NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – The Manchester University football team dropped a hard-fought battle with visiting Trine University on Thursday night at Burt Field. Thursday’s contest was the season opener for both teams. Both the teams exhibited the best players from this roster, so it was a close competition.
Trine controlled the game in the opening half and led 24-0 at the intermission.
Midway through the third quarter the Spartans converted a 4th and Goal to get on the scoreboard. Senior quarterback Austin Roberts (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) found tight end Camron Canniff (Niles, Mich./Niles for a short five-yard score at the 8:44 mark of the third period.
After a Thunder score put Trine up 31-7 heading into the fourth quarter, the Spartans began to claw their way back into the ballgame. Facing a third and four, Roberts broke loose for a 48-yard touchdown carry that pushed the score to 31-14.
Conner Sherwin (Pierceton, Ind./Whitko) forced a fumble, the second fumble forced by the Spartans of the half, at the 10:59 mark of the fourth quarter to halt a Thunder drive. The Spartans pieced together an eight play, 63-yard drive that lasted just under four minutes. The drive was capped by a two-yard run by running back Donavan Henderson, Jr. (Hollywood, Fla./Hollywood Hills). Andrew Kibler’s (Cape Coral, Fla./Mariner) extra point got the Spartans within 10 (31-21) with 7:00 left in the game.
The Thunder responded and managed to score one final time after an eight play, 66-yard drive that chewed up five minutes of clock.
Trine won Thursday’s contest by a final score of 38-21.
For Trine, quarterback Austin Winters completed 13-of-19 passing attempts and threw for 206 yards and two TDs. Running back Dylan Dowling rushed for 92 yards and three touchdowns.
The Spartans were led by the play of Austin Roberts. Roberts threw for a score and rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown.
Darren Lathrop (Lafayette, Ind./McCutcheon) caught three passes for 57 yards. Conner Sherwin led the Manchester defense with 13 tackles and one sack.
Manchester (0-1) will host Alma College next weekend on Saturday September 14 at Burt Field. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.