MANHATTAN — Eighth-ranked Fairfield scored the game’s first three touchdowns en route to a 35-7 victory against Manhattan Friday night, spoiling the Tigers’ homecoming festivities.
Quarterback Dalton Palmer ran for three touchdowns for the Eagles and threw for two more in the victory. He had scoring runs of 6 and 15 yards in the fourth quarter to seal Fairfield’s win.
Manhattan (2-3) not only lost the game but tight end/defensive lineman Gavin DeJong as well. The 6-foot-7 senior left after suffering a season-ending leg injury.
“That is definitely going to be a huge loss,” Manhattan assistant coach and defensive coordinator Chris Grabowska said. “But my challenge will be who will step up and replace Gavin. This happens in football. You just need some young player to step up and take his place.”
Fairfield (3-1) scored in each of the first three quarters en route to a 20-0 lead. The Eagles rushed for 212 yards and tallied 383 total yards.
Manhattan’s Brock Bitterman was 20-of-30 for 136 yards and three interceptions. The Tigers also rushed for 100 yards in the contest.
Grabowska felt that the Tigers played very well considering all that has happened with the program since the Manhattan School District placed head coach Dale McQueary on paid administration leave.
“In spite of every thing that is going on the kids did very well,” he said. “It’s really hard not having your offensive coordinator and head coach. And on my side of the ball my linebackers coach. But I think the kids are battling on despite of what’s going on.”
Manhattan’s lone touchdown came on a 1-yard run by Bitterman in the third quarter.
Fairfield 35, Manhattan 7
Fairfield 7 6 8 14 - 35
Manhattan 0 0 7 0 - 7
F - Drew Oveson 56 pass from Dalton Palmer (Morgan Schenk kick)
F - Palmer 1run (kick failed)
F - Oveson 3 pass from Palmer (Austin Batson pass from Palmer)
M - Brock Bitterman 1 run (Quade McQueary kick)
F - Palmer 6 run (Schenk kick)
F - Palmer 15 run (Schenk kick)