FRANKLIN – History was made on Saturday afternoon as the Manchester University football team pulled off one of its biggest upsets in recent years.

The Spartans outscored Franklin 20-7 in the fourth quarter to cement their first win over Franklin in over two decades. Manchester's 30-21 triumph over Franklin College was MU's first win in the head-to-head series since 1997.

The Spartans opened the scoring on Saturday afternoon as Austin Roberts capped a 10-play, 64-yard drive by connecting with Darren Lathrop for a 27-yard strike in the first quarter.

Manchester added a 24-yard field goal from Andrew Kibler in the second quarter to increase its lead over Franklin to 10-0. The Griz would eventually find the end zone in the quarter, however, Manchester maintained a 10-7 lead at halftime.

The Spartan's defense came up with a pair of critical goal line stands in the first half of Saturday's game. Facing a 3rd and Goal on Franklin's first possession of the game, Willis Sands intercepted a Braden Smith pass on the 1-yard line and returned it 35 yards to promptly halt the Grizzlies' opening drive. Manchester denied Franklin yet again on the Grizzlies' second possession of the game. FC's Braden Smith had yet another pass intercepted, this time by Jaquan Walker in the end zone. Walker returned the pick 44 yards.

The host Grizzlies scored early in the third quarter to grab a 14-10 lead and maintained that narrow advantage for the remainder of the period.

The Spartans would not back down.

Manchester drove 66-yards in 12 plays to retake the lead from Franklin. Senior running back Donavan Henderson, Jr. capped the lengthy drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to put MU ahead 16-14. Although the Spartans' PAT was blocked, Manchester would not trail the remainder of the game.

With just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Roberts threw his second touchdown pass of the game, this time a 7-yard completion to tight end Charlie Peterson, to put Manchester ahead 23-14.

Franklin answered right back with a 54-yard TD strike to claw back within two at 23-21.

The Spartans then promptly shut the door as Henderson broke loose for a 65-yard touchdown run that sealed MU's first win over Franklin since 1997.

History was also made as a significant Manchester record was broken – needing just 115 yards to break the school's all-time rushing record, Henderson ran for 188 yards to bring his career total to 3,196. Henderson surpassed Dan Taylor's record of 3,122 rushing yards that was set over four decades ago.

For the game, Manchester finished with 336 yards of total offense to Franklin's 311. Manchester also held a significant advantage in time of possession, 36:51 to 23:09.

Roberts finished 13-23 through the air for 139 yards. Freshman Chico Ward caught two passes for 45 yards. Charlie Peterson and Darren Lathrop finished with 39 and 33 receiving yards respectively.

MU's defense racked up four sacks to go along with its two interceptions. Devontay Moore had 1.5 sacks for 15 yards. Logan Poll tallied a sack and Deion Gilmore was credited for half a sack (0.5) against Franklin.

Manchester earned its first win in conference play this weekend. MU (2-4, 1-2 HCAC) will be on the road Saturday at Hanover College. Kickoff against the Panthers is set for 1:30 p.m.



Men’s Soccer Wins On Senior Day

NORTH MANCHESTER – The Manchester University men's soccer team earned its fourth win in five games after rolling past Mount St. Joseph 4-1 on Senior Day.

The Spartans tallied three goals in the opening half in a dominant performance. Senior Max Baker scored his fifth goal of the season in the third minute to open the scoring for MU. Fellow senior Josh Jordan earned the assist on the Baker goal.

Later in the first half, Nick Surber scored his third goal of 2019 to put the Spartans ahead 2-0. Surber beat out two Lion defenders and then made a quick move to get past the MSJ keeper, finishing the hustle play with a left-footed strike.

Ruben Gonzalez continued his strong freshman campaign by scoring his fourth goal of the season in the 37th minute. Baker assisted on the Gonzalez score.

In the second half, the Spartans would increase their lead to 4-0 after Cayden Holley scored on a perfect ball sent into the box by Nash Walker off a free kick.

The Lions got on the board late following a header in the 89th minute.

For the match, Manchester outshot the Lions 15-9 and held an 8-4 advantage on corner kicks.

During halftime of today's match, MU honored its senior class of Max Baker, Alex Baker, Noah Tong, Matthew Roop, Justin Winterboer, Nash Walker, and Josh Jordan.

Sid Sagna and Zach Schmidt were also honored on Saturday afternoon as well.

The Spartans improved to 7-7-1 overall this season with the win. MU now sits at 4-1 in the HCAC and is currently in a three-way tie for second place in the league standings. The Spartans will be back in action at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Defiance.