MANCHESTER — Platt running back Roberto Salas scored a career-high six touchdowns and accounted for over 250 yards on the ground Friday night, but it was not enough to carry the Panthers past the Manchester Red Hawks at Memorial Field.
Despite the heroics from Salas, Manchester held on for a 47-40 victory in a CCC crossover shootout between the Division I Red Hawks and Division II Panthers.
“Salas is a beast. We have an offensive line that wants to block and we have a running back that wants to run,” said Platt coach Jason Bruenn. “He’s just phenomenal. He’s a humble kid and he’ll tell you right now it has nothing to do with him, he’s just the guy with the ball in his hand. He’s gonna tell you the guys in front of him block their butts off.”
Platt was playing catch-up throughout the night. On the Panthers’ first play from scrimmage, they turned the ball over after a bad handoff to Salas. Manchester took over at Platt’s 25-yard line and, after two first downs, took an 8-0 lead on a 3-yard touchdown run from Jahkye Thompson.
Platt quickly responded. Salas burst for a gain of 40 yards on Platt’s first play on the ensuing drive and later scored from 3 yards out to pull the Panthers to within 8-7 after a successful extra point attempt.
Manchester’s next drive was highlighted by a 23-yard run from quarterback Trey West that put the home team inside Platt’s 20-yard line. Three plays later, West scored on a 3-yard keeper for a 14-7 lead after the extra point attempt failed.
Salas picked up where he left off. His first two runs on the next drive went for 20 yards apiece and he scored three plays later from 1 yard out. Platt tied the score 14-14 with a successful extra point.
Platt, however, couldn’t slow Manchester down. The Red Hawks’ next drive saw multiple first-down runs from West, including two on third down. Manchester finished the drive with a 15-yard reception from Jayden Colon for a 21-14 lead by the end of the quarter.
Platt again answered. On a third-and-5, Joshua Rodriguez broke free for a 50-yard gain off of a screen pass that put the Panthers at Manchester’s 15. Salas scored on the next play to tie the game 21-21.
The Panthers would have a chance to take their first lead of the night after forcing a 3-and-out on Manchester’s next possession. However, on a third-and-6 Salas got stripped and Manchester recovered and took over at Platt’s 45-yard line.
A 20-yard screen to Thompson put the Red Hawks inside the Platt 10 and West scored his second rushing touchdown of the night to extend the Manchester lead to 29-21.
Platt ended the half cutting the lead to 29-27 with a 39-yard touchdown run from Salas.
Manchester regained the momentum to begin the second half. On the first play from scrimmage, Thompson ran for 60 yards before being tackled at the 3-yard line. On fourth down at the 1, Colon made his second TD catch.
Manchester forced Platt to punt on its next possession and pushed the lead to 39-27 when Dylan Jackson hit a 28-yard field goal.
Platt would stay alive. Salas carried the ball five times on the next drive for 58 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown run.
The hitch was, Manchester’s Dayshawn Outlaw returned the ensuing kickoff 65 yards for a touchdown to put the Red Hawks up 47-33 after a successful two-point conversion.
“Right now, we stink at kickoff cover,” Bruenn noted. “We have a kicker who can kick and we have a kickoff cover team that doesn’t want to run down the field.”
That score proved pivotal after Salas scored his sixth touchdown of the night. Instead of pulling even, the Panthers still trailed, 47-40, and that’s where the score stood as Manchester was able to run out the clock.
The Panthers end their season against cross-town rival Maloney on Thanksgiving at Falcon Field.