After six seasons coaching Manual football, former Head Coach Oliver Lucas said he had finally reached the ceiling. Now there is a new sheriff in town, Head Coach Scott Carmony. Since the departure of Lucas, Carmony has strategically planned how the program will ascend past the ceiling that, to some, has kept Manual pinned to a certain level of success in recent years.
The buzz circulating in the air has been that the Crimsons have success year-in and year-out during the regular season, but the monkey on their back has been the failure to get past some of state’s top teams – Male, Trinity and St. X. By implementing a new system, Carmony looks to break the cycle.
“That is something we have been very vocal about,” Carmony affirms. “When I got here, I told our guys we are not real interested in going in the first and second round and have that be it. That is not what we want to be about. Whether that’s beating private schools, we don’t concern ourselves too much with who it is; we are just concerned about playing for championships.”
One of the most historic games in the Bluegrass State has been the rivalry between Male and Manual. Coach Carmony will get his first stint as a head coach against the defending state champions later in the season, and he understands the magnitude of the matchup and what his team will need to do to upend the Bulldogs.
“Our district is obviously tough, and everyone right now is playing catch up to Male,” he adds. “To be district champions, you’re going to have to beat them. That’s immediate for us, and it just so happens it is our archrival. I’ve told the kids and I’ll continue to tell them, ‘We don’t worry about anybody else. Let’s worry about us and do what we’re supposed to do and get better every day. We’ll be fine and okay if we do that.’”
Before taking the field against archrivals or in playoff competition, Carmony has sought to establish the harmony and unity needed on any sports team once a new coach has arrived. He’s making sure players and coaches have the same dialect, so to speak, to ensure everyone is on the same page.
“We’ve come and gotten a lot closer,” says senior tight end and punter Will Cissell. “It is making our chemistry better, and I feel like it is going to be a good season.”
Carmony will rely on the experience of senior starters in his first season – and rightfully so as all of them have one goal in mind: a state championship.
Senior defensive tackle Sean Cleasant Jr. is now the oldest defensive lineman. He is cognizant of the fact that he has younger players under his tutelage and says he must “teach them hard work,” as he’ll soon pass the baton to them.
“Going into my senior year, it’s all about buying in,” he describes. “I have to show leadership to the younger kids and show them what to do as they go through these years. The thing is just to buy in even though it is a new coaching staff. If we go 100 percent, nothing will fail.”
Failure isn’t an option for Manual, who has quickly bought in to a new coaching system. Wrinkles are being ironed out by a much stricter and disciplined coaching approach, and players affirm it will make the team better in the long run.
“I don’t know how much of a change it is for the guys, but we are just going to do our stuff and do what we do,” Carmony adds. “We’re not really concerned with what has gone on here in the past other than position-wise and who has played certain positions. But we’re going to do what we do. We always stress defense first. We really try to be great at running the ball first to set up the pass, and we try to put our money where our mouth is on special teams instead of just talking about it. That is something we really work hard at. All those things combined are what we’re about. I don’t know if that jibes with what they’re used to, but that’s where we’re going. So hopefully, we will be OK.”