MANHATTAN — Top-ranked Manhattan couldn’t have had a better homecoming game Friday night.
Led by senior quarterback Quinn McQueary, the Tigers racked up 398 yards in a 35-0 rout of Jefferson County High School in a District 5B contest.
“It’s definitely nice to win our homecoming game, especially my senior year,” receiver/defensive back Nate Vanderby said. “We thought we could shut them out.”
Heading into the game ninth-year Manhattan coach Dale McQueary was concerned about the amount of penalties the team has had. But the Tigers cleaned that up on Friday.
“Really we had only one that hurt us,” he noted. “I thought we played penalty-free. We got after it.”
Actually, their were three flags thrown on Manhattan. One was on a kickoff when the ball was booted out of bounds. Another was on a block in the back, and the third one, a holding call, erased a first down late in the first half.
“Quinn broke out of the pocket and got a first down,” coach McQueary said.
That penalty, which wound up being a 19-yard setback, pushed the Tigers back to Jefferson’s 34 yard line. On the ensuing the play Manhattan advanced the ball to the 14 when Quinn McQueary hooked up with Vanderby on a 20-yard pass. But his next pass fell incomplete on a fourth down play.
Quinn McQueary did move the ball down to the 15 on a 17-yard pass to Conner VanDyken before the penalty.
Manhattan (3-0, 1-0) scored on its first four possessions. The first score came on the opening drive, starting at the 20 yard line. The Tigers marched down to score on a 12-yard pass from Quinn McQueary to Brady VanDyken.
Quinn McQueary rushed for 21 yards and completed passes to Quade McQueary for an 8-yard gain and to VanDyke for a 27-yard gain.
The Tigers’ second scoring drive was set up on an interception by Quinn McQueary. From Jefferson’s 29, the offense needed just three plays to reach the end zone. The drive was capped on a 20-yard touchdown catch by Vanderby, who finished with four receptions for 80 yards in the contest.
The Tigers’ third drive began on Jefferson’s 44 after a failed fourth down attempt. It took 10 plays before VanDyken scored on 2-yard run 45 seconds into the second quarter.
Vanderby and Quinn McQueary hooked up for a 40-yard touchdown with 5:58 left in the first half to cap the scoring before halftime. The drive began on the Tigers’ 15 yard line.
Quade McQueary was on the receiving end of a Quinn McQueary pass for a 9-yard gain, then Jason Banks moved the Tigers to the 40 with a 16-yard run.
Manhattan’s defense also came up with big plays. In addition to Quinn McQueary’s interception, Conner VanDyken had a pick on the Tigers’ 26 yard line on Jefferson’s first drive of the second half. Quinn McQueary completed two passes to Conner VanDyken — one for a 4-yard gain and then a 6-yard gain. Michael Daines broke free for a 51-yard run, setting up Banks’ 3-yard touchdown run.
The Tigers took a 35-0 lead after Vanderby’s fifth extra point kick with 5:43 to play in the third quarter.
Jefferson’s first drive of the second half was the longest of the game for the Panthers. Coach McQueary noted his defense let down on that drive.
“You kind of relax a little bit, then all of a sudden you miss a couple tackles,” he said. “We did have a young kid (Cody McCloud) on that left side. But he made a great decision. He did his work.”
Coach McQueary added that coming off a big victory against defending state champion Fairfield may have contributed to the second half lull.
Still, the Tigers controlled the game in the trenches on both sides of the ball as Manhattan rolled to victory.
“It starts in the trenches,” lineman Daniel Lucht said. “This is where we learn. We had our ups and down in practice this week, but we ended it with this win.”
Quinn McQueary completed 12-of-21 passes for 198 yards. He also rushed for 50 of the Tigers’ 200 yards. Daines added 41 yards on the ground, while Banks, Brady and Conner VanDyken each had 28 yards.
Jefferson (1-2, 0-1) finished the game with 72 yards on the ground and 56 in the air after amassing just 28 total yards in the first half.
Manhattan 35, Jefferson 0
Jefferson 0 0 0 0 - 0
Manhattan 14 14 7 0 - 35
M - Brady VanDyken 12 pass from Quinn McQueary (Nate Vanderby kick), 7:43
M - Vanderby 20 pass from McQueary (Vanderby kick), 9:32
M - VanDyken 2 run (Vanderby kick), 11:15
M - Vanderby 40 pass from McQueary (Vanderby kick), 5:58
M - Jason Banks 3 run (Vanderby kick), 5:43