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Wabash County Sports

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Southwood Wins JH Football Battle Over Manchester


The Southwood junior high football team defeated Manchester 26-22 Tuesday.

1st Quarter: Southwood started the game on the right foot, receiving the ball and wasting no time reaching the end zone. #24, Kaden Valdez, found a hole in the defense and sprinted an impressive 82 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, leaving Southwood ahead 6-0. However, Manchester responded quickly with a swift drive of their own. A quick screen to #18 for Manchester resulted in a 61-yard touchdown run. The PAT kick was successful, and Manchester took the lead at 8-6. The game continued to deliver excitement as #30, Pancho Lopez, returned the ensuing kickoff for 85 yards, putting Southwood back in the lead at 12-8. The two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful. While Southwood’s defense managed to slow down Manchester’s offense, they couldn’t prevent them from scoring. #34 for Manchester caught a short pass in the end zone for a touchdown. However, Pancho Lopez blocked the PAT, leaving the score at 14-12 in favor of Manchester.

2nd Quarter: Southwood’s offense remained relentless. On their next possession, Pancho Lopez turned the corner and raced for a 76-yard touchdown run, giving Southwood a 20-14 lead after a successful two-point conversion. Manchester swiftly responded once more as quarterback #7 threw a deep pass to #18 for a 57-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion was good, and Manchester regained the lead at 22-20. On Southwood’s subsequent drive, they methodically moved down the field, and quarterback #15, Blake Henderson, executed a quarterback keep, running the ball in from 18 yards out for a touchdown. The two-point conversion was no good, but Southwood led 26-22 with 1 minute and 15 seconds remaining in the first half. In an attempt to score before halftime, Manchester attempted a pass, but #15, Blake Henderson, intercepted it with six seconds left. Southwood headed into halftime with a 26-22 lead.

3rd Quarter: The third quarter saw Southwood’s defense tightening up, leading to several defensive highlights. #20, Tyson Chambers, made a crucial tackle for a 3-yard loss, and #24, Kaden Valdez, batted away a pass, forcing Manchester to punt. Valdez then blocked the punt, setting up Southwood’s offense, which was driving as the third quarter came to an end.

4th Quarter: Southwood’s offense couldn’t capitalize on that drive and relied on their defense to prevent Manchester from scoring. The Knights’ front seven stood strong in their first defensive series of the fourth quarter, plugging up all the holes and regaining possession for their offense. Despite coming up short in extending their lead, Southwood’s defense remained resilient. Facing Manchester’s final drive, they held their ground, applying pressure through blitzing linebackers and tight coverage in the secondary. Manchester struggled to connect on their passes late in the game, and Southwood forced a turnover on downs with 22 seconds left. Southwood kneeled the ball to run out the clock, securing a hard-fought 26-22 victory over Manchester.

Manchester Offense was led by Aiden Bahney. Bahney went 7/15 passing for 180 yards and 3 touchdowns. And rushed the ball 5 times for 16 yards. Bryson Enyeart rushed the ball 7 times for 50 yards. Layne Showalter rushed the ball 7 times for 40 yards. Defensively the Squires were led by Enyeart with 8 tackles. Showalter came up with 6 of his own.

After the combined 7th and 8th-grade game, two additional 7-minute quarters were added to provide the 7th graders with valuable playing time. Here’s a recap of how those quarters played out:

1st Quarter (Extra Time): Manchester began with possession, and despite a few good runs, Southwood’s #99, Blake Ashba, stepped up to plug the running lanes, making a significant 5-yard tackle for a loss. Manchester’s drive ultimately came to an end when #18, Karstynn Updike, intercepted the ball. Southwood capitalized on this turnover, with #22, Dylan Hurst, running to the left side and turning upfield for a 20-yard touchdown. #17, Bray Bassett, connected with #14, Cade Pershing, on the two-point conversion. Southwood’s defense continued to shine, as both #58, Zack Devore, and #43, Grady Dylan, came up with a crucial sack later in the drive. In the waning moments of the first quarter, Dylan Hurst made another big play, intercepting a pass. On the final play of the quarter, Bray Bassett connected with Dylan Hurst for a 37-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion was successful, giving Southwood’s 7th-grade team a 16-0 lead in extra time.

2nd Quarter (Extra Time): The second quarter saw Southwood’s defense continue to shine, with #99, Blake Ashba, recovering a fumble and giving Southwood possession once again. Unfortunately, Southwood’s offense couldn’t convert this opportunity into points. However, on the subsequent defensive possession, #48, Dylan Powell, pounced on a loose ball with just 18 seconds left. Southwood skillfully ran out the remaining time, bringing the extra time session for the 7th graders to a close.

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