Manhattan seeks first championship since 1988
MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - It’s been 34 years since the Tribe have held the first place hardware, it’s been 21 years since their last appearance in the state championship.
“It’s been a blessing just to be around this group of kids and coaching staff and I’ve really enjoyed it,” Joe Schartz said.
“It’s just been a dream for me, especially with my dad and coaching here for 14 years and for him to finally break the ice... I couldn’t have asked for a better story here at Manhattan,” Keenan Schartz said. “Us 20 seniors, coming together and getting the job done. It definitely would be a story worth telling.”
MHS is 12-0 this year for a reason. They defeated a powerhouse in Derby twice this season 26-23 in overtime in week one of the season, then they beat them in Sub-State 28-23 after being down 16-7 at the half.
“I mean it would mean a lot,” Running back DeAndre Auckland said. “I’ve watched that game multiple times and it was awesome to see that and I feel like it’s been a long time since we won a state championship so it would mean a lot for everybody who lives in this town and who raised in this town.”
“We’ve done it 12 successful times in a row here, just keep doing what you’re doing,” Schartz said. “Pay attention at practice, learn the stuff and on Saturday let’s go out and execute and let’s just go out and lay it all on the line one last time.”
Head coach Joe Schartz has explained how special it is to do this with his son Keenan, both being their first state title games. But there is more work to be done.
“Gardner is very physical and they play flex bone and they’re going to control the clock and keep the ball away from us,” Joe Schartz said. “Our defense is going to have to hold tough and get some stops and offensively we’re going to have to move the ball and take advantage of our opportunities.”
“We’d be foolish to go away with what’s been working. We got to go in there and hang out hat on what we’ve done all season long and continue to play Manhattan football,” Schartz added.
While unbeaten to this point, this season has some bumps in the road for the Tribe. Coach Schartz says they’ve been practicing earlier in the morning to get used to playing in the afternoon, rather than night. He’s confident in his group heading into Saturday.
“We’ve fallen behind in five games and been behind at halftime a couple of times and we just got to continue to do what we do and protect the football and I think we can do that, I think we have a good shot,” Joe Schartz said.
That game will kick-off at one at Welch Stadium at Emporia State.
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