Corban Johnson had a big game on both sides of the ball, the defense forced four turnovers, including a pick-six, and Tate Bowler threw a touchdown pass on a trick play Friday night as Manhattan routed Columbus in a league clash.
The Tigers set the tone with a methodical drive after receiving the opening kickoff, and then broke the game open in the second quarter en route to a 58-6 Southern B victory.
The 17-play opening drive covered 68 yards, produced four first downs, and ate up much of the first quarter.
“The plan was to keep their offense off the field and that worked out in the first quarter,” Manhattan coach Chris Grabowska said. “We went down and scored and there was maybe like four and half minutes in the quarter after the score. We just wanted to establish our ground game and get that going, and then as the game went on they started stacking the box and we were able to get some big plays on them.”
With the Cougars focused on trying to contain Manhattan’s ground game, Tate Bowler, a senior transfer from Belgrade, threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Johnson on a wide receiver pass in the third quarter to stretch the lead to 36-6.
“We worked on that all week. We had a reverse pass. It was fun,” said Grabowska. “We wanted to get Tate involved a little bit in the game and that’s how we were able to do it.”
It was one of several highlights for Johnson, who scored three touchdowns and intercepted three passes in the secondary. In the first half the junior reached the endzone on a 53-yard pass from Caden Holgate, and he returned one of the interceptions 45 yards for a score in the third quarter.
“He’s a player that’s stepped up this year. He’s done a great job on both sides of the ball for us,” said Grabowska. “He’s a high level elite player, and he’s stepped up his game big time.”
Johnson finished with five receptions for 144 yards, while Bowler had three catches for 56.
Holgate continued to shine at quarterback, completing 10 of 13 passes for 185 yards while rushing for 50. The senior capped the opening drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.
The Tigers (5-0, 3-0 Southern B) rushed for 208 yards led by Toby Veltkamp. The senior carried the ball eight times for 86 yards with scoring runs of 2 and 46 yards.
Isaac Richardson and Austin Devers also reached the endzone on short touchdown runs.
“I thought our execution was fantastic in all phases of the game,” said Grabowska. “Our kids came ready to play, they prepared well all week, and just execution was at a high level. Just really proud of how they played.”
Manhattan is back in action Oct. 9 hosting Big Timber.
Manhattan 58, Columbus 6
Manhattan 8 20 22 8 - 58
Columbus 0 6 0 0 - 0
Man - Caden Holgate 2 run (Toby Veltkamp run)
Man - Veltkamp 2 run (Veltkamp run)
Man - Corban johnson 53 pass from Holgate (PAT failed)
Man - Isaac Richardson 3 run (PAT failed)
Col - Scoring play unavailable
Man - Johnson 52 pass from Tate Bowler (Holgate run)
Man - Veltkamp 46 run (Johnson pass from Holgate)
Man - Johnson 45 interception return (Logan Vasarella run)
Man - Austin Devers 4 run (PAT failed)