Photo provided
Freshman running back Dave Paul broke loose on a pair of long plays in the first half of his collegiate debut.
Photo provided Freshman running back Dave Paul broke loose on a pair of long plays in the first half of his collegiate debut.
ANGOLA – The 2020-21 football season kicked off on Saturday afternoon for the Manchester University Spartans. The Black & Gold faced off against regional-foe Trine University in the only NCAA Division III football game of the day.

The Thunder defended its home field, knocking off the Spartans by a final score of 37-0.

A young, fresh-faced Manchester offense was held in check for much of the afternoon. The Black & Gold were limited to 227 yards through the air and 49 yards on the ground.

Late in the first quarter, the Black & Gold drove deep into Trine territory, but were stopped just short of the goal line by the Thunder defense, turning the ball over on downs.

Once more, towards the end of the second quarter, Manchester came up just shy of the goal line after the Thunder defense intercepted a pass in the end zone.

Freshman running back Dave Paul (Dearborn, Mich./Annapolis) broke loose on a pair of plays in the first half of his collegiate debut. Paul had a rush go for 32 yards and had a reception go for 28 yards.  For the day, Paul carried the ball five times for 28 yards. He had 7 receptions go for a total of 63 yards. Fellow running back Cameron Parker (Silver Lake, Ind./Tippecanoe Valley) carried the ball 10 times for 43 yards.

Freshman quarterback Eric James (Indianapolis, Ind./Decatur Central) went 14-28 on the day for 174 yads. His longest pass was a 43-yard connection to junior receiver Darren Lathrop (Lafayette, Ind./McCutcheon). Lathrop caught four passes for 79 yards. Freshman receiver Levar Lesure (Marietta, Ga./Wheeler) hauled in four passes for 49 yards on Saturday.

Defensively, the Spartans racked up 10 tackles-for-loss on Saturday afternoon. Devontay Moore, the reigning Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference sack leader, had a strong day for Manchester. Moore (Indianapolis, Ind./North Central) tallied 12 tackles and finished with 3 tackles-for-loss and 1 sack. Moore also forced a fumble that was recovered by Kobe Roberson (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City). Senior linebacker Conner Sherwin (Pierceton, Ind./Whitko) finished with 11 tackles and two tackles-for-loss. Josue Castro (Hialeah, Fla./Westland Hialeah) ended Saturday's contest with 10 total tackles.

Trine ended Saturday with 403 yards of total offense, including 282 yards on the ground. Devonte Jones carried the ball 13 times for 89 yards and two scores for the Thunder.

Manchester (0-1) is scheduled to host Adrian College next weekend on Saturday, Oct. 17, in the brand-new Spartan Stadium. Next Saturday's game is currently scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.