By Joshua Ford | Waccamaw Contributor
Waccamaw couldn’t comeback in their 47-22 loss to the Manning Monarchs last Friday. The Warriors dropped to 5-3 (1-2) as Manning clinches a playoff spot at 5-3 (3-0).
Waccamaw only needs one more win to clinch a playoff berth of their own as a three seed.
The Warriors moved the ball well on a handful of their possessions, totaling 414 yards of offense but couldn’t capitalize with points having turned the ball over five times.
“We just couldn’t convert in the red zone, and that comes with maturity,” Warriors head coach Shane Fidler said. “That’s a maturity thing because we’re very young at a lot of places on offense.”
Junior quarterback Denson Crisler puts the offensive woes on himself. He went 11 for 17 for 201 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception.
“The struggles in the red zone really put ourselves in a deep hole,” Crisler said. “I’ll take the blame for not putting passes in the right spots for our playmakers to do what they do best, which is make plays. We just have to watch the film and correct our mistakes.”
Crisler was among two offensive starters coming into the game with injures. Senior center Jacob Holdrige was in a walking boot all week until Friday. Crisler sustained a sprained ankle at practice on Tuesday, and both only practiced one day out of the week.
“Both those kids, all week, did tough stuff and came out here with a gutsy performance … awesome job by them,” Fidler said. “They came out here and gave it all for their teammates.”
Despite the yardage Waccamaw put up, Manning surpassed it. The Monarchs had 512 total yards, most coming from the ground game with 456 yards and seven touchdowns. They were held to 52 passing yards.
Waccamaw wasn’t prepared for Manning’s no huddle offense, something that isn’t on film.
“We got adjusted quick and we were alright with that,” Fidler said. “Our problem tonight was tackling and some responsibilities on defense – they were not correct … That’s on me. I’m the head coach. … We tackle everyday but we don’t tackle enough apparently.”
“It wasn’t difficult to read what they were doing,” senior linebacker Walker Parler said. “Everyone didn’t do what we practiced and it showed. When we did do what we practiced we got stops.”
After a 10-yard touchdown run from Manning four minutes into the game to give them an early lead, Waccamaw had a chance to put points on the board with a field goal. However, sophomore Jackson Forrest missed the 30-yard try with 3:19 to go in the quarter.
Manning striked immediately with a 58-yard touchdown run where running back Caleb Wright fumbled at the 10 but Aaron Smith picked it up for the score.
After a fumble recovery by junior safety Tyler Fico, Waccamaw had a long drive going, which started with Parler in at quarterback since Crisler was limping. Crisler came in and threw a third down interception in the red zone with 8:59 until the break.
Manning scored three plays after a Kam Green fumble on a punt return a minute later. All three plays were runs to the right, the third run went seven yards for the score. They went into the half with the 21-0 score.
Manning opened the half on a 61-yard touchdown run. The extra point was blocked for a second time by the Warriors to make the score 27-0 with 43 seconds off of the clock.
Manning scored on an eight yard touchdown run after a fumble from tight end Markell Strang, growing their lead to 34-0 with 8:43 left in the quarter.
Later in the quarter, Crisler found Funnye on a streak and Funnye ran in for the 64-yard score to get the Warriors on the board 34-7 with 8:03 left in the third.
Waccamaw scored again on their next drive, this time Grate rumbled in from three yards out. The two point conversion from Crisler to Tre Phillips cuts the lead to 34-15 with 2:47 remaining in the quarter.
Manning’s first play to open the fourth quarter was a 48-yard rushing touchdown, increasing their lead to 41-15.
Parler came in at quarterback again and ran into the endzone from three yards out to get the Warriors final score. It was 41-22 with 8:16 left to play.
Manning ended the scoring to get the 47-22 final after a long drive resulted in a 12-yard touchdown run with a little over two minutes to play.
Waccamaw is studying all three of their losses closely because they know that’s the type of play they’ll see in the playoffs.
“The three teams we’ve lost to have out executed in multiple facets of the game,” Crisler said. “If we want to make a playoff run we have to correct these easily correctable mistakes we’ve made in our three losses.”
“If you wanna go deep in the playoffs, you gotta beat football teams like this in places like this, in atmospheres like this,” Fidler said. “So we gotta be better prepared for that, and that ultimately falls on me.”
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