MANHATTAN — On Saturday afternoon the number one seed Manhattan Tigers took on Colstrip and gave them a game they'd like to forget.
The Tigers got going early, a couple nice passes by star quarterback Caden Holgate put them in good field position. The drive was capped off by three-yard rushing touchdown by senior Isaac Richardson.
“We came out firing," Holgate said. "Didn’t slow down one bit. Didn’t take a single play off.”
“We encouraged the kids to start fast, the last couple weeks we kind of started on a slow note," said Manhattan head coach Chris Grabowska. "Today we wanted to come into the playoffs and set the tone early and the kids did a good job of that.”
With a few minutes left in the first quarter, Holgate hit his wide receiver Tate Bowler for a 25-yard strike in the end zone to put Manhattan up 14-0.
“We tried to pass a little bit, we noticed that their corners played a little off our receivers," said Grabowska. "We knew that if we could complete a few passes it would open up our run game a little bit too. We were just able to stay balanced that way. I like the way our offense performed.”
To start the second, Holgate found his receiver Corban Johnson on a short touchdown pass. Johnson had two receiving touchdowns on the day.
“Corban, he's got some hops, he can go up and highpoint the ball," said Grabowska. "I think it was key third down we were running the hitch to him and he wasn’t open so he just moved over a litte bit and Caden found him and he’s able to get the first down. He’s just got good instincts on the field.”
Before the end of the end of the half, Toby Veltkamp had a long rushing touchdown on a fake kick and Tate Bowler rushed the opening kickoff in the second half for a touchdown to put the Tigers up 32-0.
“That was great you know," Grabowska said. "It’s nice to see the special teams getting going and being able to dominate all three phases of the football game.”
Manhattan ended up winning 52-0. Holgate finished with 4 passing touchdowns.
“Caden’s a gamer, he just came out and led our team really well," said Grabowska. "He saw the field, the O-Line gave him some time and he’s just able to get some balls up to playmakers, its great to see.”
Richardson ended the day with 2 rushing touchdowns.
"Our o-line just worked super hard in practice and they worked today and got a good push, opened up holes for me to do my stuff," he said.
“Isaac’s always been a great runner, he sees the holes and once he gets going he’s tough to bring down," said Grabowska. "He doesn’t go down on first contact. He had a great game and it’s great to see that too.”
The Manhattan defense continues to terrorize opponents. Today was their fourth shutout of the season.
“We’re a strong defensive team, we love playing defense," said Richardson. "We love coming out and trying to get that shutout.”
“Our defense takes pride in shutting the other team down," Grabowska said. "I’m sure they told you they like to play physical, kick teams in the mouth, it’s a mentality but it starts on Monday. Starts with the preparation, just knowing what the other team is going to do. They do a great job of preparing and then also coming out in the game and playing physical football on the defensive side of the ball.”
Next week this team will take on Malta
“They’re a big physical team, we got to be ready to go," Grabowska said. "They like to pound the ball a little bit. A lot of play action passing. Seen a few games on them, we got to get a great game plan and be ready to go.”