SCHOOLCRAFT — Hartford’s football team struggled to stop the big play in Friday evening’s Division 7 district semifinal matchup against Schoolcraft, resulting in a 57-6 loss.
The Eagles (9-1) scored early and often on the Indians (6-4), who were without starting quarterback Kyle Manning due to a shoulder injury.
As a result of Manning’s injury, running back Aaron Sinclair took on a majority of the offensive workload, rushing 39 times for 203 yards.
The rest of the team generated just 11 yards of offense.
Hartford coach Brad Manning said Kyle’s absence from the game caused the Indians to get too one-dimensional.
Both Sinclair and Dylan Voss split reps behind center, combining to complete just 1-of-3 pass attempts and throwing two interceptions.
“No Kyle, no throw,” coach Manning said. “Not that Dylan and Aaron didn’t give it a valiant effort. Tuesday is when we found out (about Kyle’s injury) so we had a Wednesday-Thursday to really try to get them to throw it to anybody. Just not long enough, especially the way the weather was.”
The Indians ran a total of 53 plays while the Eagles ran just 14. Seven of those snaps resulted in touchdowns for the Eagles, who also returned an interception 43 yards for a score.
Manning noted that, despite the ability of the Indians to control the possession battle, they just didn’t have enough weapons to threaten offensively.
“We couldn’t get Aaron down the field or create any space for him, so it really bottled us up,” Manning said. “We had more people go by the wayside and get injuries as the game went by. We just ran out of people. The kids fought hard. They gave it a good shot.”
Schoolcraft’s standout running back Kobe Clark, the MHSAA record holder for most touchdowns in a single game (9), paced the Eagles’ offense. He rushed the ball just five times, but ran for 197 yards and four scores.
Clark also caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Alex Thole to go along with his scoring runs of 10, 67, 30 and 85 yards.
Thole threw two other touchdown passes, one to Jimmy Downs and another to Jake Olvitt.
A 43-yard interception return by Downs rounded out the Eagles scoring.
Coach Manning said that missing their quarterback affected the team in more ways than just one.
“When we took Kyle out, about three people had to rotate jobs (on defense),” Manning said. “It was the unfortunate Jenga piece that made it all fall down. Those guys are too fast to be giving them that much space.”
Sinclair had the Indians’ lone touchdown run, a 58-yard scamper in the third.
The Indians had other chances to put points on the board.
Sinclair had a 70-yard touchdown run called off due to a block in the back, and the Indians also had a 20-yard field goal try blocked.
Manning said the overall takeaway from the season remains positive, especially considering the Indians’ three-game win streak to end the season that gave the team a shot at the playoffs.
“They had a three-game stretch there where they needed to win, and they did,” Manning said. “I think we were an underdog in those three games. It was their determination to want to do this that really got them into the playoffs, and unfortunately we couldn’t get them a bit further.
“I think the lasting impression of this group will be that, it seems like a rough end, but in all reality this is a battling group. I will distinctly remember how hard-fought these last few weeks have been.”
Schoolcraft 57, Hartford 6
H 0 0 6 0 — 6
S 15 20 22 0 — 57
S — Kobe Clark 10 run (Parker Lawrence kick), 7:46.
S — Clark 50 pass from Alex Thole (Bryce VanderWiere from Jimmy Downs), 3:29.
S — Clark 67 run (Lawrence kick), 7:54.
S — Downs 43 interception return (kick failed), 4:39.
S — Downs 29 pass from Thole (Lawrence kick), 2:20.
S — Jake Olvitt 35 pass from Thole (Lawrence kick), 10:25.
H — Aaron Sinclair 58 run (kick block), 5:55.
S — Clark 30 run (Clark run), 4:42.
S — Clark 85 run (Lawrence kick), :00.
First downs 9 10
Total net yards 214 370
Rushes-yards 49-210 7-219
Passing yards 4 151
Comp-Att-Int 1-3-2 5-5-0
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 6-45 4-40
Rushing — Hartford: Aaron Sinclair 49-210, TD. Schoolcraft: Kobe Clark 5-197, 4 TD.
Passing — Hartford: Dylan Voss 1-2-1-4; Sinclair 0-1-1-0. Schoolcraft: Alex Thole 5-5-0-151, 3 TD.
Receiving — Hartford: Elijah Ledesma 1-4. Schoolcraft: Harmon DeVries 2-55; Clark 1-50, TD; Jimmy Downs 1-29, TD; Jake Olvitt 1-35, TD.
Records — Schoolcraft 9-1, Hartford 6-4.
Contact: bspencer@TheHP.com, 429-1294, @HPBenSpencer