Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union
Whitko junior Cade Berg runs for long yardage during the first quarter while dragging a Manchester tackler down field during Friday’s Three Rivers Conference game.
Photo by Gary Nieter, Times-Union Whitko junior Cade Berg runs for long yardage during the first quarter while dragging a Manchester tackler down field during Friday’s Three Rivers Conference game.
NORTH MANCHESTER—A year ago, the Whitko Jr-Sr High School football team were shut out 14-0 by the Manchester Squires on their turf, as they went on to complete a winless season.

Fast-forward to Friday night, and the Wildcats have a completely different look.

Despite a late rally from the Squires, Whitko managed to hold off the surge and escape with a 20-14 victory Friday night in North Manchester.

Manchester sophomore quarterback Brock Casper found an open man in junior halfback Seth Gaerte, to help pull the Squires within six points with just under two minutes remaining in the game. Casper found Gaerte and connected earlier in the first quarter to score the team’s first points of the evening.

However, the late dramatics would end after the onside kick attempt went out-of-bounds to seal the visitor’s win.

“They are facing some injuries and some adversity, but that didn’t stop them and they came out and played hard and caused some fits on both sides of the ball,” said Whitko head football coach Phil Jansen. “But I told our kids that sometimes, you have to win an ugly one.”

The Wildcats (4-3 overall, 3-3 TRC) were led by quarterback Ethan Schuh, who accounted for a passing and rushing touchdown each.

For Manchester (2-5 overall, 2-4 TRC), they are seeking answers as they enter a three-game losing skid.

“That is a tough one to swallow,” said Manchester head football coach Alyx Brandewie. “We felt like we fought our butts off all night long, and it just did not quite work out for us tonight. But, our kids battled for four quarters, so it stings like heck to lose, and I am never going to act like it does not. I could not be more proud of the fight in our group. Love my guys.”

The Squires, who were without the assistance of junior halfback Braxton Ream, look to have him back next week when they travel to Tippecanoe Valley.

“Braxton should be back this week, we hope,” said Brandewie. “Hopefully, we will find out on Monday or Tuesday, but we are not going to know for a couple of days. He has been practicing non-contact for the last couple of days, and we will just see where we stand.”

Whitko will return to South Whitley next Friday to face Northfield.

“Northfield is a real good football team, so we are going to have to be really disciplined and play assignment football, but you can’t lose your aggression,” said Jansen.

WH  7  7  0  6 - 20

MA  7  0  0  7  - 14

Q1

WH - Ethan Schuh 87 to Drake Lewis (6:40) Austin Kreps extra point good

MA - Brock Casper 60 pass to Seth Gaerte (5:53) Fortman extra point good

Q2

WH - Ethan Schuh 1 run (9:30) Austin Kreps extra point good

Q3

No scoring

Q4

WH - Isaiah Kyles 4 run (7:58) extra point blocked

MA - Brock Casper to Seth Gaerte 10 pass  (1:54) Fortman extra point good