Manhattan’s offensive line was just too strong up front, and the Tigers executed their assignments just too well.
Manhattan established its rushing attack, which amassed 487 yards, and defeated Florence 54-14 at home on Friday night to open its season.
Tigers head coach Chris Grabowska said his team was sound in all three phases and took advantage of Florence’s mistakes early on. But he was especially impressed by his offensive linemen and their physicality.
Those linemen set up the Tigers to thrive when running the ball. Garrit Weeda totaled three rushing touchdowns and a game-high 205 yards, and Lane Veltkamp added a pair of touchdowns and 182 yards on the ground while throwing for another two.
“Our O-line played extremely well. We were able to run the ball a lot tonight,” Grabowska said. “We were able to open up some holes. They imposed their will on the other team tonight and were fundamentally sound and executed their assignments all night long.”
But Grabowska told the Tigers after the game not to be complacent. They next host Three Forks, which lost to Powell County 33-0 Friday. In order to execute their assignments as they did this week, the Tigers will have to win with their preparation in the days leading up to their next game.
“I think it sets the tone for the rest of the year,” Grabowska said of the season-opening win. “Our kids know what they want to get accomplished and over time were able to come out and do that. That was really impressive. They can only get better from here.”
Wolves shut out by Powell County 33-0
Both teams had their struggles in the first half with the wet conditions on a rain-soaked field, but the Wardens managed to take a 6-0 lead into halftime.
Powell County (1-1) then tallied 27 points in the second half en route to shutting out Three Forks.
Matt DeLong rushed for more than 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the contest, while Brodey Freeman, Rowdy White and quarterback Judd Applegate were also key contributors offensively.
“The boys came out and did a phenomenal job after halftime regrouped and made some adjustments,” Wardens coach Corey Freeman told 406mtsports.com. “We came out with more energy, we down in the red zone many times in the first half, and we couldn’t finish, we did in the second.”
Three Forks coach Connor Sullivan did not return a phone call seeking comment.
— Belgrade News Sports Editor Dan Chesnet contributed to this story.
Manhattan 54, Florence 14
Florence na na na na - 14
Manhattan na na na na - 54
Man - Garrit Weeda 2 run (Jose Molina kick)
Man - Lane Veltkamp 11 run (Molina kick)
Man - Weeda 9 run (kick failed)
Man - Weeda 1 run (Veltkamp run)
Flo - Levi Posey 70 pass from Colby Kohlman (kick good)
Man - Veltkamp 2 run (Molina kick)
Flo - Blake Shoupe 20 pass from Kohlman (kick good)
Man - Kyle Hotvedt 5 pass from Veltkamp (Weeda run)
Man - Gabriel Delgatty 8 pass from Veltkamp (Molina kick)
Man - Caden Holgate 18 run (Molina kick)
Powell County 33, Three Forks 0
Powell County 0 6 14 13 - 33
Three Forks 0 0 0 0 - 0
Scoring plays not provided.