July 25, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Pirates pounced on by Panthers


Special to The Gazette

SULLIVAN TWP. — Manchester’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.

“We’ve been pretty fortunate against River,” Manchester coach Jim France said. “They bring out the best in us because we know the tradition here and the kind of teams Al Young puts on the field.

“They’re down right now with all their injuries, but they’ll rebound.”

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.

“In our previous two games we went into the locker room at halftime with 300 offensive yards,” France said. “We 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.”

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.

“Jopeck’s running and the work of the offensive line in opening up holes for him was a positive for us tonight,” Young said. “Offensively we had some nice drives going, but fumbles and poor execution always seemed to stop our momentum.”

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).

“We’ve got to work on our defense,” Young said. “The offense is coming along.”

UP NEXT: Black River (0-3) is home to Oberlin; Manchester (3-0) is at Triway.