One day after defeating their new conference rivals, Manteo would host Northeastern for a makeup game on Thursday, October 26th. For both teams, it would be their third tough game of the week, but the two sides would handle the long week in completely different fashions. Manteo was looking for a statement win to end their season in hopes of jumping Granville Central to the number two ranked team in the eastern 1A classification. On paper, the game looked to be a tough matchup, as Northeastern is a big team, with numerous skilled players about the pitch. In their previous matchup back in August, Manteo defeated the Eagles by a score of 2-0 in a hard-fought game.
Upon kickoff, both teams fought hard for an even run of possession. Manteo would work the ball further into their offensive third, prompting more shots on goal in dangerous areas. Northeastern struggled to take their possession beyond the midfield.
The game would open up ten minutes into the first half when the Northeastern captain made an atrocious blunder out of the midfield. Their captain won the ball just near midfield on the left side of the field while facing his own goal. He remained under duress and elected to drop the ball back to a defender in the backfield. However, his pass was well off the mark as there was no one really their, and Manteo’s striker, Randall Klotz pounced on the ill-advised back-pass and took it to goal for a one on one verse the goalie. It was a battle that Klotz was always going to win. He calmly placed the ball past the keeper on the ground, putting Manteo up by a score of 1-0.
Several minutes later, Manteo would get on the scoreboard again. Manteo was possessing the ball deep in the left corner of their offensive third. Upon several passes inside the 18-yard box, Northeastern got a piece of the ball, and Noah Goetsch was forced to pop the ball up in the air in an attempt to keep the ball in the box. Landon Taylor of Manteo came racing into the box to challenge the bouncing ball alongside a Northeastern defender. Taylor got enough of the ball to play it across the box towards goal. The goalie made a diving effort to corral the ball but he was under pressure as Edwin Perez came crashing in for Manteo. The keeper could not control the ball in the end and left it sitting there for Perez to tap in for goal number two for Manteo.
Manteo was just getting going as the game really began to open up for the Redskins. Minutes later, the high line and the offside trap of Northeastern was put to the test. Perez played a ball down the right flank for an oncoming Klotz who beat two defenders to the ball. Klotz pulled it back and squared the ball to Eric Hernandez who made a centric run to the top of the box. Hernandez collected the ball with his right foot, allowing his defender to continue on to his right side, before cutting it back inside to his left foot. Hernandez’s left-footed strike was low and on target, finding the back of the net for goal number three.
Shortly thereafter, it was Hernandez’s returning the favor to Klotz with the assist. Hernandez received a ball along the left wing that was played through Northeastern’s high line. He drove the ball down the flank, drawing their center back to him. Upon entering the edge of the 18-yard box, he cut in towards the near post and then laid it off on the ground towards the middle for an awaiting Klotz. The keeper was drawn out of position, and Klotz just taped it in.
Manteo was rolling, and Northeastern’s effort became more and more lackluster with each goal. Manteo was loving playing against a high line offside trap, as most of their conference opponents sit back and defend with eight players in front of the box. There was ample space behind the line to be exploited and Manteo was capitalizing on it.
Goal number five of the first half came from Hernandez playing a ball through the high line again to Klotz. Klotz was again one on one with the keeper and made easy work of the goal.
Goal number six would again come off the lethal Hernandez to Klotz combo. Hernandez would make an overlapping run off a possession by Perez. Upon receiving the pass from Perez, Hernandez took one touch deep on the right wing, before sending the cross into Klotz on the centric run. Klotz would again tap it in for the goal.
Goal number seven on the half was a lovely strike by the freshman, Yeifer Perez. Upon a throw-in on the left wing, Carter Calvio collected a bouncing ball inside the 18-yard box. Perez demanded the drop, and Calvio obliged, playing it back to him on the ground. Perez struck it one time, low and hard to the far post. It was a great technical strike that made its way past everyone, and into the back of the net.
Manteo entered the half winning by a score of 7-0.
To begin the second half, Northeastern seemed to have thrown in the towel. They put their center back at the striker position, and their midfield captain back in goal, alongside a plethora of bench players. Manteo did not make any changes to their starting line-up, except for Calvio playing in place of Brandon Gonzalez-Martinez who had received a yellow card in the first half.
It took eight minutes of the second half to get back on the scoreboard for Manteo. The Redskins again exploited the high line of Northeastern. This time it was Calvio out of the midfield delivering a well-weighted pass to Klotz on the run. Amongst three defenders, Klotz maintained possession and buried it past the keeper.
Klotz and several other attackers were called offsides more than ten total times, but they also racked up easy goals on the offside trap, with Klotz netting a personal game high of five goals.
With ten minutes off the clock in the second half, the game would end off an unlikely goal for Manteo, as they scored off a corner kick set piece. This would cement Manteo’s first goal directly off a corner kick this year. In the end, it was Noah Goetsch who came flying into the box upon the service off the corner from Hernandez. Goetsch got just enough of his knee on the ball to slot it past the keeper, and end the game in a 9-0 mercy ruling.
A 9-0 victory over a solid 2A Northeastern team was certainly not the scoreline anyone had expected to see going into the matchup, but it was the best possible result Manteo could come up with in hopes of jumping Granville Central in the rankings.
In the end, Manteo would not quite receive enough of a bump in their overall rating to overtake Granville Central’s ranking, and Manteo will receive the number three ranking in the east.
After the game, Coach Cleaver stated, “This was a great way to end our regular season. It was a long, hard week, with three difficult and meaningful games, and I am proud of our boys for giving it everything they had. Sixteen straight wins is an impressive feat, and I believe we can add five more wins to that streak. In tonight’s game, I meant no offense to the Northeastern side by not subbing when we were up 7-0, but we are in playoff mode now, and it is strictly all business from here on out. We will focus and prepare all week for our second round game next Saturday.”