MANHATTAN — As Maize coach Craig Broadbent followed his team off the field, he sought out one of his downcast players for the last time.
Senior linebacker Frank Hopkins finished with four tackles in his team's 35-6 loss to Manhattan in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs Friday night. But his 70 tackles for the season led an Eagles defense that held the Indians to seven points in the first half.
"You're trying to get some good kids," Broadbent said. "It's hard to see kids leave. They work so hard to play the game, but unfortunately it has to end sometime."
It was a long night for all of the Eagles' seniors, especially Dillon Ayres, who threw three interceptions and had one completion for no gain.
Maize's one-dimensional offense was good enough for two wins in district play, including a 35-14 win last week against Goddard. But the Eagles were sorely in need of a passing game against an undefeated Manhattan team.
Things started poorly and got worse for Ayres, who heaved a desperation pass that was intercepted on his third offensive play.
Ty Turner and Scott Hendricks combined for 78 rushing yards in the first half to help keep Maize in the game, but they gained 37 yards on 10 carries in the final two quarters. Three second-half turnovers left the Eagles defense on the field for too long against a strong Manhattan rushing attack, led by Trey Campbell's 177 yards and two touchdowns.
"We just made too many mistakes," Broadbent said. "You just don't make mistakes against a team like this."
His team struggled offensively all season, particularly during a five-game losing streak in which Maize never scored more than seven points. The offense was at its worst on the road, where the Eagles were 0-5 and got shut out twice.
Eagles senior fullback Terrance Jones ended Manhattan's shutout bid when he crossed the goal line with a 1-yard run as time expired.
Manhattan (10-0) 7 0 14 14 — 35 Maize (3-7) 0 0 0 6 — 6
Man—Campbell 71 run (kick good)
Man—Wilkinson 13 run (kick good)
Man—Nelson 57 punt return (kick good)
Man—Miller 13 pass from Wilkinson (kick good)
Man—Campbell 2 run (kick good)
Mai—Jones 1 run (no try)
Rushing—Maize, Hendricks 17-61, Jones 6-26, Turner 14-73, Cuda 6-37, Ayres 3-(-10). Manhattan, Campbell 20-177, Suggs 14-60, Wilkinson 2-13, Snyder 1-6.
Passing—Maize, Ayres 1-7-0-3. Manhattan, Wilkinson 2-6-20-0.
Receiving—Maize, Lee 1-0. Manhattan, Miller 2-20.