A chilly night in October brought a major battle in the Old Dominion.

The No. 1 Hermitage football team headed south to visit the No. 5 Manchester in the Game-of-the-Week showdown on Friday at Lloyd Swelnis Stadium.

Manchester got off to a hot start, scoring with a no-huddle offense that Hermitage couldn’t answer handle early on. Lancers quarterback Brendon Clark threw an 11-yard touchdown to wide receiver Jonathan Rose to go up 6-0 (missed extra point). On defense, Rose played defensive back. He had a 97-yard pick-six6 that allowed Manchester go up by 10 points. The Lancers special teams had a great night as well, as kicker Jake Lero made some clutch kicks throughout the game, including a 41-yard field goal that sealed it for Manchester late in the fourth quarter.

Clark had a solid night, going 24-for-31 for 216 yards and a touchdown through the air. He also added another a 9-yard rushing touchdown. Also, running back Isaiah Todd ran the ball 21 times for a total of 99 yards while Rose caught the ball six times for 94 yards and a touchdown.

On defense, Manchester made its presence felt throughout the whole game. Manchester forced three interceptions, one of which was a pick-six. Manchester’s defense was definitely a key to their success tonight.

“Defensively, they scored a couple times, but forcing three turnovers against that team is special,” said Manchester coach Tom Hall. “Special teams were solid sometimes, but we had some breakdowns in our coverages. We’ll enjoy It today, but we’ll get back to watching film on Sunday and correct those things.

“They are one of the better teams in the state, and I told you guys this week, that’s the best defense we’ve seen and since I’ve been at Manchester and that’s true. For us to come out and put 26 points on them, I am very proud. Very proud of our guys tonight.”

However, Hermitage played a tough game all around and kept Manchester in check for most of the night. Panthers quarterback James Carney went 12-for-27 for 130 yards while running back Webster Hill IV rushed nine times for 68 yards. Wide receiver Jebril Murray had four receptions for 66 yards. Running back CJ Jackson had a great night too, leading the team with 19 carries for 66 yards and a touchdown.

Jackson also added a kickoff return for a touchdown to end the first half. The Panthers defense played a solid game all night, as it has for much of the season, forcing a turnover and keeping Manchester’s offense at check. In the end, the offense had too many turnovers for the Panthers to come back and win.

Manchester improved to 8-1 on the season and will play its last regular season game at home against George Wythe on Friday at 7 p.m. With the loss, Hermitage completed its regular season with a 9-1 record. The playoff schedule will be determined after next week’s set of games. Stay tuned.

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