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December 3, 2009

Pittsburg’s Offense Multi-Dimensional

Pittsburg's hot quarterback and running back play has helped link the Pirates to the state quarterfinals.

Pun intended, of course.

This season, Mitch Manley and Ted Burns have become a rare tandem. What they've done: surpass 2,000 yards each.

Manley's damage has come in the air; Burns, on the ground.

"We try to keep it as balanced as we can," Pittsburg head coach Robert Manley said. "That helps us with the attack. Whether we are a running team or a passing team, we will be about 50/50."

{db]Mitch Manley[/db], a junior, has completed 146 of 268 passes for 2,052 yards and 21 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Burns, a senior, has carried the ball 249 times for 2,290 yards and 36 scores.

That's combined to help the Pirates produce one of the most magical seasons in school history.

Pittsburg (11-1), whose only state title came in 1980, will meet district rival Pleasant Grove (9-3) in the Class 3A Division II quarterfinals Friday at Longview High School.

Mitch Manley, the coach's son, helped secure the berth with late-game heroics last week against Kennedale. With the Pirates trailing by three points, Mitch found Demarcus Young for a 19-yard touchdown with only 29 seconds remaining to win 21-17.

Mitch's 65 carries for 460 yards and four TDs ranks second on the team.

"He's been in the offense for a long time," coach Manley said. "He does a great job with his leadership. He knows the importance of all his people. ...You have to have somebody who gets the ball around. I'm proud of him from that of a head coach's standpoint and his father."

Burns, meanwhile, was limited to 97 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries last week. However, the outing came less than a month after he finished the regular season with a 390-yard, five-touchdown performance against Pleasant Grove.

Like Mitch, Burns has more than one threat to his repertoire. His 27 receptions for 306 yards and a touchdown rank second on the team.

"Ted Burns has been an outstanding athlete for us," coach Manley said. "He's the hero, there's no doubt about it. When we announce his name at the pep rally, kids go crazy. He's got tremendous breakaway speed and is an outstanding blocker when we throw the ball."

Whether on the ground or through the air, the Pirates need the offensive line to keep defenses away. The unit includes center Bubba Garcia, right guard Matt Kirkland, left guard Harry White, right tackle Malcolm Isom and left tackle Chesly Young.

They've been instrumental in keeping the offense balanced, coach Manley said. Overall as a team, Pittsburg has rushed for 2,908 yards and passed for 2,052.

"It all starts with the offensive line," coach Manley said. "You have to be able to run block and pass block. Those guys up front have to know what they're doing."

That'll have to continue this weekend, when Pittsburg makes its second quarterfinals appearance in three years. The Pirates beat Pleasant Grove, 42-25, in their regular-season meeting to lock up the District 16-3A title.

The Pirates are looking forward to the opportunity to play in the quarterfinals again.

"It's just an outstanding feeling," coach Manley said. "Anytime you play football after Thanksgiving it's great. It makes you one of the top programs in the state. It shows your kids have worked hard."


  • Cayuga's Traylon Shead became the state's record holder for career touchdowns last week.

    The senior is expected to be honored on the national level next week.

    Shead is expected to be named to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Tuesday.

    He would join fellow Texans already selected: Arlington Oak Ridge's Ross Apo, San Antonio Madison's Nate Askew, Hewitt Midway's Ahmad Dixon, Cedar Park's Dominic Espinosa, Southlake Carroll's Cade Foster, Galena Park North Shore's Trey Hopkins, Garland's Tevin Jackson, Plano West's Jackson Jeffcoat, Sugar Land Elkins' Jake Matthews, Allen's Cedric Ogbuehi, Temple's Lache Seastrunk, Haltom's Reggie Wilson and Houston Second Baptist's Connor Wood.



    Shane Stark, Staff Sports Writer, Tyler Morning Telegraph


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