By HO HOFFMAN
Special to The Gazette
SULLIVAN TWP. â€” Manchesterâ€™s football team ran its winning streak against Black River to four, drubbing the Pirates 50-12 Friday night in non-league action at Stevenson Field.
Since the series started in 2005, the Panthers (3-0) have also racked up wins of 35-7, 21-10 and 33-7.
â€œWeâ€™ve been pretty fortunate against River,â€ Manchester coach Jim France said. â€œThey bring out the best in us because we know the tradition here and the kind of teams Al Young puts on the field.
â€œTheyâ€™re down right now with all their injuries, but theyâ€™ll rebound.â€
Black River (0-3) found out Friday why the Panthers had outscored their first two opponents by a combined 69-27.
Manchester racked up 415 rushing yards on 50 carries and added another 69 yards passing.
â€œIn our previous two games we went into the locker room at halftime with 300 offensive yards,â€ France said. â€œWe have been concentrating on our running game to get ready for the PAC-7 season. We have to be able to run to win there.â€
The Panthers spread the ball around with Zac Kreakbaum (130 yards, 3 TDs), Aaron Hunter (119, TD) and Craig Daugherty (76, 1 TD) doing the bulk of the work.
A bright spot for the Pirates was the emergence of running back Matt Jopeck. The sophomore had a huge game, rushing for 200 yards on 21 carries, including scoring runs of 67 and 17 yards.
â€œJopeckâ€™s running and the work of the offensive line in opening up holes for him was a positive for us tonight,â€ Young said. â€œOffensively we had some nice drives going, but fumbles and poor execution always seemed to stop our momentum.â€
Right now, Young is just hoping his team can start to get healthy as it begins Patriot Athletic Conference play next week against Oberlin (3-0).
â€œWeâ€™ve got to work on our defense,â€ Young said. â€œThe offense is coming along.â€
UP NEXT: Black River (0-3) is home to Oberlin; Manchester (3-0) is at Triway.