Recap By Collin Richardson
In the excitement of fall sports that is the HS football season, there are few feelings in life that can explain it. There are feelings of joy, new beginnings, and continuing what last year's team started. For successful football programs like Manheim Township and Cumberland Valley, they know all about how you must start out on the right foot, no matter the week. Considering last year in Week 1, Cumberland Valley was able to scratch and claw past the Blue Streaks in a 31-27 victory at home. Then, in the 1st round of the D3 6A playoffs last year, the 4 and 5 seeded slots were filled by, you guessed it, Cumberland Valley and Manheim Township. It was then when Hayden Johnson flipped a touchdown to Landon Kennel with under a minute remaining to take the lead for good, and ended Cumberland Valley’s season on the spot. Manheim Township then hosted the Eagles to open up the season on Friday 8/31, and the Blue Streaks continued their dominance, and picked up where they left off.
Both teams started out trading a few punts back and forth. After all, it is Week 1 for everybody. Teams are still getting used to one another, working as one team. However, on MT’s 2nd offensive drive, late in the 1st quarter, Hayden Johnson zipped a 7 yard strike into Landon Kennels' awaiting arms for the first points of the 2023 Blue Streak Campaign. As the quarter rolled onto the 2nd, it was ALL Township.
Township scored 3 touchdowns in just the 2nd quarter, all of them in part by Hayden Johnson. He threw 2 passing TDs, had an acrobatic scramble on 3rd down and long to set up the ball at the 1 yard line for his one rushing touchdown one play later. Nick Palumbo picked off Deagan Rardain to start the 2nd quarter. In only 4 plays, Palumbo caught a 32 yard toss across the middle with 10:24 left to stake Township to a 2 score lead. “They know what is ahead of them”. Stated MT Head Coach Mark Evans. “Sophomore year their (Johnson, Kennel, Palumbo) heads were spinning. Junior year their heads were not spinning as much. Now, I feel that they've slowed the game down to where they can control the game”. After CV’s 3rd consecutive 3 and out, Township was given the ball with 1:02 left until the break. They marched 67 yards and scored with just over 1 second left on the clock. Landon Kennel had 3 catches for 39 yards on the drive, and most importantly the 6 yard touchdown snag for the 27-0 lead at half.
Township put the game away for good when they opened the third with their 3rd consecutive TD trip in only 2 plays. Hayden Johnson found Declan Clancy for 56 yards and the score to make it 35-0 early in the 3rd. As the mercy clock ran on and on, subs started to trickle in and out for MT. CV got the goose egg off the board late in the 4th when Bryce Staretz ran in from 3 yards out with 5:22 left in the game. As the clock struck zero, Manheim Township won the game in dominant fashion as victors over Cumberland Valley with a 35-6 win. They will load the bus as they travel to Dallastown this coming Friday, 9/1.