Bluffton looking for fifth consecutive win against Manchester
By Allan King, Jr., SID intern
November 6, 2002
Bluffton College will go on the road this weekend looking for their fifth straight win against Manchester in as many years.
Manchester is looking for their second straight Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference win after an 18-14 come-from-behind win at Defiance College last week. The Spartans now stand at 2-6 overall and 1-3 in the HCAC.
Bluffton improved their record to 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the league after a 34-21 win over Franklin College last weekend. Junior running back Jovan Johnson also looks to continue his strong play as he set two school and one HCAC record by scoring five touchdowns and 30 points in one game.
The Beavers lead the all-time series 27-20 over Manchester including winning the last four in a row over the Spartans. The Beavers won last years match-up 38-3 with a strong defensive performance from junior linebacker Chris Sommers, who had a team and career high 18 tackles.
The Beavers offense, which ranks first in the HCAC in rushing (191.8 ypg), is lead by the three pronged running attack of Johnson, Brad Moore, and Ben Dodds. The three combined for over 300 yards on the ground last week against Franklin with Dodds leading the way with 125 yards followed by Moore with 120 and Johnson with 105 yards and five touchdowns.
Bluffton's defense is led by Sommers who leads the HCAC in tackles with 11.5 a game. He is joined by senior defensive back Cam Staley, who is tied for fourth in the league in pass break-ups with 10 including three interceptions.
The Spartans offense, which ranks last in the league in rushing offense, passing offense and total offense, is led by freshman receiver Brandon Tugmon who has 32 receptions for 443 yards and one touchdown. His 63.3 receiving yards per game are good enough to rank fifth in the league.
Manchester's defense ranks second in the HCAC in total defense allowing 333.2 yards per game. The Spartans are led by junior defensive back Jarald Ridley who was named the November 2 quad-defensive player of the week by the Don Hansen Football Gazette for his two interceptions in their win at Defiance, one of which he took 76 yards for a touchdown.
Saturday will be the second year in a row Bluffton will be at Manchester College, where the Beavers are 11-13 all time against the Spartans on the road dating back to 1934.
Following the Manchester game, Bluffton will host Defiance College, who is currently 2-7 overall and 0-5 in the HCAC, on November 16 in the last game of the season.