NEW FRANKLIN TWP. — It’s never easy going against Manchester’s football team, especially on its home field.
A perennial state power within the small-school ranks, the Panthers were too much for Black River to handle in cruising to a 56-13 non-conference win Friday.
A member of the PAC-7 Conference, Manchester has won 19 league titles and has 20 state playoff appearances on its resume. The Panthers easily won last season’s game 41-14.
Blessed with a balanced offensive attack, Manchester (3-0) reached the end zone on just its fourth play when quarterback Pavin Parks found wideout Chandler Stahl in the right flat for a 24-yard score.
It was the fist of two touchdown connections for the pair. Parks finished 11-of-17 for 174 yards, while Stahl hauled in four catches for 51 yards.
Black River (1-2) answered with 5:06 left in the first quarter when All-Gazette running back Andrew Vaughn found paydirt on a 69-yard run. The 200-pound senior showed agility and speed by starting right, then cutting back left before going into high gear and outracing Manchester defenders.
“He’s one of the best running backs that we’ve played against in years,” 42nd-year Manchester coach Jim France said.
Vaughn finished with a game-high 205 yards on 25 caries for an impressive 8.2-yard average. Unfortunately for the Pirates, he was about their only bright spot on the night.
On Manchester’s first play of its ensuing possession, Parks threw a beautiful long ball down the right sideline that hit receiver Aaron Hoxworth (3 catches, 111 yards) in stride for a 65-yard score. After a successful point-after kick, the Panthers led 14-7 midway through the opening quarter.
After softening Black River’s defense with the pass, the Panthers went to the ground game, again scoring on the first play when running back Austin Klein (13 carries, 157 yards, 2 TDs) took an off-tackle handoff 79 yards untouched.
“Tonight was the best that we’ve played offensively this season,” France said. “We put the run together with the pass and it made it tough for them. We were also just more physical tonight, and that was the difference.”
The Pirates cut the deficit to 21-13 in the second quarter on a 3-yard keep by quarterback Brock Waltz (1-for-6, minus-1 yard, INT). The eight-play, 15-yard scoring drive was set up by an interception by linebacker Pat McIntyre.
It was the last score for Black River, but the Panthers were far from done, answering with two more touchdowns to take a 35-13 halftime lead.
Manchester continued to pour it on in the second half, and the Pirates couldn’t get anything going to keep up. Two lost fumbles (5 total) didn’t help their cause.
Black River allowed 309 rushing yards, but outside of Vaughn’s numbers amassed only 38 yards on 32 carries.
Its one pass completion, for minus-1 yard, didn’t happen until the fourth quarter on a screen pass to Vaughn that was snuffed out.
Pirates coach Al Young declined comment.
Contact Kenneth Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Manchester 56, Black River 13
BLACK RIVER 7 6 0 0 — 13
MANCHESTER 21 14 14 7 — 56
M — Chandler Stahl 24 pass from Pavin Parks (Matt Eidom kick), 8:57.
B — Andrew Vaughn 69 run (John Ternes kick), 5:06.
M — Aaron Hoxworth 65 pass from Parks (Eidom kick), 4:52.
M — Austin Klein 79 run (Eidom kick), 2:07.
B — Brock Waltz 3 run (kick failed), 5:48.
M — Mason Hayes 5 run (Eidom kick), 2:58.
M — Stahl 15 pass from Parks (Eidom kick), 0:36.
M — John Beavers 32 run (Eidom kick), 10:01.
M — Klein 1 run (Eidom kick), 8:42.
M — Dalton Earich 10 run (Eidom kick), 3:09.