When the Manitou Springs football players arrived at school Friday morning they saw something that made them angry. A giant chalk "SM" had been placed at the 50-yard line of their field. There was also a St. Mary's banner covering the Manitou "M" in the end zone.
The Mustangs players used the disrespect as fuel Friday night, when they buried their 2A rival 42-0 in a rout.
"What they did to our field and our "M" really fired us up over the course of the day," said Manitou senior Dustin Bohnert, who had two punt returns for touchdowns. "We played as a family tonight and this win felt really good."
After a scoreless first quarter, Manitou took control on both sides of the ball.
Morgan Burnell put the game's first points on the board when he capped a 70-yard drive with a 19-yard touchdown run to give the Mustangs a 7-0 lead.
After St. Mary's (0-4) went three-and-out on its next possession, the Pirates punted to Bohnert, who took the kick 65 yards to give Manitou a 14-0 lead. It was 14 points in 2:24.
"We were already fired up for this game, but after what happened to our field, it added quite a bit more fire," Burnell said. "We were great in all three phases tonight and this is a dangerous team."
The Mustangs would score twice in a short span again in the third quarter to blow the game open. Johnny Swanson found Drew Faloon on a 9-yard touchdown pass to open the third, followed by Burnell's second touchdown on a 33-yard run 2:50 later to make it 28-0.
Swanson added a 5-yard touchdown pass to Danny McGee and Bohnert added his second punt return score in the fourth quarter to turn the lights out for the Pirates.
"You can't complain one bit about the defense tonight, because they pitched a shutout, and that helped the offense play better," Swanson said. "We were able to drive consistently and get chunks of yards and put a lot of points up."
The lone bright spot for St. Mary's was running back Ben Breier, who essentially was the Pirates' offense. He had 23 touches in the first half alone, including rushing, catching and even completing a pass.
"Our offense was improved tonight; Ben has all the heart in the world, but we have 10 other guys out there fighting with him," St. Mary's coach Nic Olney said. "The things that happened (to the field) last night aren't what St. Mary's is about. It definitely rattled the cage of the beast a little bit. But hats off to Manitou because they are a great football team."
The Mustangs will host Florence in a matchup of two of the best 2A teams in the state next week.
"We did a lot of good things tonight, but there are still some things we need to clean up before next weekend," Manitou coach Dan Gieck said. "Florence is going to bring their A game and we know that.