Facing the No. 1 quarterback prospect in the entire nation, the Many defense didn’t blink as they thwarted Arch Manning and Isidore Newman in a 25-17 win Friday.
In the most anticipated regular season game in John W. Curtis Stadium history in which fans started tailgating the night before, the Tigers fended off a late Greenies charge that included stopping Manning’s two-minute drill to hold on.
The game, which featured the Class 2A No. 1 Tigers vs. the No. 2 Greenies, had all the makings of a contest worthy of statewide attention – North Louisiana vs. South Louisiana, select vs. non-select, a handful of top prospects on each side. The game did not disappoint.
The Tigers started quickly, recovering the opening kickoff after the Greenies return specialist didn’t field it.
It took the Tigers three plays from 19 yards out to score first. Trent Williams punched it in from 10 yards, and the Tigers led 7-0 just 59 seconds in.
“We got off to a great start, and it was huge for us to get on the board after the recovering the kickoff,” said Many coach Jess Curtis. “This was a championship-level test against the best quarterback in the country.
“We know if we continue to improve, we can play in the big one at the end of the year.”
The rest of the first quarter turned into a defensive battle for both teams. The athletic Many defense pressured Manning and had him running for his life. Manning started 0-9 passing.
“We really wanted to play (Manning) differently,” Curtis said. “Most team will play coverage and give him time to pick them apart. We wanted to rush him and make him uncomfortable. We held them to 90 yards of offense, so I’m very proud of that group.”
At the 10:24 mark of the second quarter, the Tigers added to their lead on a Jeremiah James 1-yard touchdown run to cap off a 7-play, 32-yard drive. The drive started after another Tiger three-and-out and a short Newman punt.
The Tigers botched the extra point kick but Sean Mitcham turned that into two points, running into the end zone with the mishandled snap. The Tigers led 15-0.
The Greenies’ first points came after a miscue by Curtis mishandling a punt deep in Tiger territory. The botched attempt set up Newman at the Tigers 11-yard line.
But Swayze Carheel tackled a Newman running back for a 4-yard loss on first down, and after two Manning incompletions, the Greenies kicked a 32-yard field goal to bring the score to 15-3 at the 7:46 mark of the second quarter.
“We were able to get a touchdown off their special teams mistake, and it was important for us to hold them to a field goal after our special teams mistake,” Curtis said.
After another strong Newman defensive effort, the Greenies started a drive from their own 36-yard line.
Manning finally completed his first pass for five yards, then his second pass for 25 yards, and finished the drive with his third completion from nine yards out to bring the score to 15-10 by halftime.
Manning ended the half-completing 3 out 12 passes for 39 yards and 1 touchdown. The Greenies defense also held the Tigers vaunted rushing attack to under 100 yards in the first half.
The third quarter started in typical Many fashion. The Tigers took 5:54 off the clock with a methodical 11-play, 73-yard drive. The drive culminating with a 3-yard James touchdown.
James accounted for 55 of those yards on seven carries to extend Many’s lead to 22-10. He finished with 97 rushing yards on 23 carries and a pair of scores.
Carheel ended the next Greenie possession with a huge sack of Manning for an 11-yard loss. He and Jakorrean Smart pressured Manning all night from the defensive line.
Many turned yet another short field into points with a Deacon Lafollette 30-yard field goal to lead 25-10 late in the third quarter. The field goal was set up by a 29-yard Tackett Curtis run as he finished with 85 rushing yards. Many totaled 314 yards on the ground.
Manning started to get hot and completed passes on the Greenies next possession. The 58-yard drive ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass to make the score 25-17 with 10:36 left.
But the Many defense didn’t bend from there despite the Newman defense giving the offense several more chances.
A Trent Williams sack ended one drive, and Newman got one more chance after stuffing Many on a fourth-and-goal from the 1.
With 1:16 remaining and 99 yards from a tie, Manning mustered just one 15-yard completion before Many sacked him on fourth down to end the game.
11:01 M – Trent Williams 10 run (Lafollette kick)
10:24 M – Jeremiah James 1 run (Mitcham run)
7:46 N – 29 field goal
0:58 N – Arch Manning 9 pass (kick good)
6:06 M – James 3 run (Lafollette kick)
0:20 M – Lafollette 30 field goal
10:36 N – Manning 5 pass (kick good)
M – 314 (67 plays)
N – 90 (43 plays)
M – Curtis 0-2-0
N – Manning 8-22-98 yards
M – James 23-97-2 TD’s, Garner 15-95, Curtis 9-85, Williams 5-20-1 TD, McLendon 3-5, Aldredge 3-2
N – 16-(-8)
M – Curtis 5, Tylen Singleton 5, Jakorrean Smart 4
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