MANOR — Ellison head coach Buddy McBryde described it as immaturity.
Showing improvement early, including taking its first lead of the season, the Eagles struck gold on their opening series and all but monopolized the first quarter.
But six seconds into the second, the pendulum swung hard the other direction as Manor struck for 32 straight points over the next 12 minutes and sent the reeling Eagles home with a 39-12 road loss Friday evening at Mustang Stadium.
“We came out and did really well,” McBryde said. “But it’s the sign of an immature team that is growing and getting better.”
Trailing just 11-6 midway through the second after back-to-back three-and-outs on offense, the Ellison defense began to show signs of its youth and inexperience when the Mustangs scored three consecutive touchdown drives that took a combined 2:35. Manor (1-0) gashed Ellison (0-2) for 225 of its 406 total yards in the second alone.
The most glaring defensive lapse came one play after the Eagles offense was stopped inches short of a first down on fourth-and-3 at the Manor 48 with a 2-yard pass from quarterback Rasheed Dashiell to Caleb Moses.
Ten seconds later, Mustangs tailback Tyrone Owens was streaking down the left sideline for a 52-yard touchdown after slipping past the secondary for a wide-open seam pass from quarterback Chris Johnson to put Manor ahead 25-6 with 2:33 to play before halftime.
“It was the secondary, I have to call it like it is, they were young and they were looking in the backfield and coming up to stop the jet sweep and the screen and they ran right behind them,” McBryde said.
“We worked it, we showed it to them, we went over and over it, but when your fate is in 16 year-old kids’ hands, you never know what’s going to happen.”
Owens wasn’t done, though, this time connecting on a pass from backup quarterback Cannonier Fitzgerald near the left hash marks for a 35-yard touchdown with 14 seconds remaining in the first half. Owens finished with four catches for 104 yards to go along with 35 rushing yards.
But for at least the first quarter, it was all Ellison, which controlled more than eight minutes of the frame. That included capping a 10-play opening drive with a 5-yard pitch from Dashiell to Isiah Cowan to give the Eagles their first lead of the season, 6-0 at the 7:10 mark. A two-point try fell incomplete.
“We jumped on them, we pretty well dominated them on both sides of the ball at the beginning, and I think our kids got the wrong impression of the way the game was going to go,” McBryde said. “That’s maturity and they’re learn and get better from it.”
The Eagles got the ball right back as linebacker Ryan Stuckey intercepted a pass from Johnson at midfield after it was deflected into the air just under the 7-minute mark. Ellison charged downfield, moving to the Manor 4-yard line after a 15-yard scramble by Dashiell and runs by Kaimen Robertson and Cowan to the 10. But after a 6-yard pass from Dashiell to Moses, Ellison couldn’t get any closer and kicker Deon Burch pulled a 21-yard field goal try wide for a turnover.
“We’re shuffling and trying to find players,”McBryde said. “Some of those kids we had out there toward the end looked pretty good with what they were doing and you may see some difference players playing (next week).”