TEMPLE – The third-ranked Temple Wildcats expected a strong challenge Friday night from a Manor team that advanced to the fourth round of the state playoffs last season and that’s exactly what the Cats got.
Temple, coming off blowout wins over Harker Heights and University in the past two weeks in which many of the starters played no more that one half of football found themselves in a battle with a very athletic and determined Manor team that forced four Temple turnovers, three of which came in the first quarter. A battle the Wildcats were bale to respond to as the Wildcats prevailed over the Mustangs 28-14 at Wildcat Stadium to remain in first place in District 17-5A at 2-0.
Following a Lyndemian Brooks 4-yard TD run tied the game at 14-14 with 3:32 left in the third quarter, Temple’s Chad President moved the Wildcats down the field on the ensuing possession capping the drive with a spectacular 38 yard touchdown run running through numerous tackles and eluding the shaking of the final defender at the five yard line to give the lead back at 21-14 with 38 seconds remaining in the third quarter. A lead the Wildcats would not relinquish.
Marques Hatcher who had 91 yards on 17 carries essentially sealed the game for Temple with an 11-yard touchdown run with 5:56 left in the fourth quarter building the Wildcat lead to 28-14.
Credit does go to the Manor defense who managed to slow down the Temple offense and holding them down to 362 total offense and only 45 yards passing. However, even more credit must go to the Temple defense who shut down the athletic Manor backfield to 218 yards on the night with only 65 yards on the ground.
It was the Temple defense that stifled Manor’s last chance effort with under two minutes remaining and the ball at the Temple 17 yard line, Gilberto Hernandez sacked Manor quarterback Jamall Collins short of the line of scrimmage on fourth down giving the ball back to Temple to have President kneel the ball down twice to run out the clock.
Temple struggled early by turning the ball over three times in the first quarter which included manor recovering an unusual onside kick that bounced off the chest of a Wildcat player giving the Mustangs great field position to start the game.
The defense responded with a 3 and out but unfortunately, the Wildcat offense went 3 and out on its first series too. Following a Brooks 28 yard run, Manor quarterback Jamall Collins broke several tackles at the five yard line to score on 4th and 3 at the Temple 10 yard line giving Temple its first deficit since the Austin Westlake game.
Temple offense did respond on the next possession. Following runs of 12 and 18 yards by Jeff Carr and a 24 yard run by President. President hit Chris Minter from 2 yards out to tie the game at 7-7 with 6:34 left in the first.
Temple also gave up possession in the first with a muffed punt and a President interception which slowed the progress of the Wildcat offense.
The game did prove that even on a night when the Wildcats may not be playing at their top level, they can still respond and find a way to end up with a victory.
Temple next opponent is Pflugerville Connally on the road. Connally is currently 0-2 in 17-5A play.