Redskins Reclaim the Coveted Marlin


Stephen D. Nichols

Unidentified man and Josh Sexton carry the marlin trophy in the homecoming parade.

Kamryn Whiteside, Staff Writer

On Friday, October 4, the Manteo Redskins and the First Flight Nighthawks had their annual face-off in the Marlin Bowl. Manteo won the 2019 Marlin Bowl by defeating First Flight 16-6. This game marks Manteo’s first win since 2012, so the Redskins football players–and the audience–were quite pleased with the results. Following the game, we were able to talk to players on the field as well as the Redskins’ coach, Sport Sawyer.

Seniors Wolfie Schultz and Bryson Sawyer were the two players who scored touchdowns for the Redskins in the Marlin Bowl. We asked them what they thought of the game and how both teams did.

This was an important game for Nighthawks and Redskins alike. Because Manteo had not won the Marlin Bowl in six years, the pressure placed on the players to perform well was intense. Schultz mentioned how the team was very prepared and how the atmosphere surrounding the bus ride, as well as the team meal, was distinctly calm.

“Everyone was really focused and relaxed,” said Schultz. When asked what made this game special, however, he admitted: “I felt a little bit of pressure just because it’s been six years since we had won the Marlin.”

Nerves surely come into play when it comes to a game like the Marlin, so when Schultz stated that he tried not to think about the game too much throughout the day, it wasn’t much of a surprise: “The more I thought about it, the more my nerves would get involved,” he affirmed.

Next, the two players answered questions on what they thought about Manteo’s win: “It was very surreal,” Schultz claimed. A player on the Redskins’ football team for four years now, Schultz had never been able to say he’d won the Marlin Bowl. “I’ve been waiting my whole high school career to do that,” he said. Sawyer, having a different perspective on Manteo’s win, said, “A win’s a win.”

Looking at how the team actually performed in the game, Schultz and Sawyer both had something to say: “Defensively, we shut down everything they did,” said Schultz. The six points First Flight scored that night is an accurate representation of how Manteo’s defensive line-up played during the game. Sawyer answered the question by saying, “We could’ve done better on the offense, moving the ball.”

According to the athletes, First Flight presented well in the Marlin. Sawyer credited their performance: “They were able to stop us on all our passing game.” He also noted that, because of their ability on defense, if they couldn’t pass the ball, they were just going to run it. This tactic certainly worked well for Manteo. “They’re a pretty decent team… They definitely played a good game and they didn’t give up,” said Schultz.

Redskin head football coach Sport Sawyer stated that the initial plan going into the game was to just maintain focus: “Keep your minds focused on the assignments and go from there,” he said, referring to the players.

Coach Sawyer emphasized his satisfaction with all the players on the field the night of the Bowl. He spoke highly of everyone and credited them on their hard work: “I thought our players did a great job of adjusting to some situations that they weren’t used to,” he said. “I’m very proud of them.”

According to Coach Sawyer, the Redskins didn’t do any special preparation for the Marlin Bowl in particular. He didn’t want the players to be too caught up in thinking about the game rather than actually playing: “Sometimes if you get too emotional in a game, you don’t play as well because you’re overthinking,” said Coach Sawyer.

When asked if there was one specific player that performed better than usual, he said, “Overall, it’s a team effort. This group has worked together really well this year.”

The Marlin Bowl is a notable game for the rival schools. Each team played well and had fun. Although First Flight had been the reigning champ of the annual game for six years, 2019 marks the year Manteo finally took back the Marlin.