getting good reps at the net, practicing your steps, getting your footwork right and then when you get on the field, it’s just all about cancelling out the sound … all the booing, the yelling, all that stuff. So it’s just you, the ball, the snapper and the holder from that point on.”

The game was a low scoring battle to start, with both teams trading empty possessions. Manhattan made uncharacteristic errors, dropping passes and committing penalties on both sides of the ball. Nevertheless, touchdowns by senior receiver Joe Hall and running back Smith allowed Manhattan to tie the game at 14 heading into the half. 

“There were several times that we were in the endzone and they got called back and so you just have to keep fighting,” coach Schartz said. “You got to stay positive and battle for four quarters, and … that’s what we did.”

Luckily, Manhattan came out of the break with alacrity, scoring in the first 30 seconds courtesy of a Smith touchdown, giving Manhattan a 21-14 lead. From that point forward, it was an offensive battle. Every time Edgerton tied the game, Manhattan answered by taking the lead. With three minutes remaining, the Trailblazers tied the game at 35, but low and behold, Manhattan stole the lead right back with Snowden’s field goal to win the game. 

“It feels really good [to win], last year we lost this week, [in] round two,” Smith said. “[Edgerton] came out here they played hard and we had to fight back. So it feels great. We [are] just ready [to go] on to Lawrence.”

For Smith, however, the biggest takeaway was staying together. The team faced adversity throughout the game, whether it was calls not going their way or fighting amongst themselves over penalties. 

“We had some issues with … a lot of fighting with each other,” Smith said. “We need to cut that out because we got to play as a team if we’re going to keep winning.”

Manhattan will host Lawrence High next Friday at Bishop Stadium for a chance to compete at the 6A football semifinals.