MANHATTAN — Friday night the Manhattan Tigers locked up their second undefeated regular season in three years. The Tigers capped another 8-0 regular season with a 61-12 District 5B rout of Big Timber on Senior Night.
Manhattan will now host Eureka in a first round State B playoff game Saturday at 1 p.m.
“Last year we had that tough loss to Fairfield that kept us from going undefeated,” junior running back/linebacker Brady VanDyken noted. “It feels good go undefeated.”
Manhattan (8-0, 5-0) coach Dale McQueary challenged his team to play better in the first half, and it paid off as the Tigers put up 47 points through the first 24 minutes of play.
“For the past two games we’ve been coming out ad not playing well,” senior lineman Daniel Lucht said. “Coach challenged us to go out and play better. We rose to the occasion. We were pumped up.”
McQueary noted his team watched some highlights from the past few games before coming out to play. He wanted his players to see what wasn’t working properly.
“We wanted to come out and play at our level,” said McQueary. “Nothing against Big Timber. We didn’t want to play at their level. Big Timber is young and starts a lot of young players. I remember those years. When Quinn (McQueary) was a freshman we started a lot of young guys. We won only four games that year.”
McQueary added that if the Tigers are going to make a run at the state championship they need to perform better in the first half of games.
The Tigers scored on their first and second possessions, and had great field position throughout the contest. They started at their own 36 on the first possession of the game. Manhattan got the ball on its own 41 on the second possession. Then, after freshman Alex Nehring’s fumble recovery, the Tigers started on Big Timber’s 33.
Safety/quarterback Quinn McQueary recovered another Big Timber fumble on the one yard line. Then Brock Bitterman fell on a third Big Timber fumble on the 19 later in the frame.
Manhattan needed eight plays to score its first touchdown on a 4-yard run by Quinn McQueary. The senior completed a pair of passes on the drive to Connor VanDyken for a 11 yard gain and to younger brother Quade for another 11 yards. Quinn McQueary also ran the ball 13 yards, which set up the pass to Quade McQueary. VanDyken added a 13-yard gain.
Connor VanDyken caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Quinn McQueary to cap a 59-yard drive that started on the 41. Brady VanDyken capped off a five play drive with an 8-yard score after Nehring’s fumble recovery.
Quinn McQueary scored on a 1-yard run after the Herders’ second fumble. That score gave the Tigers a 26-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
“I thought we came out and executed very well,” said Connor VanDyken, a running back/defensive back. “Our line did a good job. We were focused.”
“I thought we executed very well tonight, offensively and defensively,” added coach McQueary. “We played very well tonight.”
Manhattan scored six seconds into the second quarter with Quinn McQueary connecting with Gavin DeJong for a 19-yard score. The Tigers went on to score two more touchdowns en route to a 47-0 halftime lead.
Manhattan to a 55-0 lead when Michael Daines broke free down the left sideline for a 55-yard touchdown early in the third quarter.
Big Timber (1-7, 0-5) did scored twice in the third quarter. Both touchdowns came against the Tigers’ second string defense. Manhattan played the entire second half with its back ups in the contest.
“That was great to get them in there to play,” said coach McQueary. “They did a good job.”
The second string defense blocked both of the Herders’ PAT attempts.
Manhattan racked up 364 total yards with 298 coming on the ground. Brady VanDyken rushed for 112 yards on eight carrier. Connor VanDyken caught four passes for 36 yards. Quinn McQueary was 6-for-10 passing for 66 yards.
Manhattan held Big Timber to 126 total yards.
The Tigers will host Eureka in a first round playoff game Saturday at 1 p.m.
Manhattan 61, Big Timber 12
Big Timber 0 0 12 0 - 12
Manhattan 26 21 14 0 - 61
M - Jason Banks 4 run (kick blocked), 8:21
M - Connor VanDyken 4 pass from Quinn McQueary (pass failed), 3:36
M - Brady VanDyken 8 run (Nate Vanderby kick), 1:02
M - McQueary 1 run (Vanderby kick), :40
M - Gavin DeJong 19 pass from McQueary (run failed), 11:54
M - McQueary 1 run (Connor VanDyken run), 10:32
M - Connor VanDyken 5 run (Vanderby kick), 5:25
M - Michael Daines 55 run (Rodney Wiersema run), 10:47
BT - Chance Wessel 5 run (kick blocked), 6:55
BT - Walker LaVoy 2 run (kick blocked), 2:01
M - Vanderby 95 kickoff return (run failed), 1:45