SIMSBURY – They weren’t designed to be long pass plays but Manchester High receiver Jevin Frett made a few Simsbury High tacklers miss Friday night and had a career-best four touchdown receptions to help Manchester roll to a 32-13 win over Simsbury in the season opener for both teams at Holden Field.
Frett caught five passes for a career-high 230 yards and four touchdowns. Three of the receptions from quarterback Edison Galen were for about five yards each but Frett was able to spin away from potential Simsbury tacklers, get into open space and he was off to the races.
“Their athletes beat our athletes five times (for big plays),” Simsbury coach Dave Masters said.
Frett scored on touchdown passes of 45, 55, 56 and 69 yards. Galen completed 13-of-21 passes for a career-high 329 yards, four TDs and one interception. “Jevin is one of the best players in the state,” Manchester coach Roy Roberts said. “He goes full speed all the time and he showcased himself tonight.”
“I just go for touchdowns and keep moving,” Frett said.
Galen added, “We came out with a lot of energy. We’ve been waiting for this game for the past month.”
Still, Roberts said that his team will have to be sharper and cut down on their mistakes if they hope to be able to compete with New Britain next week on the road. Manchester, which was 2-8 a year ago, lost two fumbles, had an interception and had numerous penalties throughout the contest.
“I’ll take an ugly win on any day of the week,” Roberts said. “I love my guys. I wouldn’t trade them for anybody. We’ll keep working. It wasn’t a perfect night.”
But it was good enough to beat Simsbury (0-1) for the sixth time in the last seven meetings.
Manchester running back Elijah Ford ran for 76 yards on the opening drive, including a 53-yard run on the Indians’ first play from scrimmage. Ford scored on an 11-yard run to give Manchester an early 8-0 lead with 8:19 left in the first quarter.
Manchester extended its lead to 14-0 with 1:49 left in the first quarter when Galan found a wide-open Frett all alone down the right sideline for a 56-yard touchdown pass. Frett could have walked into the end zone after making the catch.
Late in the second quarter, Frett caught a short pass from Galan, escaped a diving Simsbury defender and raced down the right sideline with a 69-yard touchdown pass and a 20-0 lead.
Manchester extended its lead to 26-0 on the third play of the third quarter when Frett was able to get behind a Simsbury defender and caught a high, arcing pass from Galen for a 45-yard touchdown reception with 43 seconds gone in the second half.
The final touchdown pass came with 10:01 remaining in the game when Frett caught a short pass, spun around a Simsbury defender, broke a tackle and sped down the sideline with a 55-yard touchdown reception. It was the Galen’s second four-touchdown effort of his career. He had four TD passes in a big win over Conard last October.
Galen also helped keep the Manchester offense moving by rushing for 64 yards, including a nice 24-yard scramble in the third quarter. Ford ran for a team-high 96 yards for Manchester. Roberts also praised the efforts of defender Jalen Lewis and linebacker Nate Quaye. The Indians batted down several passes, including two potential touchdown passes for Simsbury in the end zone.
Simsbury had some nice plays but they had two turnovers, a costly penalty that erased a touchdown and several missed opportunities.
“We have to get better at execution and stepping up and making plays when we have the chance,” Masters said. Sean Penney and Riley Shanley each scored touchdowns for the host Trojans, who debuted new home grey uniforms.
Manchester 32, Simsbury 13
Manchester (1-0) 14 6 6 6 — 32
Simsbury (0-1) 0 0 6 7 — 13
M: Jakai Westberry 11 run (Westberry run), 8:14
M: Jevin Frett 56 pass from Edison Galan (run fails), 1:49
M: Frett 69 pass from Galan (run fails), 0:50
M: Frett 45 pass from Galan (pass fails), 11:17
S: Sean Penney 4 run (kick fails), 8:11
S: Riley Shanley 1 run (Spencer Meace kick), 11:56
M: Frett 55 pass from Galan (run fails), 10:01
Read more from Gerry deSimas at collinsvillepress.com